Czech company Primoco UAV SE and Norwegian Special Mission AS teamed up together back in 2020 with aim to verify the potential of drone-based flight inspection. The result of mutual cooperation, a world-unique UAV equipped for flight inspection missions, was flight-tested in Iceland in August 2021. The trials represent the most comprehensive comparison of manned and unmanned calibration to date.
The flight inspection industry is long-term facing repeated requests for further miniaturisation of the flight inspection equipment and obviously also for finding more efficient platforms allowing to drive down the cost and increase the availability of the service. The unmanned technology, especially when connected with easy ferry to the calibration destination as regular cargo, is considered as one of the most promising future platforms. Until now the flight inspection community were hesitating to accept large UAVs mostly due to a lack of a clear legal definition of their operation. But this has changed, when Primoco customized its One 150 UAV with 150 kg maximum take-off weight, a plane fully compliant with the latest EASA drone regulations. The plane was added with onboard flight inspection equipment, the UNIFIS 1000 RPAS (a modified version of the industry-standard UNIFIS 3000), a set of antennas and other special components. The Czech and Norwegian companies started the tests at the Primoco airport in Central Bohemia back in 2020 with remote support from Norway-based NSM and after initial tests of VOR signal receiving a fully-fledged test focused on ILS landing patterns was scheduled to take place. After detailed consultations both companies successfully performed the tests at Egilsstadir (BIEG) airport in Iceland in August 2021.
General director of Primoco UAV SE, Mr. Ladislav Semetkovský, comments the achievement as follows: “We are excited to find such flexible and skilled partner such as NSM. Being aware how much the mentality of the traditional manned aeroplane-based industry must change to accept UAVs, it was a true pleasure to see that NSM is the most visionary company in the industry. With mostly remote support from the company, we performed a full set of measurements flights in Iceland. With only one NSM specialist on-site, we clearly proved the measuring equipment may be well operated remotely and finally allows to the calibration and inspection experts to do all the job remotely with only the UAV crew being at the actual site of calibration. Our UAV performed exceptionally even in the conditions of strong wind. Our big thanks go to Icelandic Transport Authority and ISAVIA company, who provided incredible support beyond their duties. It was a true pleasure to fly such innovative missions with a support of local authorities. We look forward to finalize the system and launch commercial phase, which will be also linked with our Light unmanned certificate pricing the unparalleled compliance of our UAV and organization with latest EU regulation.”
Given the rapid development of highly reliable drones, with increasing payloads capability and endurance, the Flight Inspection community is now starting to explore the possibilities to supplement conventional Flight Inspection methods. With decades of experience in Flight Inspection, Norwegian Special Mission is ready to discuss with potential customers, the implementation of FI using UAV using the One 150 UVA and UNIFIS 1000.
The UNIFIS 1000 for UAV can be configured specifically for each mission to adapt to the payload capacity of the drone being used. At present, the UNIFIS 1000 can be ordered in the following variants: UNIFIS 1000-ILS, UNIFIS 1000-TCN, UNIFIS 1000-COM/NDB and UNIFIS 1000-VGSI (for PAPI/VASI etc.).
The trials flown in Iceland were performed with the same avionics and antennas as used by the Icelandic Flight Inspection King Air 200, operated by ISAVIA. Furthermore, the flight tracks flown by the UAV were identical to the profiles flown by the King Air and this provided us with unique set of data to compare the similarity of the measurements performed with conventional aircraft to those performed with a UAV. Data analysis from our flight testing supports the use of Primoco UAV One 150 UAV with the UNIFIS 1000 as a cost efficient platform to supplement conventional flight inspection operations.
NSM Vice President Marketing & Sales, Mr. Erik Tøgersen, comments the achievement as follows: “This is a result of two innovative companies, both with leading edge technologies in their own field, cooperating and investing for a common goal. The ILS trials performed in Iceland is by far the most advanced suitability study of UAV-based Flight Inspection ever performed. We extend our gratitude to the UNIFIS 3000 operator Icelandic CAA and ISAVIA for their outstanding cooperation. NSM is similarly happy for the cooperation with Primoco UAV SE and we are looking forward to the next phase for delivering joint UAV Flight Inspection solutions.”
About Primoco UAV SE
The Czech company Primoco UAV develops and manufactures civilian and military unmanned aircraft One 150. These are aircraft capable of flying completely independently according to programmed flight plans, including fully automatic take-off and landing. One of the key features of the aircraft is its exceptional endurance, thanks to which it can spend non-stop more than 15 hours in the air at a cruising speed of 100-150 km/h which represents a range of up to 2,000 km. With a maximum take-off weight of 150 kg and a payload of 30 kg, the One 150 can be used for a wide range of deployments in both civil and military operations. The company’s aircraft is currently used on three continents for inspections of product pipelines and distribution networks in the energy sector, ensuring border and coastal security, monitoring fires or in search and rescue operations. PRIMOCO UAV SE is a publicly traded company on the START market of the Prague Stock Exchange.
Contact: Jakub Fojtík, VP Business Development, [email protected]
Norwegian Special Mission (NSM) is a provider of advanced airborne special mission solutions for Flight Inspection, Airborne Surveillance and Remote Sensing. NSM is based at Oslo airport together with Sundt Air and Pegasus Helicopter. The airborne systems are designed, engineered and manufactured by NSM in Norway and installed in the aircraft by NSM and partners around the world. The NSM team has experience of more than 60 special mission installations worldwide on different aircraft. NSM is committed to provide the best customized solution for its customers. The base design is state of art and proven while the NSM engineering team has the expertise and knowledge to tailor each system to the individual customer requirements. NSM has released its second generation of special mission management systems, the G2-series, providing even more flexibility and functionality for a wide range of aircraft and RPAS. Norwegian Special Mission is: “Large enough to be trusted, small enough to listen.”