Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Solar glider

Marshall, Benjamin John (2012) Solar glider. Other thesis, Murdoch University.

PDF - Front Pages
Download (617kB)
PDF - Whole Thesis
Download (3MB)


This report outlines the design and construction of a solar powered, radio controlled electric glider.

The design called for an electric glider that could take-off, climb and maintain continuous level flight during daylight hours on solar power alone in favourable atmospheric conditions.

The project required the successful completion of the following steps:

• Research and selection of a suitable airframe
• Selection of a propulsion system i.e. electric
motor, gearbox, propeller, and speed controller
• Selection of off-the-shelf radio transmitter, receiver, and servo actuators to control the glider from the ground
• Selection of a battery for energy storage
• The design of a solar array that can be integrated into the wing surface of the glider
• Research, design, construction and testing of a small, light and efficient maximum power point tracker (MPPT) based on a boost DC to DC converter.

The selection of the airframe used and the design and construction of the various sub-systems was aided by a mathematical model. This model was based on an energy balance and a weight balance of an aircraft in level flight.

The glider is now complete and testing has shown that the glider can fly on solar power alone in ideal atmospheric conditions. However these conditions do not exist very frequently in summer in Perth, Western Australia.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): Calais, Martina and Glenister, Simon
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year