The Sea Shepherd Drone

The Sea Shepherd drone a Hanger 18 Osprey

The sUAS used on Animal Planets, Whale Wars was built and designed in Wichita, Kansas by Jimmy Prouty at Hanger 18. Its going to show for the first time to many people that civilian sUAS exist and are as good if not better than some military equivalents.

Airframe basics

Wingspan 2.2m Fuselage: 25″ long, 3″ diameter.

The Osprey was designed as an endurance UAS that’s capable flying for over an hour carrying custom payloads. It’s stable design makes it easy to fly and is actually capable of climbing in thermal lift with the motor turned off. The Osprey also flies well in higher wind conditions and has a very wide speed range.

Other than the wing spars, the fuselage is completely open for payload use and system batteries. The plane breaks down to a small size to make is easy to

transport and fits easily into a golf bag carrying case for ruggedized transport on airlines. Wings can be modified during construction to house transmitters and receivers on request.

Available payload space
Osprey transport breakdown


The Autopilot

AttoPilot Control Board

Flying the platform is the AttoPilot V3 from Dean Goedde. It communicates back to the ship via a Maxstream Extend 1w modem. Live video images from a Sony 540 lines analog bullet camera (waterproof) sent via a Lawmate 1W analog video transmitter with yellow jacket diversity. The video and telemetry should have been good for 10km but proved to work further.

2 additional on board HD video systems for data analysis back at the vessel.

The 6DOF AHRS IMU is the newest AttoPilot system on the market, the hermetic enclosure keeps internal components clean, prevents water condensation from affecting sensitive analog components, and physically protects the working PCBs. Four mounting holes and high vibration resistance make installation easy. There is typically no need for foam padding.

Sophisticated in design and rich in features but still easy to use from the hobbyist to the demanding professional. With a hyper threaded 32 bit processor running at 160 MIPS AttoPilot brings the functionality of high end autopilots within reach and scalability for the future.

Chris Mc Nair provided flight training over a week for the Sea Shepard crew. He also integrated the IMU into the platform and made it flight ready.

About SSCS

Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.

Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.


Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.