JetQuad VS Hexacopter, which one wins?

June 18, 2015 • Commercial UAVs, Drone Delivery, Drones, Dronesarethefuture, JetQuad, RPA, UAS, UAV • Views: 2474

AB4 JetQuad

JetQuad S

The JetQuad S is designed to be the lightest and smallest of all JetQuad models. The sole purpose of this drone is to boost large payloads (specifically rocket-powered ascent stages) to high ascent velocities and altitudes. For this reason, only 100 ounces of fuel is included on-board which is sufficient for a 4-minute ascent and descent. The vehicle aerodynamics are optimized to enhance vertical flight capabilities only.

JetQuad L

The JetQuad L is designed to operate for no more then 45-minutes of flight-time. The aerodynamics of the vehicle are designed to provide maximum translational velocity which result a decrease in maximum ascent velocity. FusionFlight expects that this vehicle will be the most versatile drone in the family due to the large and flat under-carriage area available for transportation of various size payloads.

JetQuad XL

The JetQuad XL is designed to operate for no more then 1 hour 15-minutes of flight-time. This is the absolute maximum permissible flight-time due to fuel capacity constraints. The vehicle is fitted with 100 pounds of Kerosene in a spherical tank. The use of a sphere is critical due to the fact that a sphere has the highest ratio of volume to mass. The sphere is also ideal for applications requiring both vertical and horizontal flight profiles as the drag coefficient is identical in all directions of flight.

Vehicle Specifications

Propulsion: 4x JetCat P180-RX Turbine
Fuel: 95% Jet-A Fuel / 5% Turbo Oil
Fuel Storage: 100oz (4x off-the-shelf 25oz tank)
Operational throttle: 100% (full-power)
Fuel Flow: 20.6 oz./min
Battery: 4x 2-cell Lithium Polymer
Payload Capacity: 103lb Rocket 2nd Stage
Vehicle Mass (dry): 127lb
Vehicle Mass (wet): 134lb
Thrust: 160 lbf
Take-Off Acceleration: 2m/s^2 (vertical)
Roll/Stability Control: 5-Degree Engine Tilt
Vehicle Dimensions: 0.4m diameter cylinder
Drag Coefficient: 0.05 (ascent)
Vehicle Cost: $17,780.00

Peformance (100lb Payload)

Trajectory: Ascent / Separation / Descent
Endurance: 0 hr 4 min
Final Ascent Velocity 500mph (@ 25000ft altitude)
Maximum altitude: 33,000ft

Vehicle Specifications

Propulsion: 4x JetCat P180-RX Turbine
Fuel: 95% Jet-A Fuel / 5% Turbo Oil
Fuel Storage: 800oz
Operational throttle: 100% (full-power)
Fuel Flow: 20.6 oz./min
Battery: 4x 2-cell Lithium Polymer
Payload Capacity: 45lb
Vehicle Mass (dry): 69lb (with full payload)
Vehicle Mass (wet): 134lb (with full payload)
Thrust: 160 lbf
Take-Off Acceleration: 2m/s^2
Roll/Stability Control: 5-Degree Engine Tilt
Vehicle Dimensions: 0.76m diameter Saucer
Drag coefficient: 0.07 (Translational)
Vehicle Cost: $17,780.00

Performance (12lb payload)

Trajectory: Lateral Translation to Location / Return to Base
Endurance: 0 hr 45 min
Translation Velocity: 446mph (@ 500ft altitude)
Ascent Velocity 72mph (@ 3000ft altitude)
Operational radius: 167 miles
Cruise altitude: 500ft (Per FAA Regulations)
Maximum altitude: 3000ft

Vehicle Specifications

Propulsion: 4x JetCat P180-RX Turbine
Fuel: 95% Jet-A Fuel / 5% Turbo Oil
Fuel Storage: 1600oz (100lb custom fuel tank)
Operational throttle: 100% (full-power)
Fuel Flow: 20.6 oz./min
Battery: 4x 2-cell Lithium Polymer
Payload Capacity: 10lb
Vehicle Mass (dry): 34lb (with full payload)
Vehicle Mass (wet): 134lb (with full payload)
Thrust: 160 lbf
Take-Off Acceleration: 2m/s^2
Roll/Stability Control: 5-Degree Engine Tilt
Drag Coefficient: 0.45 (All directions)
Vehicle Dimensions: 0.56m diameter sphere
Vehicle Cost: $17,780.00

Performance (12lb payload)

