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Fixed Wing or Multi Rotor for Surveying?

Fixed wing or Multi rotor

  • Fixed-Wing

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Multi-rotor

    Votes: 8 66.7%
  • Fixed-Wing(VTOL)?

    Votes: 4 33.3%

  • Total voters
    12

Roy

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
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#1
Hello folks,

Since I am new here, I'd like to start by sharing my experience and learn from you as well.

I have been using Fixed-wing (Trimble X100- yeah the old UX5 version) before and now using Inspire 2 for surveying and mapping.

As per my previous company's work flow, we can complete about 300-500 ha. a day on fixed wing @ 10 cm GSD.
But now, I tried to fly @ 400m with 10 cm GSD on Inspire 2 and it improved my workflow. we can even complete about 500-700 hectares a day flying 10 flights a day.

It really change my view on multirotor's capability.

Please do share your view on these. or if you have your own experience not related on the two options above.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
8
Likes
13
#2
Just completed 125 acre flight last week on one battery (26min) with a new P4P. Landed with 7% left. Very impressed!
 

BigAl07

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Staff member
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Jan 8, 2018
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#3
Hello and welcome to the forum. We are glad to have you on board. I'm confident you'll find lots of helpful and enlightening information throughout this forum.

Allen
 

Advexure

Active Member
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Jan 5, 2018
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#4
Fixed wing aircraft typically are not as well suited for surveying and mapping because many turns/direction changes are required to fly grid patterns. These grids are needed to obtain sufficient overlap of the capture area. Most often we find multi-rotors better suited for this applications.

This is a graphic from our friends at DroneDeploy which should benefit the discussion.

Multi v. Fixed.png
 

ArrUnTuS

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2018
Messages
302
Likes
122
#5
Fixed wing aircraft typically are not as well suited for surveying and mapping because many turns/direction changes are required to fly grid patterns. These grids are needed to obtain sufficient overlap of the capture area. Most often we find multi-rotors better suited for this applications.

This is a graphic from our friends at DroneDeploy which should benefit the discussion.

View attachment 76
I do not agree with these statements, comrade. I can explain. The routes are exactly the same with the difference that the fixed wing needs a larger turning radius, in principle it is the only difference.

The advantages of a fixed wing are clear when it comes to covering large areas, both for autonomy and speed when it comes to covering the area of interest. Normally the speed of a multirotor is between 5 and 8 m/s and that of a fixed wing from 12 to 15 m/s. The autonomy of a multirotor 25-minute and a fixed wing of 60 minutes. These data are averaged.

That DroneDeploy table I think is for referring to specific models. Otherwise it is completely inaccurate. It's a comparison that makes no sense to me considering that it's more comfortable in a relatively small area to use a multirotor and in a large area to use a fixed wing. Specifically, I prefer a fixed VTOL wing that allows you to take off and land more safely in very small spaces, matching the advantages of a multirotor in this sense.

If you allow me I will go over the table point by point and try to reason it so that it is understood what I want to explain, starting from the basis that I understand that it is more comfortable in small areas to use a multirotor and in large areas a fixed VTOL wing.

We have to take into account another very important factor, time. When you are working and to get the same results it is not the same to take 2 hours with one method as it takes 5 hours with another method. Time is money, so the less time you take, the more you earn.

  • Maneuverability: For surveiying flight plans the routes are always straight lines that you program previously before making the flight, does everything autonomously so that it is not a problem for you the maneuvers that the flight controller has to do. If you had to do the flight manually it would be another matter but as it is not the case it doesn't make sense.
  • Price: really if we only consider the price of the aircrafts, we forget about the sensors, I sincerely believe that a fixed wing is cheaper. I do not know what calculations have been made here, so I still think it refers to specific models.
  • Size / Portability: It would be correct to say that it is easier to transport a multirotor than a fixed wing in most cases.
  • Ease of use: The flight controller does it all, the work of scheduling the flight plan is usually done beforehand and not on the field, but still, it makes a difference when it comes to different types of aircraft but today the software allows you to do it in seconds of difference.
  • Range: Definitely the fixed wing is superior.
  • Stability: I also disagree here, I think that a multirotor is more stable than a fixed wing. Anyway, the important thing is to take good pictures and in both cases a gymbal solves it.
  • Load capacity: Normally a multirotor of similar size is able to carry considerably more weight than a fixed wing. But when you choose a fixed wing, you do this by calculating the weight you will carry. It makes me think that this table is not referring to the topic we are talking about. I don't know....
  • Safer recovery from motor power loss: Since the fixed wing plans can be better but in front of a Quadcopter. Faced with a hexacopter or an optocopter, the situation is different.
  • Take-off / landing area required: Equalizes when we speak of a fixed VTOL wing.
  • Efficiency for area mapping: Without a doubt it is much more energy efficient and in time a fixed wing. I don't understand what the table refers to.
I don't know, I see it that clearly. I may be confused. What do you think?
 

kitefiter

New Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
3
Likes
0
Age
67
#6
Well stated analysis. Made me think that I can buy a lot of airplane for the cost of one dji drone.
 

