E386 – Mission Planning

In this page the Mission Planning options are discussed.

The E386 is fully capable of performing fully autonomous missions. When using the E386, fully manual (FBW-A) flight is also an option. The E386 can use combination of manual (FBW-A) flight and autonomous flight. Examining the flight options will allow the user to choose the best solution for the intended use.

–The discussion begins with a fully autonomous mission.

-The Ground Station Manager plans a mission with an Auto Takeoff WP, a Land WP, and anything in between. The user in charge of physically throwing the E386 (the “Launcher”) will prepare himself, in a ready-to-launch position. The Ground Station Manager will change the mode to AUTO (either using the transmitter, or using the ground station computer). The Ground Station Manager will communicate to the Launcher of the mode change. The Launcher launches will wait for the propeller on the E386 to reach full speed then throw the E386 at a 15 degree angle. The E386 will then lock it’s heading in the direction the plane was pointing when the mode was switched into AUTO and begin gaining altitude until it has reached the takeoff altitude. The E386 proceeds by traveling to the next WP. It continues through the WPs until it has reached the final WP, the Land WP. The E386 touches down. The E386 Flight Crew briefly celebrates another successful collection of data. The Ground Station Manager will change the plane back into FBWA. One member of the E386 Flight Crew travels to the E386 and disconnects the battery for safe transportation.

The advantage of the fully autonomous flight is apparent. Minimal user input is needed, as the E386 takes care of itself. It is important to discuss further the Auto Takeoff and Auto Land process.

-Auto Takeoff will be perfect, so long as the Launcher launches the E386 without too much error. Errors can be seen if the E386 is launched with a large bank angle. Errors can be seen if the E386 is launched with a pitch angle that is too great or not great enough.

-Auto Land is a useful tool and has been improved vastly by our reverse throttle process. The Ground Station Manager sets up his runway and then the E386 does the rest. It will land in the designated area given that wind conditions aren’t past our reccomended 20mph.

There is one uncontrollable factors in play. Google Maps (or other “Maps”) will not maintain perfectly accurate terrain. This means that it is important to allow for a landing strip that offers a small amount of forgiveness.

% The user can take manual (FBW-A) control of the E386 at any time. The E386 mode will be switched to FBW-A and the pilot will control the E386. %

–Attention is turned toward a fully manual (FBW-A) flight.

-The Ground Station Manager may or may not have planned a mission. The Launcher prepares to throw the E386. The Launcher communicates with the pilot until preparedness is reached. The Launcher throws the E386. The Pilot increases throttle and begins increasing altitude. The Pilot manually (FBW-A) controls the E386 at all times. The Pilot flies in any manner deemed necessary. The Pilot brings the E386 down for a landing.

-While a fully manual (FBW-A) flight will not yield data collection, it can increase the Pilot’s flight skill. This may prove valuable in situations where a manual (FBW-A) takeoff or landing is ideal.

-FBW-A takeoff will hold one advantage if the Pilot is skilled. With a skilled Pilot, this will allow the Launcher to commit more errors while still finding success.

-FBW-A landing holds an advantage if the Pilot is skilled. With a skilled Pilot the E386 may land more accurately.

–Lastly, combination flight is discussed.

-The E386 Flight Team may decide manual (FBW-A) flight is ideal in certain situations. The scenario considered is that of manual (FBW-A) takeoff, automatic survey, followed by manual (FBW-A) landing. In this scenario the Pilot performs a manual takeoff. After communicating with the rest of the Flight Crew, the E386 is placed into AUTO. The E386 flies the pre-programmed survey WPs. When the E386 completes the mission it will return to the area that it was given power and proceed by circling that area at 100m altitude. The Pilot regains manual (FBW-A) control when the mode is switched to FBW-A. This is done either from the ground station computer, or from the Pilot’s transmitter. The Pilot maintains control and brings the E386 down for a landing.

-All combinations of manual (FBW-A) and autonomous flight can be realized.

–In conclusion, the E386 can fly fully autonomously, fully manual (FBW-A), and a combination of autonomous and manual (FBW-A) flight. With a skilled pilot at the helm, the E386 can takeoff and land under harsher conditions than an automatic takeoff and automatic landing.

Now that mission planning understanding has been increased, the stages of flight and the WP layout will be detailed.