Agricultural Quad Rotor Prototype

Utilizing a 36" Helium filled balloon for additional lift, the Agricultural Quad Rotor prototype attracted a lot of attention at our local school career day. The initial design uses a 4 channel mini quadrotor, carbon fiber struts, a few household recyclables, velcro and some fishing line to achieve a high lift capability. Similar to a dirigible, the helium allows for 56 grams of additional cargo and will allow for a camera to be mounted on the underneath the battery compartment.

Students had many interesting ideas to contribute, from spy camera, to water balloon delivery device and discussed possible means of collecting and transmitting electricity. Given that the rotor looks similar to a Tesla Coil, two such devices properly configured may act to transmit electricity over a distance as Nikola Tesla demonstrated. Something for later experimentation.


The primary purpose of this system was to explore potential uses in Agriculture as an aerial spray application device or as a high altitude, stationary field telemetry system.


UPDATE: Moving on from the original concept of a helium assisted UAV, I've contributed a few ideas to O'Neill Power Systems, an engine company founded by my wife's uncle James O'Neill and his partners Gerard Kelly and Robert Norton. Their engine works on the principle of co-axial counter rotation which elimintates the need for helicopter tail rotor flight stabilization. A few options are available to developers of agricopters using the NorEaster engine: 1) a dual prop single engine model with a lift capacity of approximately 10 lbs. per horsepower, (50 HP under development), 2) a quad rotor system connected by axles and transfer cases to a single engine, or 3) a multi-rotor system utilizing 3 or more NorEaster engines with independant throttling, allowing for configurations capable of lifting upwards of of 1,500 lbs. 

O'Neill Power Systems is a participant in the incubator program at Umass Dartmouth Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center. Information about the NorEaster can be found at www.

OPS is currently seeking grant and venture funds for the development of their patented engine technology. Intersted parties please contact or



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