Event 38 Partners with PLACE to Map Turks and Caicos Islands

Event 38 Unmanned Systems, a leading manufacturer of American-made mapping drones, announces the successful deployment of the E400, its fixed-wing mapping drone, to collect aerial imagery and mapping data in Turks and Caicos. The drone captured enough data to produce orthomosaics of two entire islands totaling 238 square kilometers in a matter of days. Turks and Caicos’ previous mapping data was at least ten years old.

The project was conducted by PLACE, a global non-profit technology organization dedicated to solving the inefficiencies of modern-day mapping and democratizing mapping data by providing hyperlocal, accurate, detailed optical imagery. The organization had been actively searching for a better aerial imaging solution when they were connected with Event 38.

“It can be difficult and expensive to get an airplane into the geographies where we work,” said Peter Rabley, founder of PLACE. “Satellite imagery is quite complicated to order and process the data, and many of these geographies have intense cloud cover, which can disturb the imagery.”

The logistics of data capture weren’t the only challenge. “Some countries dislike the fact that they have to pay an external satellite company for one-time use of their mapping data and can’t create derived works without paying more for a new license,” said Rabley.

“PLACE was looking for a fixed-wing, VTOL drone with a long flight time that could map large areas and capture high-resolution imagery,” said Jeff Taylor, founder and CEO, Event 38. “The E400 fulfilled all of their requirements, including an industry-leading flight time of ninety minutes, plus vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. We were also intentional about making the E400 as user-friendly as possible, including a hot-swap payload, a low maintenance electric powertrain, and open-source integrations, so we could remove any barriers to entry that might prevent someone from using it for important surveying and data collection projects.”

“The E400 is a complete game changer in terms of democratizing mapping for African countries and small island states,” said Rabley. “It’s very manageable in terms of operations and maintenance and has a lower threshold for human resource capabilities.”

PLACE’s first mapping project with the E400 took place in Turks and Caicos, an archipelagic island nation in the Caribbean. Turks and Caicos’ previous mapping data was at least ten years old, and existing satellite data wasn’t detailed enough for local applications such as hurricane preparedness and mitigation. The Event 38 team joined PLACE to provide training on using and maintaining the drone, which the team used to map two entire islands.

The team produced highly accurate orthomosaics just two days after they finished capturing aerial imagery. The E400 gave the Turks and Caicos government the accuracy and resolution of data they needed to greenlight multiple critical projects, including a major upgrade to their property tax system and improved climate mitigation modeling and planning. The data is already being used for the upcoming Census and other key activities.

The success in Turks and Caicos is, hopefully, the first of many for PLACE using the E400. Access to updated mapping data is critical for geographies with fast-growing populations and cities particularly those at risk from climate change. This data allows governments to plan and invest in the development of public services and structures, such as climate mitigation, upgraded sewer systems, improved mobility, health services, and more.

“At PLACE, our goal is to democratize and localize data collection, and the E400 makes that much more affordable,” said Rabley. “The data is immediate and owned by the government, so there are no licensing or use restrictions.”

Event 38 is working on additional modifications to the E400 to support PLACE and other future customers. “Based on what we learned during our time in Turks and Caicos with PLACE, we’re making a lot of exciting modifications to both the E400 and the workflow to make the entire platform better suited to remote locations, where there may be limited cell service, repair facilities, and accessible weather data,” said Taylor. “We’ve already invested in a lighter carrying case and an ADS-B transponder and improved the image geotagging workflow for large missions, and further upgrades are in the works.”

PLACE has already purchased two additional E400s.

“Event 38 is incredibly proud to be supporting PLACE’s important work and mission,” said Taylor. “We look forward to seeing what our other clients do with the E400.”

For more information about Event 38 and the E400, including the ISR model, please visit www.event38.com.


About Event 38 Unmanned Systems:

Event 38 designs and manufactures fixed-wing VTOL drones in Richfield, Ohio. Since 2011, we’ve sold over 500 drones to people and organizations all around the globe. Our drones capture geo-tagged data for a range of industries and applications. Event 38 drones can be customized for high-resolution aerial photogrammetry, thermal and multispectral imagery, LiDAR, and live video streaming.

Event 38 Announces New EO/IR Payload for E400 VTOL Drone

Event 38 Unmanned Systems, a leading manufacturer of American-made mapping drones, announces that the E400, Event 38’s latest fixed-wing mapping drone, is now available with a gimballed EO/IR camera from NextVision.