AH-1G

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2018
Messages
484
Likes
186
Location
Florida
#8
I do not agree with these statements, comrade. I can explain. The routes are exactly the same with the difference that the fixed wing needs a larger turning radius, in principle it is the only difference.

The advantages of a fixed wing are clear when it comes to covering large areas, both for autonomy and speed when it comes to covering the area of interest. Normally the speed of a multirotor is between 5 and 8 m/s and that of a fixed wing from 12 to 15 m/s. The autonomy of a multirotor 25-minute and a fixed wing of 60 minutes. These data are averaged.

That DroneDeploy table I think is for referring to specific models. Otherwise it is completely inaccurate. It's a comparison that makes no sense to me considering that it's more comfortable in a relatively small area to use a multirotor and in a large area to use a fixed wing. Specifically, I prefer a fixed VTOL wing that allows you to take off and land more safely in very small spaces, matching the advantages of a multirotor in this sense.

If you allow me I will go over the table point by point and try to reason it so that it is understood what I want to explain, starting from the basis that I understand that it is more comfortable in small areas to use a multirotor and in large areas a fixed VTOL wing.

We have to take into account another very important factor, time. When you are working and to get the same results it is not the same to take 2 hours with one method as it takes 5 hours with another method. Time is money, so the less time you take, the more you earn.

  • Maneuverability: For surveiying flight plans the routes are always straight lines that you program previously before making the flight, does everything autonomously so that it is not a problem for you the maneuvers that the flight controller has to do. If you had to do the flight manually it would be another matter but as it is not the case it doesn't make sense.
  • Price: really if we only consider the price of the aircrafts, we forget about the sensors, I sincerely believe that a fixed wing is cheaper. I do not know what calculations have been made here, so I still think it refers to specific models.
  • Size / Portability: It would be correct to say that it is easier to transport a multirotor than a fixed wing in most cases.
  • Ease of use: The flight controller does it all, the work of scheduling the flight plan is usually done beforehand and not on the field, but still, it makes a difference when it comes to different types of aircraft but today the software allows you to do it in seconds of difference.
  • Range: Definitely the fixed wing is superior.
  • Stability: I also disagree here, I think that a multirotor is more stable than a fixed wing. Anyway, the important thing is to take good pictures and in both cases a gymbal solves it.
  • Load capacity: Normally a multirotor of similar size is able to carry considerably more weight than a fixed wing. But when you choose a fixed wing, you do this by calculating the weight you will carry. It makes me think that this table is not referring to the topic we are talking about. I don't know....
  • Safer recovery from motor power loss: Since the fixed wing plans can be better but in front of a Quadcopter. Faced with a hexacopter or an optocopter, the situation is different.
  • Take-off / landing area required: Equalizes when we speak of a fixed VTOL wing.
  • Efficiency for area mapping: Without a doubt it is much more energy efficient and in time a fixed wing. I don't understand what the table refers to.
I don't know, I see it that clearly. I may be confused. What do you think?
Excellent!
 

Roy

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
6
Likes
2
#9
I do not agree with these statements, comrade. I can explain. The routes are exactly the same with the difference that the fixed wing needs a larger turning radius, in principle it is the only difference.

The advantages of a fixed wing are clear when it comes to covering large areas, both for autonomy and speed when it comes to covering the area of interest. Normally the speed of a multirotor is between 5 and 8 m/s and that of a fixed wing from 12 to 15 m/s. The autonomy of a multirotor 25-minute and a fixed wing of 60 minutes. These data are averaged.

That DroneDeploy table I think is for referring to specific models. Otherwise it is completely inaccurate. It's a comparison that makes no sense to me considering that it's more comfortable in a relatively small area to use a multirotor and in a large area to use a fixed wing. Specifically, I prefer a fixed VTOL wing that allows you to take off and land more safely in very small spaces, matching the advantages of a multirotor in this sense.

