What’s the single most important factor to help facilitate a successful fixed-wing UAV flight? It’s a question we get a lot from UAV (drone) operators across the world. And while it would be great to point to just one thing you could do to ensure every flight is a success, the reality is that there are many factors that contribute to a successful flight.
Even when a flight plan is virtually perfect and flown by a capable operator, external factors, such as the effects of altitude, humidity and the local environment, including wildlife, can ruin a successful flight very quickly. To help overcome these challenges, here are a variety of tips to increase your chance of success in different environments and flight scenarios.
Mapping large areas
When it comes to mapping large areas, it’s best not to put yourself through the unnecessary pain of planning numerous individual flights. Instead, highlight the full coverage area in the drone’s flight planning software and divide this into several flight plans that can be uploaded to your drone one after the other.
Whether it’s a UAV or a more traditional manned aircraft, flying at high altitudes can be tricky. Higher elevations mean a greater risk of higher winds, which can cause your drone to work harder (specifically the battery), thus reducing flight time.
Because of this, when planning out your mission, it’s a good idea to account for the greater strain on your battery and potentially shorter flight time. Having extra, charged batteries on hand is also recommended.
It’s also important to remember that because of the lower air density at altitude, you’ll want to give your take-off throw a little more force than usual, that way you can ensure a smooth lift-off. When flight planning, plan your mission blocks above elevation data instead of above take-off, where you can use the provided SRTM model, or import your own.
For fixed-wing flights, it’s also important to ensure your mission’s flight lines run parallel to any inclines. Not only will this help protect your drone from potential ground collisions; it also helps to ensure the consistent ground resolution of your drone’s images, which means increased accuracy throughout your dataset. More >>.