FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
For starters, Radio Control experience will be essential. Controlling a hobbyist RC aircraft in the past will be of great value. If you do not have any RC experience we suggest you start with a trainer aircraft such as the
Some good beginner tutorials can be found at . Another great place to get information on anything related to RC flying is
The groundstation software that comes preloaded on your ground station PC has a battery voltage indicator. You the operator are responsible for keeping track of your Zephyr2’s battery voltage as you are flying. If the Zephyr2’s battery runs within 10% of being completely discharged during flight, an audible warning will be given to the operator warning them of this fact. Because the UAV can be reprogramed during flight, the operator can tell the aircraft to land at that time, or turn course on command. If the aircraft runs out of battery because the low battery voltage warnings are either unnoticed or ignored, the UAV will crash.
Yes, an RC controller is included with all of our complete systems. The standard controller we usually set people up with is a Futaba 6 channel FM transmitter and 6 channel Futaba receiver. Upgraded controllers can be included for an additional fee.
The Zephyr UAS is an electric powered flying wing that is flown autonomously through it’s own onboard autopilot system. An Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) provides stabalization for the aircraft. GPS navigation is used to guide the aircraft to it’s destination. The UAV is landed using the included manual RC controller, but is stabilized autonomously. Full duplex uplink allows for in flight PC based programming.
If your UAV ever becomes lost such as getting stuck in a tree, the current GPS coordinates of the plane will be stored on the ground station software making it easy to track down where the UAV is. As a backup, we can also include a keyfab GPS tracker on your plane.
Regarding the camera, we like to use the Ricoh PX. It’s got 16.1 Megapixels, good image stabilization and internal zoom so the lens doesn’t stick out of the plane.
You can configure the autopilot to trigger the servo at any GPS waypoint programed into memory. Waypoint camera triggering allows for accurate orthophoto construction during windy conditions as the wind cannot affect where the aircraft takes it’s photos geographically.
No and Yes, the Zephyr2 system understands when hills are coming up ahead by sensing elevation changes, but typically cannot avoid slopes greater than 75 degrees. Furthermore, the Zephyr2 cannot sense birds or other aircraft that may be in the air. Using the live video feed available on your ground station laptop and control mechanism, the user may check for these things during flight themselves.
The Zephyr2 has a memory, and flight parameters are preprogramed either before flight or during flight. You the operator (if not using a tracking antenna system in conjunction with the aircraft) should keep waypoints programmed into memory that fall within this 2 mile boundary. It is possible to fly outside this 2 mile boundary and come back in within communications range however if the aircraft has enough battery power. As an additional failsafe, the user may set a geofence around the area in which they are flying to ensure the UAV never leaves the communication perimeter.
Yes, please contact our customer service department to order any replacement parts for your Zephyr2.
Yes, our 3 standard payloads as shown on our website are indeed swappable. Simply unbolt one payload to make room for another.
The thermopile autopilot relies on determining a hypothetical horizon (used to adjust / maintain stability) by measuring the temperature difference between the sky and the ground or surface of the Earth (e.g. water) over which the plane is flying. IMU stands for Inertial Measuring Unit and actually has teeny, tiny gyroscopes and accelerometers in the unit that measure the attitude (pitch and yaw) of the plane independent of a horizon. This gives the IMU advantages when traveling through fog and in mountainous regions where a view of the horizon is lost.
Our flying wing airframes work great in high wind environments. They also have an edge over conventional airframes in that you can place the camera right on the center of gravity so that any rotation of the wing results in less overall change for the camera. In fact, the military is moving towards flying wing airframes specifically for the extremely high wind tolerances.
These are about 54″ from wing tip to wing tip, 14″ from the front tip to the back of the motor mount and 27″ from front tip to a line connecting the wing tips, tip to tip with elevons down or horizontal.
About 5 lbs before batteries and other payloads are installed.
No, but the UAV comes in a hard shell case that can be used for travel purposes.
Between 30-90 mph.
The main payload bay that is empty is approx 6.5″ x 3.75″ x 1.75 deep. The bay that the real time (R/T) video cam SHARES with other electronic components is approx. 6″ x 2.5″ x 1.75 deep. Extra payload after R/T video and batteries are loaded is about 1 kg – 2.2 lbs.
Winds that are handled comfortably vary between 0 – 50 mph although accurate data will be best generated at wind speeds below 25 MPH.
Takeoff, Point To Point Guidance, and Landing are all automatically controlled via the Autopilot system. The UAV system does engage into automatic flying mode once the system travels past 3 M/s. Automatic landing is programmed into memory via the included ground station software. Manual flight using the included handheld RC controller is possible when flying the system within 1 mile from the groundstation via a trigger located on the handheld RC controller. Manual mode is typically used in high wind conditions where it is not possible to hand launch the UAV or when needing to land in tight areas.
Ardupilot Mission Planner is the ground station software that comes pre-installed on your ground station PC. With it you can predefine way points, tell the plane to go into loiter mode or to move on to another predefined way point (during flight). It accepts, records, and displays flight telemetry data in real time to the flight operator. It is possible to adjust flight altitude, speed, and flight patterns on the fly using it as well as determine the planes location.
All electrical components are covered by a 1 year limited warranty.
The Zephyr2 can now tolerate water mist and can be flown in marine environments.
FAA regulations are constantly changing so we’re unsure of what the FAA rules on model planes are but the last time we checked it seemed that their recommendation for small UAVs (and our understanding is that this is only a recommendation) seems to be to fly no higher than 400 feet. In any event, it is the responsibility of the end user to ensure that all government regulations are followed.
Delivery takes 4-8 weeks depending on availability of parts. Most parts are readily available but our airframe is manufactured by a third party that takes 3-6 weeks to deliver to us depending on their workload.
One complete set of batteries is included in the price of each system. Battery chargers and storage containers are NOT included but may be added to the purchase price at the customer’s wish.
This will depend on the conditions it’s subjected to. The lifespan of a Zephyr UAS can be 200 plus flights as long as you treat your aircraft with care and learn proper operation techniques. Sufficient RC flying experience will go a long way to ensure many flights.
Yes we provide spare parts for everything we offer. You can talk to our support team and find out what part your going to need to buy. If you can’t get a part locally, we can sell you addtional parts.
You can strap up to 2 LBS of payload to the aircraft.
Altitude is limited by battery power and any respective regulations. The radio modem can transmit up to 2 miles without the use of a tracking antenna.
The Marcus Zephyr can not operate at temperatures lower than -40 F.
The Marcus Zephyr can fly in winds up to 40 MPH.
With rising fuel costs, plane flights are soon becoming a thing of the past for taking aerial photography or conducting surveillance. The Marcus Zephyr can fly in tighter spots and get better close-ups than a traditional aircraft. The cost per picture taken is much less with the Marcus Zephyr than with traditional aircraft as well.