Aerial photography of a railway

Problem description 

Aerial photography of a long linear object is a complex process that faces many challenges making it fundamental to find the right equipment. 

  • For a correct and detailed examination of long and linear objects is required multiple flights in both directions to cover the length of the object to be examined, with some of these flights covering long distances and sometimes under rough weather conditions; 
  • Loss of the navigation signal from satellites lead to the emergency landing of most RPAS models, resulting in extensive operational downtime but also unnecessary time spent locating the aircraft in remote locations – not to mention the possible total loss of equipment;
  • Long-range aircrafts type RPAS typically provide a limited cargo capacity, considering that most monitoring tasks require usage of heavy equipment;
  • Damage detention and investigation requires that the object is inspected onsite and in detail. To undergo such task is necessary to interrupt the fight plan and allocate the aircraft to inspect the designated area.

Solution

FIXAR 007 package for aerial photography efficiently solves the difficulties faced by the customer:

  • FIXAR 007 aerodynamic design allows take-off and landing vertically on unprepared sites with an accuracy of 2 meters;
  • The aircraft is resistant to winds up to 12 m/s;
  • FIXAR 007 has an operational capacity of 60 minutes and covers a distance of 60 km in a single flight, not requiring a catapult for take-off or a parachute for landing as most RPAS type aircraft;
  • The FIXAR 007 autopilot system uses security algorithms. If the satellite signal is lost, the aircraft using the built-in inertial sensor will continue its flight plan until the communication with the satellites is reestablished. If the communication with the satellite is not restored within two minutes, the aircraft as a security measure will return to the takeoff location using azimuth data;
  • FIXAR 007 has a load capacity of up to 2 kg and the possibility to install and integrate equipment on request;
  • FIXAR XGroundControl functionality allows you to pause, modify, and alter your flight plan during flight;
  • The aerodynamic design of the aircraft allows to switch from flight mode to hovering mode any time on request from Ground Control Station (GCS);
  • The system is fully autonomous from takeoff to landing, and learn to operate with it take no longer than two hours.

Work progress

In June 2020, FIXAR team carried out aerial photography of a railway section in the Leningrad region in Russia to clarify the integrity of the security zone and infrastructure elements around it. The total length of the railway section surveyed with the FIXAR 007 was 32 km, and the width area of the recorded section was about 100 meters. The total time spent with the pre-flight preparation, territory analyses and carried out work was of 6 hours. Flights for photographic and data collection took no more than 2 hours and were performed by several round-trip flights in a line pattern. Images were gathered using a 5 cm/pixel resolution. The used payload weight was 1000 grams. 

Result

High definition photographic materials and data were obtained and subsequently used by the customer for a detailed analysis of the railway infrastructure and the security zone along the railroads. The remarkable results became a key factor in choosing FIXAR 007 in further aerial photography missions.

Characteristics of the model:

Maximum take-off weight  7000 g
Maximum payload weight 2000 g
Wing span 1625 mm
Maximum flight speed 27 m/s
Cruising flight speed 18 m/s
Ascension rate in any modes 5–10 m/s
Maximum duration of flight 60 min
Maximum flight range 60 km