Trajectory: Lateral Translation to Location / Return to Base
Endurance: 1 hr 15 min
Translation Velocity: 96mph (@ 500ft altitude)
Ascent Velocity 96mph (@ 6000ft altitude)
Operational radius: 60 miles (there-and-back)
Operation altitude: 500ft (per FAA Regulations)
Maximum altitude: 6000ft

Propulsion: 4x JetCat P180-RX Turbine

Cost: $4,195.00
Max Thrust: >40 lbs
Engine Weight: 3.5 lbs
Diameter: 4.37″
Length: 12.9″
RPM Range: 33,000 to 125,000
Max Temp: 730C
Fuel Rate at Full Power: 20.6 fl oz per minute

JetQuad Model Construction

We are currently in the process of constructing a model of the AB4 JetQuad. The model currently carries mock microturbines, however, can be easily upgraded with real engines at a later stage. The purpose of the model is to examine the JetQuad systems that are not specifically propulsion related. Firstly, the model allows us to test various aluminum frame designs and engine mounting solutions without having to purchase the actual engines. Secondly, the model will be equipped with all electronic system components as listed in the Electronic System Components section below. This will allow us to test the telemetry, altimeter, and GPS. Also, this model is mass-accurate which means we can measure the mass moments of inertia directly and then feed them into the Matlab Simulink model to attain a higher-fidelity simulation of the Hover.

Energy Density and Power Output

The reason why the JetQuad can so easily outperform electrically powered drones, Quadcopters, Octocopters, or Helicopters is because of two fundamental concepts: Energy Density and Power Output. JetQuad offers increased Energy Density and Power Output.

The energy density is measure of how much Energy is stored in a unit mass and is measured in KJ/kg. Liquid Kerosene fuel which powers the JetQuad has Energy density of 40MJ/kg while the solid Lithium-Polymer battery which powers Electrical drones has density of 0.95MJ/kg. This means that for the same on-board mass of Energy storage, the JetQuad stores 40 times more energy then the equivalent electrical Drone. Of course, the increase in mass of the Jet-Engines themselves offsets this relationship, however, not significantly.

The power output is a measure of how fast one can utilize the stored on-board energy and it is measured in Watts. These values are tougher to quantitatively compare as Electrical rotors and Jet-Engine significantly vary in their consumption of fuel. However, we know that electrical drones are greatly limited in power consumption due to the current limit of the battery storage. The current has to be limited to prevent overheating of electronics. On the other hand, a jet-engine is supplied with liquid Kerosene fuel, and is, in theory, not limited in the amount of fuel flow-rate it can combust (up to stoichiometric ratio of combustion reaction using atmospheric intake oxygen).

Octocopter VS JetQuad

Modern Quadcopter do not develop sufficient lift to be comparable with the JetQuad. The most payload any modern drone could lift is about 12 pounds (equivalent to a high-end Cannon 5D Mark III Camera with Gimbal system) and it has to be an Octocopter. The following comparison compares the DJI Spreading Wings S1000 Octocopter (which is also basically a heavy-lift Quadcopter, with 8 rotors instead of the ordinary 4) against the FusionFlight AB4 JetQuad L.


Vehicle Cost
Vehicle Diameter
Vehicle Weight
Payload Weight
Take-off Weight
Lift-off Thrust
Maximum Velocity
Range (There-and-back)
Exhaust Temperature
Noise Level

S1000 Octocopter

DJI Spreading Wings
Canon 5D Mark III
Under-carriage standard
9.3lb (dry/ no payload)
8x 4114 motor/ 8x 1552 Propellers
1x 15,000mAh 2-cell LiPo
0 hr 15 min
6.25 miles
Externally rotating “head-choppers”

AB4 JetQuad L

Canon 5D Mark III with Gimbal
Under-carriage Aerodynamic
24lb (dry/ no payload)
4x JetCat P180 RX Turbine
4x 1,500 mAh 2-cell LiPo
50lb Kerosene Tank
0 hr 45 min
167 miles
Rotating components fully contained

Autoport: Automated Refueling Station

For customers requiring the simultaneous operation of several JetQuad drones, FusionFlight has the solution. The Autoport is a trailer sized unit that houses four JetQuad drones. It is equipped with a 1-metric ton Kerosene fuel tank and robotic refueling for all four drones. The operator need only provide the Autoport with the mission requirements through the on-board touch-panel or remotely by wi-fi. The unit is fully automated and will operate the four drones until the mission is complete or the unit runs out of fuel. At this point, the operator may easily attach the Autoport with any car or truck and tow to a local Airport for re-fueling. Additionally, Autoport may be customized to replenish any payload per customer requirements. In the application of Agriculture, for instance, a pesticide tank may be connected with the Autoport to replenish the pesticide reserves on the JetQuad drones between flights.

