I am totally new to DIY Drones, but for some time Ive been wondering about long distance drone flights. Lets say you want your drone to fly across the country? Im thinking you cover the wings with solar panels (or maybe threes some sort of solar panel tape that you can just stick-on?) and have them hooked up to a reserve bank of batteries. While one battery is running the propeller, the other batteries are being charged by the solar panels. The problem with this is what to do at night, when theres no sun? I guess you would have to have a lot of batteries, and you could use them until the sun came out again and began recharging? I have no idea how this would work, but it's the only way I can imagine you could do long distance flights...unless you have some sort of wireless transmission of power, which I dont think is (yet) possible...

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Two words: totally illegal. Don't even think about it.
T,
That’s a great technical challenge you’re investigating! Not sure I can help, but..
Well, let’s see..!
1. Wireless transfer of power is doable, but the cost to install ground transmitters along the way would be a bit much. And you’d have to hover around them a bit to charge the batts.
2. You could go Hybid… Elec/Gas – Elec Day along with solar charging and Gas at night. But, then there’s a lot of calc’s in that tradeoff, as weight’s a big factor in efficiency at cross country.
3. Actually, solar is a bit of a problem as it’s not at all lite in forms you could buy OTS.
4. A consideration is to do it via Blimp or maybe west to east with a balloon like the kids out east did. Something with a bit more control yet requiring a lot less power.

There’s probably a few other ways as well, but all will require a lot of weight calculations. Good luck in your research.
As to the “legal” part….. Heck..Everything’s illegal….just get permission! It wasn’t legal to make machineguns in prison, but Mr. Browning did it..! He just got “permission”. Next thing ya know….we got the Browning Automatic Rifle. (BAR). Scariest handheld weapon available at the time. And as for that Line-Of-Site requirement. There’s this new Oatmeal Cereal JetPack, I’m sure you’ve seen on TV. It’s what I use. Only gets 3-4 hours or flight time, but if you’re lite, you can carry an extra pair of refills in your pants! Makes following your UAV through those 40+ way/points a lot easier. Well, on sunny days…..!

Again…..good luck!
Although This is an old article I'll put it on again because I think it has some interesting answers on how to address the power problem. Personally I wouldn't try sending a drone across the country for safety reason's but the technical challenges that would need to be solved make for an interesting discussion. Article link is here
Very interesting article. Apparently the plane had to "ride thermals" for much of its daytime flight to conserve energy. Are thermals present everywhere? Or just in desert places like California and Arizona?

I am also new to DIY Drones, and just read this topic i liked the challenge did anyone succeed in this long distance drone flights? I want to build one also.

so what about writing an app for a cell phone that, let me see if i can put my idea into words.  if a remote/controller sent IR pulses, a phones camera could pick them up (point an IR remote at the camera on your cell phone and you can see the flash when you press a button)  you could write an app that picked them up, and transmitted the code across to another phone.  If that phone had a IR emitter, it COULD re-generate the code from the original controller, wherever you that may be.  use the gps on the phone to track it along with a camera, all transmitting from the phone.  off course a little left, tell it to turn right, ir pulses transmit across phones thus transferring the original signal to turn right.  I'm sure it's a pipe dream, but seems like it could be possible, The SoLong unmanned aerial vehicle from AC Propulsion recently flew over 48 hr nonstop fueled only by solar energy. The plane sports a wingspan of 4.75 m and weighs 12.6 kg.  

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