Event 38 Flies Under AFRL COA at Ohio UAS Test Center

Event 38 recently completed flight demonstrations of a custom-built aircraft that is a major milestone in a multi-year research project into structural energy storage led by Dr. Vikas Prakash at Case Western Reserve University. Event 38 founder, Jeff Taylor, had previously studied aerospace engineering under Dr. Prakash in 2008 and said, “I’m proud that Event 38 has reached a level where we can collaborate on cutting edge research projects, and working with my former professor makes it all the more exciting for me.”

For the demonstration, Event 38 built a custom version of its latest E400 composite aircraft, with battery cells molded directly into the structure of the wings. This technique saves weight and allows the aircraft to store more energy for flight without reducing the payload volume or increasing the size of the aircraft’s structure. Event 38 uses composite construction techniques to conform the aircraft fuselage and wings to the custom shape dictated by the payload or mission profile. The E400 used in this demonstration was also outfitted with a Ping2020 ADS-B transceiver to help improve situational awareness of manned aircraft flying nearby.

As part of the demonstration, Event 38 coordinated with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and the Ohio UAS Test Center to fly on the grounds of Springfield Beckley Airport immediately adjacent to active runways. Event 38’s E400 passed a combined technical and safety review board administered by AFRL in order to fly under their Certificate of Authorization (COA) for flight test activities. Event 38 implemented multiple fail-safe procedures to ensure that the E400 could not, under any circumstances, exit the boundaries of the COA or interfere with manned traffic.

A series of systems, procedures, and technologies were used to ensure safety of manned traffic operating near the Springfield airport. The Ohio UAS Test Center and AFRL have collaborated to build a one-of-a-kind Ground Based Detect and Avoid (GBDAA) system centered around Springfield. The system uses combined radar returns from nearby airports to provide comprehensive radar coverage of a 225 square-mile area. The fused radar data is routed to a mobile operations center, where it can be accessed and read by test center personnel and operators. The system is set up to enable BLOS flights throughout the 225 square-mile area, where test center personnel can manage mixed manned and unmanned operations.

Before flying, AFRL issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) for nearby traffic to be aware of the unmanned operations. For the duration of the flights, Ohio UAS Test Center personnel operated radios to notify incoming and departing traffic of the nearby unmanned traffic. Dozens of takeoffs and landings took place while the E400 loitered at 600′ AGL just a couple hundred feet away from the runway, without causing any safety concerns.

The flight was monitored by an Event 38 pilot in command located inside the mobile ground station and a visual observer who maintained sight of the aircraft. The pilot inside monitored the ground control station, performed trend monitoring as part of the structural energy test procedures, and liaised with the Ohio UAS Test Center airspace manager operating the radar and radios.

The test compared an E400 fitted with structural energy to a standard Li-Ion battery configuration. The addition of structural energy elements allowed the E400 configuration to achieve 1.6x greater endurance than the standard configuration, which is volume-limited with certain payloads. This resulted in a three-hour flight, a duration practically unheard of for hand-launched, commercial UAS.

Event 38 customers benefit from the success of this demonstration in two ways.
First, Event 38 aircraft offer an even greater endurance advantage while fully equipped with the most capable mapping and surveillance sensors used on small UAS.  For collecting orthophotography, LiDAR point clouds, or monitoring critical infrastructure, the E400 leads its class in terms of endurance and versatility. Second, customers benefit directly from the experience the Event 38 team has gained in documentation and procedures used to receive approval to fly under the AFRL COA on an active airport. We can advise customers on achieving regulatory compliance through implementation of risk mitigating technology and procedures.

Partnering with uAvionix to add ADS-B Integration

Event 38 Unmanned Systems Partners with uAvionix to Improve Airspace Safety for Manned and Unmanned Aircraft

Akron, Ohio—March 6, 2019—Event 38 Unmanned Systems announced today that it has entered into a collaborative agreement with uAvionix to resell and integrate uAvionix ADS-B products with Event 38 aircraft.

Unmanned aerial systems and manned aircraft equipped with uAvionix ADS-B transceivers can track each other electronically while in flight. ADS-B transceivers like the Ping2020, which is small enough for Event 38 drones, receive and transmit information about air traffic such as location, altitude, and speed. The Ping series can detect ADS-B messages from aircraft up to 100 miles away.

When a uAvionix ADS-B transceiver is integrated with an Event 38 aircraft, operators can see the locations of manned air traffic overlaid directly on their ground station display. This capability improves both operator and pilot situational awareness, so operations near manned aircraft can be performed with an added level of safety. This risk mitigation tool may also increase the chance of being approved for Part 107 waivers such as high altitude and BLOS operations, depending on the location and airspace of the operation.