JetQuad Component Layout

All JetQuad vehicles are different solely by the size of their fuel-tanks. Every AB4 consists of identical components (with the exception of fuel tanks). These components include batteries, flight computers, engine management units, receiver, and aluminum frame. A typical layout of the JetQuad components may be seen in the picture on the right. The design includes four separate Lithium Polymer batteries. Each battery is responsible for starting-up an individual engine. The result is all engines may be started-up simultaneously, cutting down on the start-up time. Next, the Flight computer contains a built-in accelerometer and additionally obtains data from an ultrasonic altimeter and GPS unit. The flight computer processes this data in accordance with a pre-programmed GNC software, and outputs four throttle signals. Each throttle signal travels to an Engine Computer Unit (ECU) that is individual to each engine. The ECU determines engine operating parameters based on the incoming throttle signal. The flight computer obtains remote commands via a connected receiver/antenna module. Future versions of the JetQuad will allow the flight-computer to additionally obtain engine data from the respective ECU’s to optimize flight performance.

JetQuad GNC R&D

FusionFlight is actively researching and developing Guidance, Navigation and Control software for the JetQuad. A dynamic model has been developed in Matlab Simulink to simulate the dynamics of four-tilted jet-engines in vertical orientation assembled to a common platform. Currently, the software is designed to support the JetQuad vehicle, however, the same software can be readily applied to other vehicles based on AirBooster Technology. The latest release of the software (1/23/2015) includes the following features:

– 1-second response-delay on all engines
– Individual change in engine RPM induces rotation in the vehicle
– Solid-surface approximation (we still see some negative displacement at start-up)
– Flight Phase I controller: Accelerates the vehicle to a 2m altitude and holds altitude for 10 seconds.
– Flight Phase II controller: Performs a slow descent to 0.05m altitude.
– Roll Controller: Using tilt angle. adjusts the throttle on opposing engine pairs to remove vehicle roll (this controller is still slow to respond)
– No gyroscopic physics implemented yet

JetQuad Electronic System Components

Unlike the AB1 or AB1.1, the AB4 (JetQuad), utilizes throttle control on the four jet-engines to maintain attitude. To accomplish this task the JetQuad control system will be equipped with additional components. Besides the flight computer, the JetQuad will also possess a telemetry unit (for software development and testing), GPS unit (for tracking), and an ultrasonic altimeter (for soft landing).

Flight Computer

The HKPilot32 Flight Computer contains an accelerometer and a gyroscope. Data from these devices is combined with data from the GPS and Altimeter via a Kalman Filter. The data is combined to provide the Flight Computer with the current state of the vehicle. The computer then outputs the appropriate throttle signals to the four jet-engine computers.


To ensure the successful development of the software we are going to add a wireless telemetry system to the JetQuad. During tests, this will allow us to monitor important JetQuad flight parameters real-time. We will be using a pair of HKPilot Telemetry units to monitor real-time data from the JetQuad Prototype.


To ensure soft-landing an altimeter is required for the JetQuad. The ultrasonic altimeter provides a resolution of 0.3cm and supplies the flight computer with a consistent measurement of altitude. The altimeter is only good until 3m which is ideal for the application of the JetQuad prototype which is not expected to fly above 2m during hover tests.


The GPS is a critical component of the stability system. It ensures that the Flight Computer maintains a consistent knowledge of position and altitude allowing for improved attitude control. For the prototype we will be utilizing a UBlox GPS System as seen in the image below.

JetQuad: Changing the Game of Drones Forever!

The Drone Market is hot and fast evolving. FusionFlight would like to be on the forefront of this market and once the appropriate regulations are in place, supply the fastest and most powerful jet-engine powered drones to the respective business entities. While FusionFlight is busy constructing the first prototype of the JetQuad, in parallel, the company is actively seeking a single market to focus on. However, currently under consideration, are nine distinct markets that the JetQuad drone could potentially revolutionize. The nine categories include: Package Delivery, Connectivity Enhancement, Humanitarian Aid Delivery, Food Delivery, Military Surveillance, Agricultural Surveillance, Medical First-Aid, Police Surveillance, and Scientific Exploration.

Source: For more information please seeĀ Jetquad

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