I have been very busy, and have not spent as much time on the Santa Cruz Project as I should have. Instead, I have been working at my "real' job designing data collection systems and power supplies.
I recently came upon the realization that I can't "get there from here" literally with my present design. No matter how much I try, I can't get the current airframe light enough in order to be able to make it to Santa Cruz. The problem is the motors. The more weight I have to lift, the bigger motors I need. Bigger motors weigh more.
This is what I call the "Saturn V problem" - Putting a little more weight into orbit takes a bigger engine and more fuel, which weighs more, so you need a bigger engine and more fuel... To put 10X as much weight into orbit, you need something like 50X as much rocket weight.
I just need a little more. My idea of using 16" propellers is not going to give me the efficiency I need. By 'efficiency', I mean grams lift per Watt. I need a little more than 8 grams/watt if I am to make it.
In order to guarantee that I get that kind of efficiency, I will have to use an 18" propeller. But larger propellers spin more slowly. That means that I'll travel slower horizontally, and I'll need that extra airtime just to get to Santa Cruz.