BVLOS - Beyond Visual Line Of Sight
UAVs are particularly useful when they leave pilots line of sight (BVLOS – Beyond Visual Line Of Sight). They are then the pilot’s extended eye, e.g., for inspecting a power or railway lines as well as support of police, military surveillance.
In difference to copter-UAV, modern VTOLs like the Songbird enable flights of more than 100km at a time and thus offer significant relief and time savings compared to manual navigation.
In order to carry out such flights not only in exceptional situations with closed airspace, special safety requirements have to be fulfilled by the aircraft and the mission software. The GCS is successfully used for VTOL flights beyond visual range and considers all essential requirements of the current EASA regulations, so that the application for BVLOS flight permits is significantly facilitated.
In addition to technical functionalities such as the integration of ADS-B and FLARM technology, the BVLOS module enables targeted organizational measures such as mission interruption or landing at pre-determined emergency landing sites.
Thanks to the collaboration agreement with Leonardo S.p.A., the BVLOS functionalities were verified at the Salto di Quirra Experimental Test Range (Sardinia). Tests confirmed the Songbird’s excellent performance and flight quality, even with moderate wind.
During the BVLOS test flights, the real-time video transmission system was also validated. The test results were excellent both in terms of video quality received at the Ground Control Station (GCS) and in terms of range having flown at a maximum altitude of 600 m ASL up to a distance of 11 km.
Two payloads were used for the tests, one of which equipped with a 900 MHz Digital Data Link and the other equipped with a 2400 MHz DDL and an adaptive encoder, the latter developed by HORUS.
In both cases, the video received on the ground was usable for reconnaissance operations and for clearing the firing range. The most striking result was the one at 2400 MHz if we consider that the connections were made without an amplifier and with omnidirectional antennas.