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

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

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


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Comment by Nick Sargeant on April 9, 2014 at 12:21am

Is this proposal still under active development? 


Comment by Simon Wunderlin on April 9, 2014 at 12:30am
It has partially been implemented in DP2. AndroPilot has an undocumented API.


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