New AreoHawk in Service


RQ-84Z AreoHawk is now is service in NZ after a months trial in Canada and NZ.  We are acquiring 8 Sq/km in 36 min from 400-600 AGL and endurance 90 min+ -in 25 km 'hr winds.

Sensor is Sony Nex-5, Migrating to Sony Nex-7 in one week (when they arrive).  Our Terrain Aware IP allows for dynamic operations factoring in wind direction, DEM, overlap requirements and acquisiton rate depending on ground speed.

No need for catapult.  Parachute recovery (automated) and unique Pitot tube that doesnt get blocked in rain.

Hand launch is very solid - 70 km/hr in 1 sec and high angle climb to loiter altitude.

Our photogrammetry software AREOGRAPH hi density DSM including ground control and tone, colour matched ortho mosaics delivered in 1 Sq/km tiles pixel alignment and most nadir images promyted removing parallax error.



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  • Sure thing.  I think the key point is that this industry is complex and people always try and over simplify capabilities.  As soon as you are dealing with the environment the cards are stacked against you.

  • Rowland, please don't get me wrong - I was just pointing out that in scheme of things it is not a noteworthy cost factor. However, the statements of Kryzs and yourself are quite vaild and real issues and the approach is also valid. As is mine! Horses for courses, as they say.




  • Mike, we agree but we found a significant increase in efficiency with our new UAV and were excited, so hence the focus on Sq/km.   One thing we have found from years of commercial experience is that you do need to be able to do reasonably large areas in order to stay in business.  Consistant lighting conditions as well and ability to operate in turbulence and 25 km/hr winds (+) important.  Krzys is also correct in that "laboratory" calculations dont really equate to reality.  Customers never give you a lovely square or rectangle to fly,  there are airspace restrictions and topography will influence greatly the overlap efficiency between runs.  As we operate in mountains we understand this significantly.

  • Kryzs, yes and no! Equal lighting can be sorted easily and effectively in post - I have software that does that automatically with great results and using RAW gives an even wider range of available adjustment.


    I prefer slower planes anyway as I tend to fly lower and map at higher resolutions.

  • T3

    Yes and no. If you require equal lighting and even more you are photomapping construction site, it is good to have one long flight. This is also helping processing as keep the photos balanced and shot in similar conditions - unless the flight is really several hours when the weather will change significantly anyway.

    Also because the smallest mishap would force you into option: repair SMALL issue on the field and make the second run, OR dont fix anything at the field whatever is the outcome, just make ONE flight. In both cases long flight time is beneficial.

  • Krzys - the flight time is relatively trivial in the scheme of things - unless we are talking days. Getting to the site, good ground control and photo processing are where the real time is taken - so as far as marketing goes the km2/hour is a distraction from the reality of the overall turnaround time.

  • T3

    Yes they use the AUW very efficiently.


    What most ppl dont realise on this market is that the more elongated the surface is, the easier is to get high total surface. As a result we have photo_width*(flight_time*airspeed) surface best case, but this has nothing to do with regular, square map area you can achieve.

    For example 600agl, 772m ground width, one hour flight time at 60km/h over straight line and you already have... 60*.772=46.32km2. Yet, the typical map as we know it is less or more rectangular, little elongated, and that sticks in ppls mind.

    The market reality is anybody with 500-2000g styrofoam claims surfaces in Pteryx or Hawkeye regions and this is why I always show this calculation. If we go insane we will be forced to quote numbers in 100km2 regions that nobody will be able to achieve in practice, such poor marketing would harm the market creating 'unfulfilled illusions trauma' for the clients, which are mostly fresh to the subject. Sad reality is that some makers of small systems instead of complement their fleet with something more troubled but larger prefer to pump up the statistics.

  • Moderator

    That's a very pretty airframe, I like!

  • Oops and I have been told off by one of our staff,  the acquisition was complete at 42 min not 36.  I recall 36 min for the task complete and we continued for another 6 min for some extra.  This was the first time I had flown for a good 6 months.  Boss needs to get out of the office more!

  • Yes processing is king, especially with wide angle lens. Its taken 18 months for Areo to fully optimise for this type of aquisition.   Its hard to say what the side overlap is, I think you're right - 50% is about right but it does change with terrain.  We used to acquire about 4-5 Sq/km per hour with the old UAV but now I think we are relaiably at 10+ per flight.  this total flight time was 55 min - I spent about 15 min dodging windmills to set parachute recovery!.  The more time we can put to acquisition vs launch and recovery the better. 

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