NextVision makes field-proven, stabilized cameras and accessories for a variety of commercial and industrial applications. Their gimballed EO/IR cameras capture high-quality visual and thermal imagery and video that can be streamed directly to a ground station.

Combining an EO/IR camera with the E400 platform creates a powerful tool for search-and-rescue, emergency management, and disaster response scenarios, including swift water rescue. The E400 is a military-grade drone with a carbon fiber frame, rather than foam, and is durable enough for rugged field applications. Additionally, the E400 has very long endurance and doesn’t require frequent intermissions for charging. As a result, the E400 can cover much more acreage in a single flight than a multirotor drone, which is vital when time is of the essence.

This new integration is also ideal for surveillance and security applications. The E400 is fully electric and very quiet, so it can fly much lower than other drones without detection.

“At Event 38, we’re always looking for ways to make drone technology accessible to industries and sectors that can really benefit from it, which is why we’re so thrilled to be integrating NextVision cameras with the E400,” said Jeff Taylor, founder & CEO of Event 38. “The E400 is extremely user-friendly; you don’t need a background in aeronautics to use it. This means that any public safety team—whether that’s the police, the sheriff, border control, search and rescue, emergency management, or disaster response—can add aerial surveillance to their capabilities without having to hire an additional operator.”

Event 38 recently demoed the E400 with an EO/IR camera at an Indiana Public Safety Drone Training event, with great success.

E400 Integration With AgEagle Multispectral Sensors

Event 38 Unmanned Systems, a leading manufacturer of American-made mapping drones, announces that the E400, Event 38’s latest fixed-wing mapping drone, is now integrated with multispectral cameras from AgEagle.

AgEagle makes cutting-edge multispectral imaging sensors and cameras for a variety of advanced applications, including research and resource management. Multispectral and thermal imaging technology is excellent for automatic detection of specific assets or features. An E400 mounted with an AgEagle sensor allows for fast, automated sweeps of large areas, especially areas that may be difficult or impossible to navigate on foot.

“We’ve used AgEagle cameras with our drones in the past with tremendous results, so we’re thrilled to be integrating their products with our latest platform, the E400,” said Jeff Taylor, founder & CEO of Event 38. “Like us, they’re always exploring new technology and finding ways to make their products better. This latest integration will be our best joint project yet.”

E400 has already sold two E400 drones with AgEagle cameras to prominent universities.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville will use their E400 for flood inundation mapping (FIM), the rapid detection of surface water during and after flooding events. Their E400 will be integrated with the National Water Model (NWM), which is managed by the NOAA Office of Water Prediction.

“The UAS Research Program at UAH is conducting this work as a new member of the recently established NOAA Cooperative Institute for Research to Operations in Hydrology (CIROH),” said Casey Calamaio, Research Engineer at Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center (RSESC) at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. “This test bed project will consist of flood inundation modeling (FIM) research in the Tennessee Valley, with plans to reciprocate the remote sensing workflow to other regions of the country to support the verification and evaluation process for the National Water Model.” Other noteworthy institutions, including Kent State University, have purchased E400 drones with AgEagle sensors for research.

Event 38 Adds Secure Autopilot to E400 VTOL Drone

Event 38 Unmanned Systems, a leading manufacturer of American-made mapping drones, has combined its new E400 fixed-wing drone platform with Ironclad, a leading high-security flight controller by Asymmetric Technologies, LLC.

The collaboration between Event 38 and Asymmetric began when Rob Hettler, president of Asymmetric, was investigating UAS platform options for showcasing the capabilities of Ironclad. Ironclad is a secure flight controller designed with advanced encryption and security features that meet the rigorous requirements of Department of Defense (DoD) users and other high security missions. Additionally, Ironclad is compatible with PX4 and Ardupilot, the two most popular open-source software programs for flight controllers and autopilots. Because of this, Ironclad users can design specialty features and customize the program to suit their needs.

Asymmetric received funding from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) elevate Ironclad to a complete solution, so they started looking for a reputable partner with a quality UAS platform. “Ideally, we were looking for something American made from a company that had worked with the Department of Defense (DoD) before,” said Hettler. “But there aren’t many companies making purely American platforms right now.”

Hettler approached Jeff Taylor, president of Event 38 Unmanned Systems, to discuss a possible collaboration. Under Taylor’s leadership, Event 38 has been making fixed-wing drones for mapping and other applications on American soil for ten years. Event 38 drones are designed to meet rigorous expectations for security, accuracy, and functionality. As of 2020, the company has been operating out of Richfield, Ohio.

