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Autonomous BVLOS Drone Operation 6000 m Above Sea Level

The FIXAR 007 unmanned aerial solution (UAS) has successfully completed a one-day mission flying in mountainous regions over 6000 meters above sea level By Sarah Simpson / 26 Sep 2022
Autonomous BVLOS Drone Operations 6000 m Above Sea Level

FIXAR has released details of a recent mission conducted in September 2022, where the FIXAR 007 unmanned aerial solution (UAS) demonstrated solid and stable performance at high-altitude. The drone’s robust design and proprietary Autopilot, in combination with mission planning software xGroundControl, enabled autonomous, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight in mountains terrain 5 300 (17 388 ft) – 6 115 m (20 062 ft) meters above sea level.

FIXAR will be attending INTERGEO 2022, 18th- 20th October in Essen, Germany. Find them at Booth A1.038.


The Mission

Mountainous drone operations involve high altitudes and harsh weather conditions, presenting a diverse set of risks and challenges. Aerial missions in mountainous terrain are unpredictable due to the existing thin air and rapid changes in weather conditions – sudden storms and extremely cold weather are common even in the summer season.

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators require meticulous preparation in terms of equipment and operation, to work in mountainous regions, which may even require operators to acclimatize and increase liquid intake during their time in the mountains, to avoid disorientation.

From an equipment perspective, the most common challenges lie in:

  • Unspecified or incorrect terrain maps, which may cause the drone to crash.
  • Limited altitude configurations which may lead to poor quality data or even the loss of the drone.
  • Magnetometer sensor malfunction in zones of magnetic anomalies, which may lead to the loss of drone control or even loss of the aircraft in itself.

The FIXAR 007 unmanned aerial solution already has proven its operational capabilities at Elbrus, carrying out an aerial photography mission and reaching an altitude of 4 000 m (13 123 ft). Therefore FIXAR 007 was chosen for the task requiring operation altitude range 5 000 m (16 404 ft) up to 6 000 m (19 685 ft) above sea level.

The 3D trajectory of the flight. The altitude shown is QFE (heights are relative to the starting point of the drone flight, where the starting point is an absolute ZERO – in all coordinates)

Mission Success

The one-day mission, with the FIXAR 007 configured with a gimbal video camera, was conducted in September 2022. The weather conditions were constantly changing throughout the day, with temperatures ranging from -20 to 5°C. The entire mission was carried out in a rarefied atmosphere.

Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) is required in mountainous regions due to limited take-off and landing areas. The mission launch and drone take-off took place at an altitude of 5 300 m (17 388 ft) and continued the flight route through the valley.

The goal of the mission was to execute a stable flight at a challenging high altitude with adverse weather conditions, and simultaneously gain confirmation for quality telemetry data collection under these conditions.

The 19.8 km (12.5 mi) mission was performed with an ascent to an altitude of 6 115 m (20 062 ft) above sea level and a further descent and landing below the point of the initial take-off location. At a low altitude above ground level, the terrain envelope was 100-150 m (328-492 ft). During the flight, the traveling speed was maintained stable at a speed of 72 km/h (45 mph).

Flight absolute altitude during the mission with the maximum reach of 6 115 m (20 062 ft)

Conclusion

The FIXAR 007 showed solid and stable performance at the high-altitude missions. According to FIXAR the FIXAR 007 is currently is the only commercial fixed-wing drone, which has flown a BVLOS mission autonomously, with terrain envelope at the altitude 5 300 (17 388 ft) – 6 115 m (20 062 ft) ASL in the mountains, without special equipment.

FIXAR will be attending INTERGEO 2022, 18th- 20th October in Essen, Germany. Find them at Booth A1.038.

To learn more, contact FIXAR: Visit Website Send Message View Supplier Profile
Posted by Sarah Simpson Specialising in digital copy Sarah is an experienced copywriter and researcher. Working with Unmanned Systems Technology Sarah has developed a passion for sourcing unique digital content and a talent for writing about the latest technical innovations in the unmanned sector. Connect & Contact