Every now and then a new blog post or forum thread pops up something along the lines of "Be careful, I got cut by the propeller ..." with ugly images attached.

UAVs are complex solutions and can be dangerous. The technology itself can help prevent accidents but eventually in most cases it boils down to human errors. I have fond memories sitting in a cockpit while going through checklists. We should learn from the real aviation and adopt checklists to make flying UAVs safer. I am always going through my checklist on paper before a flight. This is a proven approach to keep risks low.

In our situation we could take the idea of paper checklists even one step further: interactive checklists. It would be even nicer if the groundstation software would aid the operator going through the checks. The GCS could help by displaying relevant values which need to be checked and allow user input where needed in a structured ways, step by step.

The Image above shows a mockup of a tablet base UI which could be used as checklist in the field. If such a feature would be implemented in DroidPlanner orAndropilot it could also offer GUI components to switch mode or read settings while going through the checks.

Below is my checklist for an electric plane. It might look different depending on vehicle (even for fixed wing planes). I think it would be important to make such checklists configurable. The user should be able to re-order and add/remove items. 

From preparation to launch, during the mission and while landing different checklists are required. The checklists could be organized in tabs.

 

My checklists:

 

Preflight check
[  ] Check payload battery
[  ] Check payload on
[ ] Check UAV battery
[ ] Check airspeed sensor clear
[ ] Turn on transmitter
[ ] Mode manual
[ ] Power idle
[ ] check prop clear
[ ] Power up UAV
[ ] block airspeed sensor
[ ] don't move UAV until elevator flicks 3 times
[ ] Connect telemetry
[ ] Check 3D GPS fix
[ ] Check altitude
[ ] Check airspeed
[ ] Check Home Location
[ ] Check cruise speed
[ ] Set home altitude to realtive alt.
[ ] Check moving surfaces [Manual]
[ ] Check moving surfaces [Stabilize]

 

Mission planning
[  ] Wind direction and speed?
[  ] Auto take off? Angle ___, Altitude ___
[  ] Check default altitude ___
[  ] Check altitude graph
[  ] Check distance
[  ] Upload mission
[  ] Download mission again and check

Take off
[  ] Check prop thrust?
[  ] Wind direction and speed
[  ] Takeoff flight path clear of obstacles?
[  ] Mode auto
[  ] Check elevator (auto takeoff only)
     launch against wind

Landing
[  ] Check home altitude
[  ] Check cruise speed
[  ] Check wind direction and speed

Shutdown
[  ] Power idle
[  ] Mode manual
[  ] Disconnect Telemetry
[  ] Power off

 

Views: 4008


T3
Comment by Thorsten on October 5, 2013 at 7:25am

Good idea! I fully support it! There might be differences concerning planes and copters as well as the field of application, but this should be easy to solve.

Comment by Simon Wunderlin on October 5, 2013 at 7:27am

Yes, I think the checklists should be configurable, because there are different procedures even for fixed wing planes.

Comment by UAS_Pilot on October 5, 2013 at 7:40am
Great idea for the interactive checklist. I have been useing an electronic checklist on my iPad for years. I like it and can't wait for either one on the android planning software or the MP software or both.

T3
Comment by Thorsten on October 5, 2013 at 7:55am

Here is my quick revision of your list for my purposes. I think it is also important to add some additional information about the mission and to be able to log all these data for documentation purposes.

Mission/Flight data
Operator ___
UAV description ___
Date XX.XX.XXX
Time XX:XX
Home location lat XX.XXXX long XX.XXXX


Mission planning

[ ] Auto take off? Altitude ___

[ ] Check default altitude ___

[ ] Check distance
[ ] Check mission time ___

[ ] Upload mission

[ ] Download mission again and check
[ ] Set home altitude to realtive alt.


Preflight check
[ ] Environmental conditions ok for mission
[ ] Check UAV battery
[ ] Check payload on
[ ] Check payload battery
[ ] Check sensors (airspeed, ultra sonic, ...)
[ ] Check motors and props
[ ] Check prop clear

[ ] Turn on transmitter
[ ] Turn on GCS
[ ] Power up UAV

[ ] Connect telemetry
[ ] Check telemetry connection
[ ] Check 3D GPS fix
[ ] Check altitude
[ ] Check airspeed
[ ] Check Home Location
[ ] Check cruise speed

[ ] Check if payload is connected and powered

[ ] Check UAV orientation


Take off
[ ] Arm UAV

[ ] Check prop thrust?

[ ] Takeoff flight path clear of obstacles?

[ ] Mode auto

[ ] Check elevator (auto takeoff only)



Landing
[ ] Check home altitude
[ ] Check speed

[ ] Check wind direction and speed


Shutdown
[ ] Disarm UAV
[ ] Power off UAV
[ ] Disconnect Telemetry

[ ] Power off transmitter

Comment by Gary McCray on October 5, 2013 at 9:57am

Great idea,

I'd certainly use it myself, and if we can get something I'll be more than happy to make a wiki page for it.

Probably be good to have separate ones for Plane and Copter (and Rover too for that matter).

It might also be nice if it was easily adjustable where you could add or delete or even customize individual entries.


Moderator
Comment by Gary Mortimer on October 5, 2013 at 10:20am

Brilliant guys, please try and join the flight standards group and lets thrash this out there. Someone will approve you as soon as you are spotted.


Admin
Comment by Morli on October 5, 2013 at 11:16am

Gary ,

pls send them invitation  if possible/needed.

Very good Idea guys, a check list for every droner.  Yep will atleast  avoid silly mistakes if not the worst ones.

Comment by Paul Feely on October 5, 2013 at 12:11pm
Great idea, if it could be integrated with a simple flight log for the phones/tablets even better!
Comment by Joshua Johnson on October 5, 2013 at 1:08pm

Bravo Simon!!

Things like a pre flight checklist will help restore the FAA's confidence in the integration of civilian/business use of unmanned aerial vehicles!  With the coming of collision and avoidance software/hardware we are only a few steps away from having complete sUAS systems.  I think it's time we all take a step back and look at manned flight and why it's so safe and why the FAA has an utmost confidence in manned flight procedures.  Going through and adopting safety features that are used in manned flight and converting them to unmanned use is extremely important to the Integration of Drones.

Again Bravo on the Idea!.

Joshua Johnson

Diy Drones News

Comment by Stefan on October 5, 2013 at 1:30pm

My compliments on the idea. Just a checklist is a pretty simple thing to accomplish. Making it interactive with the sensors a bit less simple but should be feasible with some teamwork here.

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