Hettler and Taylor agreed that the best platform for demoing Ironclad’s capabilities and features was the E400, a fixed-wing drone with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities that was released earlier this year.

“We made a custom version of the E400 for the Asymmetric team,” said Taylor. “It has all the premium features of a standard E400, such as the hot-swap payload bay, the range, the VTOL capabilities, and the battery pack. The E400 has its own high-level security features and is compatible with open-source programming, so Asymmetric can integrate their own flight controller on a secure platform.”

“The E400 is a solidly built, really nice platform. It’s the best-looking platform in our lab,” said Hettler. “And we’d much rather work with a company up the road in Ohio than halfway across the country or around the world.”

The E400 is a carbon fiber, fixed-wing VTOL drone with a flight time of ninety minutes and a payload capacity of five pounds. The E400’s origin story can be traced back to 2019, when Event 38 partnered with the Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO) to explore VTOL functionality for fixed-wing aircraft. Event 38 ran trials with the Air National Guard on a military-grade drone that became commercially available earlier this year as the E400.

“This collaboration between Event 38 and Asymmetric represents the growing number of possibilities for drone technology and the E400,” said Taylor. “We’re combining the security offered by the Ironclad autopilot with the long flight time and other features of the E400 to create an incredibly valuable tool.”

The unmanned aircraft industry is currently seeing renewed interest in cybersecurity features, especially in light of the situation in Ukraine. “Russian and Ukrainian drones are being shot down and taken apart, and the pictures are being posted online,” said Hettler. “It’s like flying a high-end laptop over enemy territory or other places where you don’t want people to have access to things. There’s a real need for the cybersecurity protections we’ve been developing, like Ironclad.”

Ironclad is designed with a range of premium encryption features, including initial user authentication, secure connection, and anti-tamper features that will wipe encryption keys in an emergency situation. In simple terms, if a drone with an Ironclad autopilot were to crash in unfriendly territory, Ironclad could erase sensitive data automatically, before it could fall into the wrong hands.

“For potential E400 users that need a higher level of security, the possibilities are exciting,” said Taylor.

Hettler is especially enthusiastic about the E400’s VTOL capabilities, which allow for easier operation, especially in field environments.

“AFRL isn’t using pure multirotor drones much. The vast majority of their drones have been fixed wing up until now,” said Hettler. “But these platforms often need dedicated runways and support equipment that won’t necessarily work in the field. A VTOL hybrid platform like the E400 gives them the luxury of straight, vertical lift-off. They don’t need the runway, but they can still do fixed-wing missions. AFRL is excited about testing this platform.” Taylor hopes to introduce the E400 with Ironclad as a standard option in the future. Those interested in the E400 can contact Event 38 at sales@event38.com.

E450 Demonstrates Hydrogen Fuel Cell Endurance


Event 38 Unmanned Systems, a leading manufacturer of American-made mapping drones, announces the successful completion of a demo flight of the E450, a drone powered by a hydrogen fuel cell on Monday, June 13, at the Kent State University airport.

The demo flight was the culmination of a multi-year project that started in 2020 and was sponsored by the Ohio Federal Research Network (OFRN), a program managed by Parallax Advanced Research. Event 38 partnered with other experts at Kent State University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Dayton, and Wright State University to explore the possibility of powering drones with fuel cells. The fuel cell used for the project was purchased from Ballard Unmanned Systems, which was acquired by Honeywell in October of 2020.

Fuel cells are a promising power source for drones. Using a fuel cell can extend a drone’s flight time by a significant margin, which is a great advantage. Additionally, because fuel cell power relies on fewer moving parts, drones powered by fuel cell require far less maintenance and are extremely quiet compared to gas-powered drones.

“This team was among the first to experiment with using fuel cells to power fixed-wing, VTOL drones,” said Jeff Taylor, founder and CEO of Event 38. “At Event 38, we’ve been making drones for a decade, so we were very eager to play a role in discovering how fuel cells can shape the future of unmanned flight technology. Plus we recently completed another OFRN project where we integrated a 3D-printed antenna with the E400, our newest fixed-wing mapping drone, so we were excited to be part of another OFRN project.”

In order to accommodate the significant size of the fuel cell, Taylor and the Event 38 team scaled up the design of the E400 to create the E450. They customized the carbon fiber structure of the E450 to fit the fuel cell and tank. They also developed a custom thermal management setup to keep the fuel cell cool while in flight. Design and assembly were conducted entirely at Event 38’s headquarters in Richfield, Ohio, where the company has robust composite prototyping and custom manufacturing capabilities.

