Autonomous Solar RC Plane School Project [Seeking Advice]

Hey all,
I am a relatively new hobbyist, and these past few years I have been looking into solar powered RC planes. I am currently in my Junior year of high school and have been accepted into the advanced engineering class at my school. These past two months I have been researching parts and compatibility, and was looking for advice for when I build this project in a month or two. Listed below are my main components (excluding stuff like connectors, wires, etc.) and I am pretty sure they will all work together, and I have all the main components, but wanted to double check with real people.

Grafas Maxi Uncovered
Spin 66 Pro Jeti ESC
Mega ACn 22/30/3e Motor
2x 2m 60cm Oracover
4000-3s Lipo
4x HS-86 MG Servo
2x HS-82 MG Servo
Genason Solar Charger
40x Maxeon Solar Panels
CUAV V5 Nano Autopilot
2x I2c to UART Converter
ADAFRUIT Thermal Camera
Power Module For Autopilot
FrSky ARCHER PLUS R12+ Reciever
CUAV XBEE PRO Radio Telemetry
AKK A18195.8G FPV Transmitter

Thank you in advance, and I am open to talking more about the project and providing updates. Feel free to critique what I have/will do, I really need all the help I can get.

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How did it go? Did you build anything? Any progress?

Progress is slow but I’m getting there, I’m able to make 45w from the solar panels I currently have installed. I’m struggling to set up the autopilot but I’m getting there. Mechanically the plane is complete though.

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Seems that from 40 pcs of Maxeon 3.4W cells you should get more than 100W under good sun. Have you flown this or similar plane and checked the power needed for level flight? Do you have a AUW (All Up Weight). Did your Grafas Maxi beat my plane at 2578g? Happy solar RC flight!

It took a lot of time, but yes it is flying. I am getting 110 watts of solar under perfect conditions which I am very happy with as that means I can put ~20 watts into the battery at level flight. Somehow I was able to keep the weight down to 4.37lbs (1982 grams)

Impressive with the weight, but with that low weight 90W at level flight is not. Do you have any idea why? Some multicopters with large propellers can get 10 g/W. Why do you only get 20 g/W in a light glider?

I am looking for a better ESC right now, I have found I am loosing a lot of energy to heat so I think it is faulty.

If your target speed are 12-16m/s you could go with similar setup as I did. Would probably be at least 100g lighter on the motor alone. The 65A ESC I used seems to be discontinued but DYS Aria 70A AM32 will work. I also recommend that you use a prop calculator like ecalc to optimize your prop/motor setup. One problem with optimize your prop/motor to flying speed are that it will “stall” at start and landing speed.

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