Prepare your mission - Part 1
Prepare your mission to get the best data from your UAV
No matter if you are a professional in the field of surveying, industrial inspection, construction, monitoring or if you offer services such as infrastructure surveillance, mapping of terrains, buildings or areas under cultivation, if you work for security services, a fire department or for a disaster management organisation – UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) will become part of your daily business. Famers use fixed wings and multirotor UAV for precision farming tasks, forest managers and scientific research organisations put highly sensitive sensors such as multispectral or hyperspectral cameras on an UAS (unmanned aerial system) to get aerial data. All these professionals have to prepare their missions multidimensional.
Top list of important preparations for professional UAV pilots
- Be aware that you are part of the general airspace. This airspace could be controlled and restricted, but will always be regulated.
- As a pilot you are responsible for safety. No matter if you are running an automated flight or if you are flying manually, you have to control every movement of your flying tripod.
- Plan your missions from the end to the beginning or from expected results to mission planning. Do not focus on the flying part and use standardized workflows to get the best possible results.
- Know your sensors. Your data will just be as good as the choice of the appropriate sensor. All sensors will work as good as you prepare the sensor for the specific mission. So know all parameters of the sensor, all settings and adjustments, know the limits and the risks.
- Be familiar with the flight area.
- You do not have to be a weather expert. Check weather in regards of wind, temperature, precipitation and sun. All these parameters will influence a bunch of other parameters such as sensor settings, flight time, battery capacity or the start point of your automated flight plans.
- Check your equipment. Do not run updates right before your next mission. A test of your equipment is recommended before each mission after an update.
- Check and prepare your documents. Each region requires specific permissions and insurances. Prepare an overview of all expiration dates to have a current version of all documents.
- Use toolkits. Do not start any mission without a toolkit in your pocket.
- Be prepared for limitations of GPS (global positioning system), GNSS (global navigation satellite system), mobile or WiFi signals.
The UAV pilots manual
In our How to work with an UAV series you will get important insides in the daily business of some of the most experienced pilots and project managers. We will answer important questions and guide you through a general mission planning workflow. You will learn how to become a professional UAV pilot with the support of Aibotix and Leica Geosystems. During our legal and regulations session we will give an overview of some of the most important global and regional organisations and their regulations. We will discuss insurances and online tools for safe and reliable flights. And we will answer the most important questions: how does a perfect workflow for the best possible data look like?
Definition of the most important UAV buzzwords, abbreviations and technical terms
Differences in view an connection to the unmanned aircraft system
Visual Line Of Sight – keep the UAV always in visual line of sight; depending
on regional regulations, the pilot has to see and be able to control the
unmanned aircraft at all time; VLOS has to be direct vision without technical
support such as FPV (First Person View) glasses and digital live video or third
person support; please not that fog, rain, obstacles, buildings, trees can also
Extended Visual Line Of Sight – keep the unmanned system with the support
of one or more remote observers in visual sight at all time; observer and pilot
have to communicate via radio or mobile phone at all time; pilot still is
responsible for safety
Beyond Visual Line Of Sight – pilots do not have to keep the UAS in visual
line of sight; regulations require direct contact between an operator or pilot
and the unmanned vehicle; flight could be completely automated with the
possibility to control the UAV during the flight
First Person View – possibility to get video signal from an onboard video
camera during the flight; cockpit view via screen or video glasses
Possible parts of your UAV
Remote Control – transmitter for the communication between pilot and
UAV; RC allows to control the multicopter or fixed wing UAV; most RC also
allow to adjust settings; some RC have included telemetry screens, others
work with additional screens or tablet based telemetry transmission
Propeller on rotary wings spin in different directions to keep the UAV
in the air; propeller on fixed wings are just for forward movement;
propeller on multirotor aerial vehicles are for all movements
Sensors such as RGB (red, green, blue) cameras, thermal sensors, multi- and
hyperspectral cameras, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), Geiger counter
or others are mounted under or on top of UAV to capture data from above
Platform for sensors; helps to stabalise the sensor and to keep the sensor
independent of the unmanned aircraft movements Controls and navigation
Movements to the left or the right related to the front and back of the UAV;
roll movements can be executed related to the pilot’s point of view in special
Care Free mode; depending on the RC settings, roll axis can be controlled by
using the right stick to the left or right
Direction of the front of the UAV; normally, heading means direction of the
front of the sensor; normally, the front of the sensor is equivalent to the
front of the unmanned aircraft
Movements forward or backwards; pitch movements can be executed
related to the front and back of the UAV or to the pilot’s point of view;
flashing LED (light-emitting diode) will show the direction of the unmanned
vehicle during flight; depending on the RC settings, pitch axis can be
controlled by using the right stick forward or backwards
Rotation of a rotary wing or multirotor UAV; yaw axis is independent of flight
direction; depending on the RC settings, yaw axis can be controlled by using
the left stick left or right; using the yaw axis helps to control heading or to
move the UAV flight direction while flying forward or backwards
Movements up and down; depending on the RC settings, throttle can be controlled by using the left stick up to increase or down to decrease; altitudemovements have to controlled very carefully
All rotary or multirotor UAV can hover; like a helicopter, UAV can hold their position without any movement
UAV will fly without GPS support; stabilization of the UAV only by using
sensor fusion of barometer, gyroscope, magnetometer and accelerometer
which means by using the IMU (inertial measurement unit)
Flight without automated waypoint support; the pilot controls the UAV
with the support of the IMU, GPS and other stabilising features
Pilot controls the UAV 100%; most free modes work without GPS, IMU
support and automated altitude control
The UAV will hold its position whenever the pilot does not move any stick;
some manufacturers such as Aibotix use the term Position Hold
Missions can be planned with waypoint or flight planning software such as
Aibotix AiProFlight, helps to fly standardised flight plans and to capture data
very accurate and precise; UAV will execute flights after reaching the pilot
starts the flight plan execution manually
In our next chapter you will learn more about mission preparation and planning and how the UAV Aibot X6 Version 2 will support your daily business.