Event 38 Principal Engineer Mathew Wright managed integration of the fuel cell and power management systems with the E450’s flight controller and ground control station.

“The autopilot and power system need to be more closely integrated for a fuel cell compared with a battery or gasoline engine,” said Wright. “The power needs to be regulated in real time to optimize for changing power draw and anticipated power bursts to climb or land under VTOL.”

After several years of work, the entire team, along with a representative from OFRN, gathered on Monday, June 13, at Kent State University Airport for a demo flight of the completed drone. The E450 flew successfully for two hours, achieving Level 7 — “system prototype demonstration in a relevant environment” — on the technology readiness level (TRL) scale. Based on an energy use analysis study conducted after the demo, Taylor is confident that the drone could fly for up to 6 hours with a fully pressurized Hydrogen tank.

The success of the project bodes well for the future of fuel cells as a power source for drones.

“In the past, there were a number of drone applications that were deemed impractical because gas and battery power weren’t sufficient due to limited range, noise, or maintenance concerns,” said Taylor. “We’re excited to see which applications we can revisit now that fuel cell power is an option. For example, while Event 38 is not focused on delivery drones, our colleagues in the industry may now be closer to making delivery drones a reality with fuel cell power. Theoretically, if someone wanted to start a drone delivery service with a fleet of Event 38 drones, they could.”

Another exciting possibility is more effective aerial surveillance. Noisy gas-powered drones have to fly high to maintain secrecy. Because fuel cells use electric motors, they’re much quieter and stealthier. An operator can fly the drone low, below the clouds, and use an off-the-shelf sensor to get high-resolution imagery or video. And thanks to the long range of fuel cell power, operators can monitor a site from much farther away.

“In terms of flight time, this drone is truly unmatched among its competitors,” said Taylor. “We’re proud to have been a part of yet another project that’s setting a new standard for drone performance.”

Companies interested in purchasing an E450 can choose between fuel cell, gas, and battery power, based on their specific requirements. The E400, Event 38’s newest fixed-wing VTOL mapping drone, was launched earlier this year and is also available for shorter range missions.

E400 VTOL Mapping Drone Now Available

Event 38 Unmanned Systems, a leading manufacturer of American-made mapping drones, announces the release of the E400, a fixed-wing mapping drone with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) functionality and a payload capacity of three pounds. The E400 is designed and manufactured in America.

The E400 is an extremely high-performance drone, with an industry-leading flight time of ninety minutes. This extra flight time translates to greater range and extra margin, so operators can gather more data in a single mission. Additionally, the E400 is much more stable at altitude and in windy conditions, making it more durable and versatile than a multirotor drone.

The E400 incorporates one of the premium features of a multirotor drone: Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). The E400 can take off or land anywhere at the touch of a button, eliminating the need for specialty launch or recovery equipment.

“We’ve been making fixed-wing drones for over a decade, but the E400 is our first fixed-wing drone with VTOL capabilities. We’re extremely proud to offer this feature,” said Jeff Taylor, founder & CEO of Event38. “At Event 38, we’re always looking for ways to make our drones more useful and accessible. Adding VTOL functionality improved the user friendliness of the E400 by leaps and bounds.”

Event 38 began exploring VTOL functionality for fixed-wing drones in 2019 during a partnership with the Air Force’s Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO). Taylor and his team ran trials with the Air National Guard on a military-grade, carbon fiber, fixed-wing VTOL aircraft, which is now commercially available as the E400.

Another user-friendly feature of the E400 is the plane’s hot-swap payload bay. The E400’s payload can be changed in under a minute without specialty tools or skills, minimizing down time between missions. Customers can choose from a variety of specialty cameras and other advanced sensors, including high-resolution aerial photogrammetry, thermal and multispectral imagery, LiDAR, and live video streaming. The E400’s payload pay has an open interface, so customers can integrate virtually any camera or sensor with Event 38’s open-source autopilot software.

Event 38 is now accepting orders for the E400 fixed-wing mapping drone. Each E400 is manufactured at Event 38’s headquarters in Richfield, Ohio.

“The E400 is the only drone of its kind that’s made on American soil,” said Taylor. “This drone is the culmination of everything we’ve learned over the past ten years and the advancements we made in partnership with the military, and we’re incredibly proud to bring the E400 to market.”

For more information about the E400 and Event 38 Unmanned Systems, please visit www.event38.com.


