Jimmy prouty who designed the UAS used by Sea Shepherd to track whale hunters has come up with an innovate method to avoid using a parachute in the event of a loss of link or component failure. The Maple Seed landing technique a worthy addition to UAS Got Talent tab.
Writing to sUAS News he says:-
I was looking at different ways to recover the plane in the event of a system failure or if I needed to abort a flight. I typically use a parachute recovery system for recovery but found that the Foamaroo is capable of doing very nice flat spins with a minimal sink rate. With the durability of the Foamaroo I was confident that the plane’s payload would withstand the impact on landing so I set up the plane to do some testing of the new recovery method. What I found is that not only does the payload survive, but the plane is undamaged as well. The “maple seed” recovery has several advantages:
- Survivability of the aircraft and systems. I was able to pick up and relaunch the Foamaroo after every recovery.
- Safety of people/objects on the ground. The plane descends so slowly that little or no harm would be done by it hurting someone.
- Good failsafe setup. In the event of a fly-away or system problem the maneuver can be entered by turning off the RC transmitter, manually via autopilot command, or automatically by preprogrammed abort scripting on an autopilot.
- Small space recovery. If the aircraft is launched from a small area that doesn’t have sufficient space for a traditional landing, the maple seed recovery can be used. I’ve tested it under varying wind conditions and can consistently land the plane within 10 meters of myself. If the plane is too far out it is very easy to recover and fly for another attempt at landing.
- No additional equipment/systems to maintain. The maneuver is entered with simple elevon commands eliminating the need to add systems and weight to it.
- Ease of use. If an FPV flyer loses sight of his/her aircraft they can simply apply the proper controls and know that their aircraft hasn’t flown away and will have survived the off-site landing.
Overall I’m extremely pleased with how well the Foamaroo has handled the new recovery system and continues to show how robust this low cost system is.