Etosha Natiola Park, Namibia, receives first UAS and Pilot completes training.

Gabriel Shatumbu, A qualified Pilot, receives his competency certification for the SurVoyeur mk-II UAS .

Etosha National Park in Northen Namiba received their first Wide Horizons SurVoyeur mk-II UAS yesterday. The Pilot completed his training on Friday. The system consists of the 2.6meter wingspan SurVoyeur mk-II aircraft , stabilized steerable Infra-Red gimballed camera ( FLIR TAU-2) and an 18mpixel stills camera also with video downlink.

The Aircraft is capable of 60minute flight at 1500meter ASL @ 35deg C @ 18m/s, and 75minutes @ 14m/s.

The aircraft is fully autonomous - auto launch and land - and has a video and datalink range of 20km.

The video receive ground segment consists of a 14dBi gain Helical antenna, fitted within a tracking system, tracking the aircraft in flight.

The Pilot completed 4 days of intensive training with 9 flights day and 6 night. The Pilot also is a qualified civil Pilot and a Senior Warden at the Etosha National Park. He was well at home with the system and its operation.   Since his arrival with the system in the Park on Friday afternoon he has already flown 3 flights.

The system is to be used as an aid in day and night patrols of 'hot spots' in the Park and on the critical boundary fence lines. If it proves to add value to the process, the Park intends to supplement the system with at least 3 more systems.

We hope this will help in even the smallest way to aid the Good People in these parks in there plight against poaching.

                                       Mk-II in its case, and then assembled on the stand  in its case.

               Ready to Launch..

Pilot at the GCS

Pilot filling in Log Book after flight - Tracking antenna in the background

The NamPilot.

Views: 1579

Comment by Gary Mortimer on December 21, 2013 at 4:08pm

Nicely done, made and designed in Africa for African conditions. 

Comment by Gisela & Joe Noci on December 21, 2013 at 10:25pm

Thanks Gary. 

The Ministry here is going to try their SurVoyeur systems up on the Kunene river - they want to do a Crocodile count by flying a 'pipeline' down the river,  a section of some 70km, taking hi-res stills, stitching and trying to count the crocs basking on the banks. They normally use choppers - twice a year - but the noise chases the crocs into the water making it difficult. Interesting to see how this works! I am also keen to see it with the thermal camera - I wonder how a croc will show up?

Also nice to see the digital tags pop up on the GCS while the plane is in the air..


Comment by Hein du Plessis on December 22, 2013 at 12:50am

Wow congratulations!! Very impressive!

Comment by Gary Mortimer on December 22, 2013 at 1:11am

@Joe yep I know how pleasing seeing the collar pings is, just checking up on some of ours. Hero jackal is still living 160km away from where we trapped him. I'm cautiously excited about some new methods we will be flying early 2014. Man is still beating nature sadly.

Comment by Graham Dyer on December 22, 2013 at 2:21am

Fantastic! Good work. What autopilot are you using Joe, and what altitude above ground is normally flown? (I do enjoy Etosha a lot.)

Comment by Gisela & Joe Noci on December 22, 2013 at 8:33am

Hi Gary,

What a busy jackal! certainly moved about.  See Estcourt on the map - as a small kid our family would stay over in Escourt -( Escourt Hotel..) on route to Durban - about 45 years ago....those were the days - when a trip to Durban was a real journey!

We are starting to make way with the UAS here in Namibia, slowly getting folk to understand what it can and cannot do, that UAV's are not the magic bullet all were looking for. 

And we are having huge fun all the while!


We have designed our own autopilot ( 32bit AVR based) and the IMU, autopilot, camera controls, etc,  and ground station code is all my good wife's doing. Flight height depends on what we are trying to do - fence monitoring is a bugger - we try to fly as low as possible ( sometime 15meters AGL!) so the fence is viewd from the side, about 80meters from the fence so it does not pass by too quickly ( @14m/s airspeed).


The Nampilot

Comment by keeyen pang on December 22, 2013 at 6:55pm

Very impressive work. Congratulation Joe.

It is amazing that you do the whole things on your own effort

Comment by Gisela & Joe Noci on December 22, 2013 at 10:39pm

Thank You keeyen pang. I guess when you enjoy what you do, and it combines a passion for wildlife and its conservation, then amazing things become possible! But like so many of these efforts, funding is usually donor driven so development sometimes runs out of money...!  At least this one worked!

I always keep abreast of what you guys are doing - fantastic work, really well done. We had a long chat with Crawford Allen here in Namibia recently and he spoke highly of you guys as well. Great work!


The Nampilot


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