If you allow me I will go over the table point by point and try to reason it so that it is understood what I want to explain, starting from the basis that I understand that it is more comfortable in small areas to use a multirotor and in large areas a fixed VTOL wing.

We have to take into account another very important factor, time. When you are working and to get the same results it is not the same to take 2 hours with one method as it takes 5 hours with another method. Time is money, so the less time you take, the more you earn.

  • Maneuverability: For surveiying flight plans the routes are always straight lines that you program previously before making the flight, does everything autonomously so that it is not a problem for you the maneuvers that the flight controller has to do. If you had to do the flight manually it would be another matter but as it is not the case it doesn't make sense.
  • Price: really if we only consider the price of the aircrafts, we forget about the sensors, I sincerely believe that a fixed wing is cheaper. I do not know what calculations have been made here, so I still think it refers to specific models.
  • Size / Portability: It would be correct to say that it is easier to transport a multirotor than a fixed wing in most cases.
  • Ease of use: The flight controller does it all, the work of scheduling the flight plan is usually done beforehand and not on the field, but still, it makes a difference when it comes to different types of aircraft but today the software allows you to do it in seconds of difference.
  • Range: Definitely the fixed wing is superior.
  • Stability: I also disagree here, I think that a multirotor is more stable than a fixed wing. Anyway, the important thing is to take good pictures and in both cases a gymbal solves it.
  • Load capacity: Normally a multirotor of similar size is able to carry considerably more weight than a fixed wing. But when you choose a fixed wing, you do this by calculating the weight you will carry. It makes me think that this table is not referring to the topic we are talking about. I don't know....
  • Safer recovery from motor power loss: Since the fixed wing plans can be better but in front of a Quadcopter. Faced with a hexacopter or an optocopter, the situation is different.
  • Take-off / landing area required: Equalizes when we speak of a fixed VTOL wing.
  • Efficiency for area mapping: Without a doubt it is much more energy efficient and in time a fixed wing. I don't understand what the table refers to.
I don't know, I see it that clearly. I may be confused. What do you think?
For the sake of discussion on efficiency, can you tell us the fixed wing drone you are using? Thank you very much.

Kindly compare it with my analysis below:

Drone : I2
Flying Height: 500m max : @ GSD 12-14 cm
Coverage : 600-700 ha.
So I flew 10 times a day. Yeah! It can be done. so my daily coverage is about 7 sq. km. per day.

Please do share yours. No problem even if we have different GSD, we will just estimate it accordingly @ same GSD.
 

ArrUnTuS

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2018
Messages
302
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122
#10
It's a custom-made VTOL. A DIY plane, allows you to land in 4 square meters without problem. 2 meters of wing, about 5 kg. Slightly more than 1 hour of autonomy.

The maximum that I can fly complying with the regulations would be between 70 hectares per flight. With one observer, 140 hectare. Without an observer, I have never done it because in my area the fields are not large, the opposite are quite small, calculating to make 12 flights of 20 minutes would be about 840 hectares. For such a big job using an observer, I calculate that about 10 flights with a total of 1400 hectares.

If you don't have any distance limitations there, as it is my case, with a plane of 1 hour of autonomy you do the 1000 hectares in one day.

There is a very important factor to keep in mind, I'm calculating with a 400 feet flight ceiling and depending on the camera this time can go down a lot because you cover more space.
 

Roy

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
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Likes
2
#11
It's a custom-made VTOL. A DIY plane, allows you to land in 4 square meters without problem. 2 meters of wing, about 5 kg. Slightly more than 1 hour of autonomy.

The maximum that I can fly complying with the regulations would be between 70 hectares per flight. With one observer, 140 hectare. Without an observer, I have never done it because in my area the fields are not large, the opposite are quite small, calculating to make 12 flights of 20 minutes would be about 840 hectares. For such a big job using an observer, I calculate that about 10 flights with a total of 1400 hectares.

If you don't have any distance limitations there, as it is my case, with a plane of 1 hour of autonomy you do the 1000 hectares in one day.

There is a very important factor to keep in mind, I'm calculating with a 400 feet flight ceiling and depending on the camera this time can go down a lot because you cover more space.
Thanks for the info. This is really a good discussion eh. We are also thinking of investing on VTOL.
 