With this added ADS-B capability, Event 38 aircraft continue to lead the industry in long range mapping aircraft for EVLOS and BLOS operations. “Our prediction is that the FAA will require ADS-B as part of its eventual integration of unmanned aircraft into the NAS,” says Jeff Taylor, President, Event 38. “By partnering with uAvionix to offer this capability, we hope to make it easier for our customers to obtain Part 107 waivers now and to build flight heritage for future changes in regulation.”

Event 38 will carry all of uAvionix’s products for unmanned aircraft, including Ping2020, Ping1090, Ping200S(r) Transponders, and PingUSB. These products will be available on all Event 38 long endurance aircraft starting with the E384-Heavy and E400.

To learn more, get in touch with Jeff Taylor at jeff@event38.com or visit www.event38.com.

About Event 38 Unmanned Systems

Founded in 2011, Event 38 Unmanned Systems operates out of Akron, Ohio, and has customers all over the world. Event 38 designs and manufactures long range drones, onboard data processing solutions, and other equipment for unmanned aerial systems.

Swiftnav Releases Case Study on Event 38 Intellishoot System

Swift Navigation have released a case study detailing how Event 38 uses their Piksi Multi L1/L2 GPS receivers to provide an all-in-one solution for precise aerial geotagging. The Intellishoot system is a fully enclosed solution ready to integrate with most mapping cameras. The system is comprised of the GPS receiver, an antenna, and a software utility for optimizing geotag placement and streamlining the data for import into Metashape, Pix4d, and other postprocessing software. Camera shutter feedback pins are

 

See the full case study on Swiftnav’s Website.

E386 Now Equipped with Parachute Recovery

Due to popular demand, the E386 aircraft now supports automated parachute recovery for landing in confined areas, on rugged terrain, or in territories requiring a parachute for safety purposes. The parachute is deployed automatically by a command built into the mission. The E386 also retains popular features of the E384-LR such as terrain follow and Wind Resist for further reliability in difficult environments. It is also possible to land the E386 manually onto its ABS plastic skid plate using the hand controller when that is more convenient.

The E386 uses the Harrier launch system from FruityChutes to safely deploy the parachute in flight. After testing a variety of parachutes and launch systems, we’ve found the Harrier to be the most reliable and easiest to pack parachute system available for small UAS.

The E386 is available now with all sensor options under 400g, including the R10C, RedEdge, Sequoia and FLIR cameras.

Learn more about the E386 here.

Intellishoot L1L2 PPK Geotagging System Now Available

The Intellishoot L1L2 PPK Geotagging System is now available as a stand-alone module for integration with Event 38, Pixhawk and DJI powered unmanned aircraft. This PPK GPS system is built in-house by Event 38 and is powered by the Piksi Multi core. Currently, it supports GPS L1/L2C, Glonass G1/G2 and SBAS. It is hardware ready for Galileo E1/E5b, BeiDou B1/B2, and QZSS L1/L2 via firmware update in the future. The primary advantages of working with a dual frequency setup are a faster time to fix, more reliable fix holding, and single solution post-processing. By using two frequencies from each satellite, dual frequency receivers are able to more quickly determine ionospheric conditions and calculate a high accuracy fix faster. This also allows them to recover from a loss of fix and pick up new satellites as they come into view more quickly. With single frequency PPK, there can be multiple solutions produced when post-processing the GPS data. This means that the solution can be affected by, for example, where in the GPS string you clip the data to start and stop processing. L1L2 produces only a single solution, making post-processing easier and more consistent.

The accuracy produced by an L1L2 system in good conditions is typically not higher than with an L1-only system. However, in marginal conditions where a Q1 solution may be intermittently lost, L1L2 is better at maintaining Q1 solutions for longer and re-acquiring them more quickly when lost. In our case study, we produced results with horizontal and vertical RMSE of 2.82cm and 3.62cm respectively from 100m AGL flying height. To learn more, see the full case study.

The Intellishoot System from Event 38 consists of an enclosed module with external GPS antenna and precision geotagging softare which extracts event markers from the RINEX file and performs additional adjustments to the geotags to improve accuracy depending on the parameters of your sensor and setup. Systems are available for purchase both individually and for integration with Event 38 aircraft. Please contact us for further information.

FLIR Vue Pro Radiometric Sample Data Now Available

Thermal imagery, with its lower resolution and contrast, can be particularly challenging to collect at high quality and even more challenging to stitch into an orthomosaic. With a radiometric sensor, it usually makes sense to perform the actual image analysis individually for each image. For visualization purposes though, creating an orthomosaic does help provide a better big picture view. With the FLIR Vue Pro line of cameras, images are automatically geotagged in flight when purchased or otherwise integrated with an Event 38 aircraft. The operator must then collect data at an appropriate altitude and time of day depending on the application, and collect imagery with enough overlap to be stitched. Here we have a scene with mixed vegetation, pavement, buildings and cars, making stitching relatively easy. Still, we planned for 70% overlap and sidelap to be safe. Higher overlaps may be needed in areas with less distinct features. We also recommend planning to leave at least 2.5 seconds between image captures and to use a class 10 SD card. FLIR cameras can sometimes get behind while trying to save imagery to memory, and then subsequently start missing images. This can be particularly tricky with FLIR cameras because they can usually handle the higher trigger rate for dozens to hundreds of images before falling behind and then missing every other shot for the rest of the mission. Remember to keep winds in mind if you must plan to fly any down-wind segments. If possible, fly crosswind and advance flight lines into the wind so the apparent groundspeed is always less than standard cruise speed.

