My wife and I very recently went to Switzerland. Earlier this year, I built a small, foldable, 10" prop quad just to take on the trip. At the last moment, I decided against taking it mostly because I had no idea of the laws in Switzerland regarding drones.I also thought that it would be just one more thing to look after and haul around as we went from city to city.
I made a bad decision. Having a camera in the air would have been fantastic in such a beautiful country. I was close enough the the Matterhorn that I could have landed on the summit. I was close enough to Jungfrauyoch (highest mountain in Europe) to land in its summit as well. My control range is about 4 miles (my 2.4Ghz transmitter is boosted to 2 Watts), and I have a 2W 5.8Ghz video transmitter my helical antenna and FatShark googles to send video from the Sony 700TVL camera. That has about a 5 mile range. I have a 2-axis gimbal and GoPro mounted on that quad as well.
It will fly about 12 minutes going maximum horizontal speed of 35mph. Its climb rate (at sea level) is about 2700'/min. My first thought is that If I took off at a point 3 horizontal miles from the summit and 7,500' lower in elevation, I could probably do it. My thinking went as follows:
First, to make the calculations easier, I'll just plan to go straight for 7,500' first. That will take 4 minutes (the climb rate will be reduced because of the altitude) Then I'll go 3 horizontal miles at 35mph, which will take a total of 5 minutes and 8 seconds at sea level, but because I'm not at sea level, I'll add time due to the altitude. So lets say it will take 6 minutes to travel the 3 miles. This gives a total of (4 + 6) = 10 minutes. The return trip will be much easier, since the craft will be running at a lower-than-hover speed ( it will be coming down at a slope).
But with only 12 minutes of 80% throttle airtime, it doesn't look like I'd be guaranteed to get "home" using the above scenario. So I thought that If I moved one mile closer to the mountain top, I could cut the time to get to the summit by 2 minutes. On the return trip, the craft would have to go less horizontal distance and would have to come down faster. This reduces power usage even more.
So, if I go back to Switzerland, I'm going to take my foldable quad, hike to within 2 miles of the top of the Matterhorn and get some great pictures.