Falcon 8 UAS GeoEXPERT - Basic Training: Setup

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Falcon 8 System Setup

  • Falcon 8 System Setup
    • Once in the field and with the flight plan created, the next steps are to setup the Falcon 8 UAS for conducting a flight mission.  
    • In addition to this guide, please refer to the Falcon 8 pre-flight checklist for a full list of setup items.  

 

 

All Falcon 8 vehicles must be operated according to the laws of the country they are used in. It is the sole responsibility of the pilot to be informed of applicable regulations and restrictions.

 

Site Assessment

  • Site Assessment
    • The first step is to evaluate the mission location.
      • Are take off and landing area(s) clear of obstructions?
      • Are meteorological conditions within operational limits?  (Wind speed, temperature, precipitation, altitude, etc.)
      • Is the site free of any interference? (specifically interference from equipment that operates at the same frequency as Wi-Fi devices)

Falcon 8 UAV Setup / Camera Payload

  • Falcon 8 UAV Setup / Camera Payload
    • Next is to setup the camera payload:
      • Install the camera payload (Sony A7R).
      • Check that the 10-pin connector is securely attached to the central unit.
      • Check that the camera mounting screw is securely attached to the central unit.
      • Remove lens cap.
      • Switch the camera to the ON position.  

 

Falcon 8 UAV Setup / Battery

  • Falcon 8 UAV Setup / Battery
    • Check that the UAV battery bay is free of debris.
    • Insert the UAV battery into the Falcon 8 UAV with keeping regards to the battery label “THIS SIDE UP”.
    • Ensure that the UAV is switched OFF and then connect the UAV battery to the Falcon 8
    • Position the Falcon 8 UAV so that it is clear of obstructions.

 

Falcon 8 UAV Setup

  • Falcon 8 UAV Setup
    • Move the power switch into the ON position. The Falcon 8 UAV is initialized when the camera mount is aligned.  This requires approx. 15 seconds and is indicated by a triple beep from the Falcon 8.
    • The UAV is ready for the motors to be started and perform take-off as soon as the initialization has successfully finished and the link to the MGS has been established.

 

Mobile Ground Station Setup

  • Mobile Ground Station Setup
    • Install the neck strap by pushing the metal rods into the bayonet connectors and turn the rods to the right to lock and secure them.  
    • Connect the PP1800 battery and place it in the battery compartment between the carbon plates on the front side of the MGS.

 

Mobile Ground Station Setup

  • Mobile Ground Station Setup
    • Adjust the orientation of the data link and video antennas. They must be in parallel to their counterparts on the Falcon 8 UAV.
    • For an optimal data link connection, never have the tips or the ends of the antennas of the MGS pointing towards the UAV and vice versa, the tips or ends of the data link antennas of the Falcon 8 must never point towards the MGS. 

 

Mobile Ground Station Setup

  • Mobile Ground Station Setup
    • Switch on the Mobile Ground Station (MGS) and check that the battery voltage of the R/C is ≥ 8.0V
    • Switch on the video receiver by pushing the button shortly.  

 

Mobile Ground Station Setup

  • Mobile Ground Station Setup
    • When the system has successfully initialized, an appropriate Emergency Mode must be selected.  This is required to be done each time the system is powered on.  
    • Select from three different modes:
      • Come Home Straight
      • Come Home High
      • Direct Landing

 

Mobile Ground Station Setup

  • Mobile Ground Station Setup
    • Check that the LCD screen shows a visible image from the camera view.
    • Verify that the battery voltage of the UAS is ≥ 12V
    • Check that the GPS quality is ≥ 4 bars
    • Confirm that the bottom line in the status display shows OK

 

AscTec Navigator to MGS Setup

  • AscTec Navigator to MGS Setup
    • Power on laptop and open AscTec Navigator.
    • Open / create flight plan for the site.
    • Connect the laptop to the diversity link mini-USB port on the Mobile Ground Station by using the USB cable included with the Falcon 8 UAS.  
      • On first connection, Window will search for the required drives of the USB port

 

AscTec Navigator to MGS Setup

  • AscTec Navigator to MGS Setup
    • Once the USB driver has been installed, within the AscTec Navigator software, select FILE → CONNECT.
    • Select the correct serial port from the drop down menu (Manufacturer must be FTDI)
    • Confirm with CONNECT.
    • On the lower right side of the Navigator software, a yellow status bar will display for initialization.  When connection is established, the status bar will change to green and display SYSTEM OK.

 

AscTec Navigator to MGS Setup

  • With the UAS setup, connected to a laptop with a flight plan loaded the next steps on operating and conducting the flight mission can be performed.   As mentioned previously, please refer to the Falcon 8 pre-flight checklist for a full list of setup items for the UAS prior to moving forward.