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Stock propeller air altitude record


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The goal of this challenge is to reach as high an attitude as you can with a stock propeller plane, and then land the aircraft.

Rules:

1. No modded aerodynamics.

2. No mod parts or cfg shenanigans. No tweakscale.

3. No cheats during the flight. Cheats in the editor or using vesselmover or whatnot are fine.

4. You may use any stock prop technology you want. Turboshaft, SAS Wheels, regular wheels, Engines or RCS on the prop, whatever.

5. You may not generate net thrust using jet or rocket engines or RCS.

6. This is a competition for PLANES. That means they should have something that can reasonably be called a cockpit, wings, landing gears/skids/floats, etc. If you feel embarrassed calling it an airplane, it isn't one.

6a. A helicopter isn't a plane. A Gyrocopter/autogyro is though.

7. Taking damage is fine. Landing in a field is fine. Landing somewhere you can't take off from is fine. Bailing out or crashing is not. Your aircraft should still generally resemble an aircraft after landing, but it is okay if for example it is missing a prop blade or the engine has failed or something.

8. You are under no obligation to maintain level flight at peak altitude.

Tips and tricks:

  • Fuel cells with small fuel tanks are pretty efficient power sources and can last a lot longer than their mass in batteries.
  • Batteries, however, have unlimited power output albeit abysmal energy storage.
  • RTGs and solar cells allow unlimited range at fairly severe weight and part count penalty.
  • Minimizing prop area is good for top speed, but it isn't good for top altitude. Remember air is much thinner up there. You need a big prop.
  • Electric props don't need to worry about jet thrust decreasing with altitude.
  • You will need to adjust prop pitch for optimal performance. Use the Deploy feature and change the authority limit.
  • Lock the prop blade GUI so you can see it while controlling the plane.
  • I highly, highly recommend using some method to see the rotation rate of the prop, especially if your engine isn't virtually indestructible. Aero GUI in the Alt-F12 physics menu helps.


Records:

1. Pds314 in the Cheapskate Biplane: 13735 meters.

2. Pds314 in the Hyflyt 1: 12532 meters.

3. Ohara in the Tough Twin Electro-Prop: 12100 meters.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Cool entries that don't quite qualify:

1. Vyznev in the XCopter: 16000+ meters but it's a helicopter not a plane.

Edited by Pds314
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Non-entry: HyFlyt 1 reaches 10,151 meters using electricity hacks before I break the engine, then lands and slides off the Island runway.

Spoiler

 

Run:
aVtT55z.png

vWeYbI9.png

FWwQ7PP.png

 

 

Edited by Pds314
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Unsurprisingly, little fighters don't seem to outperform Hyflyt 1. They are faster, but even someone else's ultra-high-speed design that can break Mach 1 in a dive really doesn't like exceeding 10500 meters. And it definitely can't zoom climb to 12500 because by the time it's at 10500 meters it's much slower than at sea level.

Edited by Pds314
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3 hours ago, vyznev said:

Oops. I just realized that the challenge specified planes, so I guess helicopters don't count. :blush:

  Reveal hidden contents

k11Yqup.png

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Oh well, I'll just leave this here anyway. :/ 

More screenshots: https://imgur.com/gallery/M2DXP4H

Craft file: https://pastebin.com/Wm5bahJ0

Cool. I will make an honorable mentions section for craft that are rulebreaking but cool nonetheless.

As for rotorcraft, I think I will allow Autogyros/Gyroplanes but not powered helicopters. Gyroplanes aren't fixed wing aircraft but they are lift-based and not vertical thrust based.

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14 hours ago, OHara said:

This will be fun,J9FGm1n.jpg
assuming some of the rest of us manage to catch up with you.

My twin electric prop on kerbalx can only make 12100m, but then you can do materials-bay experiments at that altitude.  https://imgur.com/a/P4Op9qe/

 

Wait so does it get counted as one craft during timewarp to Eve? Is it rechargeable? If so that bearing design could be revolutionary on multiple counts.

Edited by Pds314
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4 hours ago, Pds314 said:

does it get counted as one craft during timewarp to Eve?

Yes.  I liked the way Rade used claws to make his Dunasoar safe for time-warp, and I realized I could incorporate the claw into the bearing to save parts.

This is very useful for having an aircraft that you can re-use from a base on Eve, but the extra weight is not helpful for this challenge.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

I can't post screens yet, but I managed to get a stock fuel-cell-powered biplane optimized for low monetary cost of all things (it costs less than $16000) to reach 13100 meters. Flight is paused in progress.

As it is, the craft uses a fixed-pitch prop because it saves around $3000 compared to using 8 control surfaces. This means that at low altitude the prop can't really exceed 1600 deg/s at its current wide radius. But at 13 km, where the air is under 10% the density it is at sealevel, the blades have reached 2685 deg/s at 90 m/s and still climbing. The biggest problem is that I'm gonna get to an altitude where to maintain level flight I need to go fast, but if I go fast the prop will over-rev.