Moosewax

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Joined
Mar 22, 2018
Messages
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34
Age
36
Location
San Diego
#13
The generator hybrid powerplants seem like they could change the equation for industrial multirotors over the next few years. Already people claiming 1.5-6 hours of flight time on a big hex/octo with a decent payload 2-8kg.

A photogrammetry payload can be pretty light so those longer flight times seem attainable now.
 
Likes: ArrUnTuS

R Martin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
233
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122
Location
Denton, Texas
#14
Fixed wing aircraft typically are not as well suited for surveying and mapping because many turns/direction changes are required to fly grid patterns. These grids are needed to obtain sufficient overlap of the capture area. Most often we find multi-rotors better suited for this applications.

This is a graphic from our friends at DroneDeploy which should benefit the discussion.

View attachment 76
BirdsEyeView Aerobotics - Welcome to the Revolution

A VTOL configuration negates most of the drawbacks of a fixed wing and for a comparable price, blows away the quad copter config. Best of both worlds coupled with a decent choice of sensor packages for under 30K. Even with the RTK package I would still lay out ground control. You don't know it is accurate unless you have something accurate to compare it against.
 
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May 23, 2018
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Location
Texas
#15
I guess my POV is different. Most of my mapping projects are > 50 acres and usually in more remote areas. Largest to date is 8,500 acres. I use the fixed wing over the P4 whenever I can. I've flown a few different fixed-wings, but currently flying a delta wing from Tuffwing. Depending on battery, I can get 25-45 minutes of flight time with a Sony A6000 flying at 17 m/s @ 400' AGL. Cost w/out camera is $2500. I'm in process of building a Skywalker Titan that should get 2+ hours of flight time at similar speed and altitude. Though, I would probably look at the Believer if I were to do again.
 
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Moosewax

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#16
I guess my POV is different. Most of my mapping projects are > 50 acres and usually in more remote areas. Largest to date is 8,500 acres. I use the fixed wing over the P4 whenever I can. I've flown a few different fixed-wings, but currently flying a delta wing from Tuffwing. Depending on battery, I can get 25-45 minutes of flight time with a Sony A6000 flying at 17 m/s @ 400' AGL. Cost w/out camera is $2500. I'm in process of building a Skywalker Titan that should get 2+ hours of flight time at similar speed and altitude. Though, I would probably look at the Believer if I were to do again.
I have heard and seen some good stuff about the Believer. Definitely something we have in mind to replace our Sensefly eBees
 

R.Perry

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Age
70
Location
Coulterville, CA
#17
The generator hybrid powerplants seem like they could change the equation for industrial multirotors over the next few years. Already people claiming 1.5-6 hours of flight time on a big hex/octo with a decent payload 2-8kg.

A photogrammetry payload can be pretty light so those longer flight times seem attainable now.
I know I'm getting old, but keeping situational awareness for up to six hours with a drone, that seems like it would be pretty tough.
 

ArrUnTuS

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Jan 5, 2018
Messages
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122
#18
I think after an hour in a row you get very tired, after 2 hours you have to be exhausted. I'm talking about multirotors where you have to pay constant attention.

I don't want to think about how you end up after six hours. :rolleyes:
 

Moosewax

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Age
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Location
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#19
I think after an hour in a row you get very tired, after 2 hours you have to be exhausted. I'm talking about multirotors where you have to pay constant attention.

I don't want to think about how you end up after six hours. :rolleyes:
Ideally something like 2 people taking shifts. Maybe 90 min each at a time. With that kind of flight time you undoubtedly need to be mobile or have a BVLOS/EVLOS waiver. The other person could drive the PIC around maintaining LOS. That driving around only works outside urban areas without a waiver though (outside the yellow zones on your sectional/terminal area charts from what I understand).
 

ArrUnTuS

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Joined
Jan 5, 2018
Messages
302
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122
#20
Ideally something like 2 people taking shifts. Maybe 90 min each at a time. With that kind of flight time you undoubtedly need to be mobile or have a BVLOS/EVLOS waiver. The other person could drive the PIC around maintaining LOS. That driving around only works outside urban areas without a waiver though (outside the yellow zones on your sectional/terminal area charts from what I understand).
Yes, something like that has to be. Being alone and with the restrictions that we have in many countries with a maximum horizontal distance of 500 m from the takeoff point, in one hour you have time to map the 74 hectares of this circle. With an observer the area increases to 110 hectares which is already a considerable amount of surface area.

Where do we have to sign up for an hour of flight time without having to use a combustion engine? :D
 

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