If you’d like to download the full set of images, you can get access here. This is radiometric data, so be sure to also download a trial of FLIR Tools to get started analyzing in depth. See the annotations below for some interesting features to inspect.

1. Human standing at corner of pavement as seen from FLIR Vue Pro R 640, 9mm from 140m AGL
2. Bare metal roof reflects low temperature of sky
3. Section of grass field damaged by persistent standing water

E384-Heavy Configuration Now Available

The E384-Heavy is a special configuration of the E384 that is built to meet user specifications. Using flaps to increase lift at low speeds, the E384-Heavy can take off and land at up to 9 pounds MTOW. Even at this high weight, it is possible to hand launch and belly-land the aircraft, so you don’t need to carry bulky launch or recovery equipment to the flying site. The larger fuselage volume allows it to carry even the largest cameras in landscape orientation, for the maximum mapping efficiency. The E384-Heavy can cover as much as 1,900 acres (770Ha) at 400′ (120m) AGL or 4,200 acres (1,700Ha) at 3.9cm/pixel with the Sony RX1R II.

The E384-Heavy can be modified to carry other payloads like the FLIR Duo Pro R for security applications, or even small parcels for delivery to remote locations. Founder of Event 38, Jeff Taylor, says, “The Heavy configuration addresses the needs of serious UAS operations that are now taking on the kinds of mapping work previously reserved for light aircraft. It is now conceivable to map dozens of square kilometers a day with a portable drone, or to perform surveys of remote sites 10km or more from the nearest launch site.”

The E384-Heavy can be tailored to each type of mission for best performance. Contact us to discuss your project.

42MP Full Frame Sony RX1R II Now Available

After extensive testing, Event 38 is releasing another all-new camera option for E384/6 users. The Sony RX1R II is a 42 Megapixel, full frame camera that produces the highest quality imagery ever from an Event 38 aircraft.

The RX1R II is able to produce ground resolutions of 1.35cm/pixel at 100m AGL flying height. It can be used to produce particularly detailed orthomosaics and elevation models.  Alternatively, the extreme resolution could allow the ability to fly higher and cover much larger areas at moderate resolution very efficiently. Contact us to learn more about the best aircraft configuration for each situation.

The high resolution imagery also improves PPK GPS results, and the RX1R II is compatible with PPK GPS on certain aircraft configurations. The high resolution makes it easier to identify the location of GCPs more accurately.

The RX1R II is ready to ship now with new Event 38 aircraft and can be added to existing E384 units with certain upgrades. Please contact us for more information or to see sample imagery.

Event 38 Adds Sony R10C Sensor

Event 38 is proud to announce the addition to our lineup of our smartest and most integrated imaging sensor ever, the Sony R10C.

The R10C is Sony’s camera made specifically for embedded applications. Sony grants Event 38 access to the full camera controls available to the internal software. This allows us an unprecedented level of control over the camera in flight. With the R10C, we are able to ensure that the camera maintains its configuration to obtain the best quality images for every flight – no more concerns about setting the shutter speed or power timeouts for long transits. When paired with the companion computer, we can also geotag the images in real time and save them to a conveniently located thumb drive. If you plan to primarily map with the R10C and companion computer, you may never need to take out the camera or SD card at all.

The R10C remains compatible with our PPK GPS systems and its specs are identical to the Sony QX-1 in weight and resolution. It is available now as an option for new E384/E386 aircraft. We are also making it available stand-alone for users wishing to integrate it into their own aircraft. Please contact us for further information.

E384-LR Adds Two New Custom Software Features

All new E384-LR Aircraft will now feature the addition of two new features designed to make them even more reliable and consistent for mapping large areas.


Wind Resist – Automatically optimizes flight speed to balance efficiency and ground coverage when headwinds reduce forward progress. Speeds up progress on windy days and improves the area that can be covered in each flight. Also improves safety for flying at high altitudes or in windy areas where wind speed may overcome the standard E384’s max cruise speed.

Terrain Follow – Loads in terrain altitude from global SRTM data or can accept custom DEMs. Automatically follows the terrain of the land to ensure a consistent ground sampling distance and to avoid crashing into hills or mountains.

These features will ship on all new E384-LR aircraft ordered from Event 38. Upgrades to existing E384-LR’s are possible with factory testing and refurbishment. Please contact us for more information.