Edited by Pds314
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New record: 13,735 meters!

It may look antiquated, but it is a very efficient flyer for the cost. 
nSy6G4e.png

The engine reaches the rev limit, bounces slightly, and escapes its housing. Up here, the air is -55 Celsius, 12th its normal pressure, and 1/8th its normal density!
JnjO8BW.png

The craft plummets, tumbling chaotically as it lacks sufficient rudder to stabilize the descent.
PQP9R1t.png

Val manages to wrestle control of the craft after minutes of chaotic tumbling.
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Preparing to ditch in the ocean.
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Val makes a safe landing after almost an hour of flying. Too bad the engine didn't.
efTlNIX.png

Highest altitude shown.
1Qrp88W.png

Edited by Pds314
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Let me start off by disqualifying myself from the official record.  This plane doesn't have landing gear for one, but that isn't the real problem.  I could add landing gear, but this would still be a practice in absurdity.  I dug out the copiously part clipped prop plane I used for a top speed attempt, took it up to over 1 km/s, then pulled up into a climb.  I lacked enough wing area to pull up with as much G force as would be optimal, but still shot to over 23 km.  A novelty at least!

https://imgur.com/Wg7jZQT

The original video of the top speed attempt: https://youtu.be/J7oc1FLnWlY

 

Edited by EvermoreAlpaca
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9 hours ago, EvermoreAlpaca said:

Let me start off by disqualifying myself from the official record.  This plane doesn't have landing gear for one, but that isn't the real problem.  I could add landing gear, but this would still be a practice in absurdity.  I dug out the copiously part clipped prop plane I used for a top speed attempt, took it up to over 1 km/s, then pulled up into a climb.  I lacked enough wing area to pull up with as much G force as would be optimal, but still shot to over 23 km.  A novelty at least!

https://imgur.com/Wg7jZQT

The original video of the top speed attempt: https://youtu.be/J7oc1FLnWlY

 

Oh hey Bradley Whistance, I didn't realize it was you at first until I saw the plane and I was like "I've seen this plane/egg/whatever before, was it on the Odyssey by Bill? No? Maybe?"

I suppose your Jool "Lander" isn't really a plane either. >_<

Edited by Pds314
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I really like this challenge!

Bradley's clampatron vector trick has renewed my interest in electric props and this challenge has come at the right time. Many hours have been spent building and testing this detonation-prone craft!

Not a valid entry  for this challenge (yet) because my craft "Moto" doesn't have a cockpit. It isn't Kerbal certified yet.... explosions & lolz occur on a high proportion of flights :lol:

Landing this craft is very hard because  the heavily clipped engines are extremely heavy. Moto can glide but it weighs 10 tons, therefore making it hit the ground or water at a non-exploding velocity is difficult! I have thus far managed one damage-free landing by adding 8 parachutes under the fairing, which has to be popped to deploy the chutes and softly touch the heavy beast down to Kerba Firma. Sorry no screenshot yet.

"Moto" is very different from my previous Mach 2 craft "Spinner" as it doesn't use RTG's for power but fuel cells. The cells are fuelled by R11 Baguette and R4 dumpling tanks, which are used in the bearing instead of stayputniks. They work great with the added booby prize of exploding hilariously when things go wrong.

Here is what Moto has achieved so far:

15,206m level flight (at mach 2.7):

NcMHWbv.png


Moto's zoom to max altitude so far has reached 23.7KM:

NtlVI36.png

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4 hours ago, Tyr Anasazi said:


Bradley's clampatron vector trick has renewed my interest in electric props and this challenge has come at the right time. Many hours have been spent building and testing this detonation-prone craft!



 

Has this design incorporated the 3-axis trick?

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9 hours ago, Tyr Anasazi said:

Yes, that was what I was referring to - top speed with low drag wings so far has been 1081 m/s

That's a monstrously fast top speed. Is that at sealevel?

Edited by Pds314
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4 hours ago, Pds314 said:

That's a monstrously fast top speed. Is that at sealevel?

Back in December I got to 1080 m/s at 5000 km altitude.  I didn't get around to trying as many configurations as I would like.  I suspect that increasing wing area slightly and trying a higher altitude would improve speed.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

No more entries on this thread?

Global Dumpling MK1, which was built for the dumpling range challenge, also happens to be capable of very high altitude level flight. Here is GD MK1 at the start of its dumpling-fuelled circumnavigation flight of Kerbin, reaching 17,542m altitude (and still climbing) before zooming down to its most efficient cruising altitude just above 12,000m.

I will post an update with more screenshots once Valentina touches GD MK1 back down on KSC runway. It will take a while.

MDZptpB.png

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