About Event 38 Unmanned Systems:

Event 38 designs and manufactures fixed-wing VTOL drones in Richfield, Ohio. Since 2011, we’ve sold over 600 aircraft to industry and governments all around the globe. Our drones capture geo-tagged data for a range of industries and applications. Event 38 drones can be customized for high-resolution aerial photogrammetry, thermal and multispectral imagery, LiDAR, and live video streaming.

3D-Printed Antenna Demonstrated on E400 Drone

Earlier this year, Event 38 Unmanned Systems successfully flew a drone fitted with a 3D-printed antenna at Kent State University. The project, backed by the Ohio Federal Research Network (OFRN), was a collaboration between Event 38, Kent State University, Youngstown State University, and Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI), who led the project.

Event 38 consulted with YBI to explore the possibility of creating a 3D-printed antenna to replace the nose cone on the E400, an Event 38 mapping drone.

“3D printing is an exciting option for creating geometrically complex components, such as antennas,” said Jeff Taylor, CEO of Event 38. “Traditional manufacturing methods, such as machining, aren’t optimal for unusual shapes, which can require a lot of tooling and produce significant waste material. 3D printing is much more efficient for certain geometries.”

YBI experimented with different 3D-printed antenna designs to find one that matched the dimensional needs of the E400 and achieved the right frequency and distribution pattern.

The 3D-printed antenna created by YBI was fully integrated on the E400 and flown at an OFRN project demonstration at Kent State University.

“Geometrically complex 3D-printed antennas are very promising technology,” said Taylor. “In partnership with YBI, we proved the feasibility of a dual-purpose nose cone that served as both antenna and aerodynamic structure. But there’s potential to create structural parts, too. We could print a loadbearing piece that also serves as an antenna and thus replace a structural element, which reduces the overall weight of the aircraft.”

There are several applications in which full integration of the antenna into the existing shape of the aircraft is beneficial. In virtually any context, an integrated antenna is safer from bumps and damage than a whip antenna that protrudes from the plane. In the context of a hypersonic aircraft, a protruding antenna requires extra heat shielding, whereas an antenna that integrates with the shape of the fuselage could withstand both heat and hypersonic airflow without compromising performance.

Light weighting can also contribute meaningfully to overall performance of an unmanned aircraft. A lighter drone can fly longer and handle a heavier payload on the same amount of power.

Taylor is optimistic about the future of 3D-printed antenna and other sensors. “There may be long-term benefits we haven’t even realized yet. It could change the way we design and build drones in the future.”

To learn more about Event 38 or the E400, visit www.event38.com.

E400 Displayed at Air National Guard (ANG) Domestic Capability Priorities Conference

Event 38 Unmanned Systems Inc., was recently invited to attend the Air National Guard Domestic Capability Priorities Conference in Denver, Colorado. This annual event allows the Air National Guard (ANG) to review their acquisition priorities for the coming year.

Event 38 featured the E400 VTOL after completing a successful demonstration for the Air National Guard 178th Wing Fire and Emergency Services in late 2020. The E400’s VTOL capability is ideal for a variety of emergency response scenarios including search and rescue, swift water rescue, and fire response among others. 

Learn More About the E400 Here.

Event 38 Adds Sony a6100 Support to Companion Computer for E400

Event 38’s most recent product, the E400, is designed to carry DSLR payloads in landscape orientation, a more efficient orientation for mapping. For this reason, Event 38 partnered with Sony to use the a6100, a lightweight, high resolution camera with a large APS-C sized sensor, which is crucial to produce clear, more accurate photogrammetric models.

Additionally, the Sony a6100 is now supported by Companion Computer, which is an Event 38-created device that allows a camera to talk directly to the autopilot in real-time. Companion Computer provides up-to-date information on the camera’s status, pictures it’s taking, current GPS coordinates, and pitch, roll, and yaw data from the autopilot AHRS.

Having the ability to have information like photos in real-time makes the postprocessing workflow not only more efficient, but allows the operator to check that the images are being photographed as desired, meaning good exposure and overlap, and the target area is captured.

E400 specs and pricing can be found here.

3D Printed Antenna Project Progresses to Integration

Event 38 is currently working on a project supported by OFRN to 3D print antennas for sUAS (small unmanned aircraft system). The intent is to use additive manufacturing research to produce geometrically complex antennas with unique structural and aerodynamic properties. In this instance, the 3D model replaces the aircraft nose cone to function as both an antenna and an aerodynamic structure.

The part is made with a combination of metal and polymer 3D printing to achieve the antenna. Currently, Event 38 is integrating the antenna onto its E400 aircraft and plan to perform flight demonstration and functional evaluation this summer.