Professionals have been discussing and looking for an effective VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) solution. Is the new hybrid VTOL Falcon Vertigo what they have been looking for?
Developed by FlyingWings, one of the leading EPP drone manufacturer in the UK, the Falcon Vertigo is a new fixed-wing UAV, capable of vertical takeoffs and landings. With its 1.3m (52”) wingspan, it is an easy-to-transport drone. The Falcon Vertigo can function as a first person view aircraft (FPV) or if you prefer, you can mount a GoPro camera as it is been designed to do so. It is based on the PixHawk, an autopilot system, in conjunction with PX4 firmware and the QGroundControl GCS, or UAVenture's AirRails firmware and GCS for commercial operations. UAVenture is a Swiss flight control software developer, who worked closely with FlyingWings to provide an effective autopilot solution.
UAVenture’s AirRails is an easy-to-use flight control system with 3D flight planning and heads-up display. It performs fully automated take-offs and landings, regardless of wind direction, and has a range of built in failsafe systems to help completing any mission accurately and safely. It is an ideal solution for surveying, mapping & surveillance tasks needing long-range flight. The Falcon Vertigo comes with one of the previously mentioned autopilot systems pre-installed. If you order it with AirRails, it comes pre-flashed and tested beforehand. UAVenture claims that “zero piloting skills are required” to use AirRails, which means professionals, new or experienced, are free to focus on other tasks, as long as the mission is planned out correctly.
What makes an effective hybrid solution such a big topic of interest though?
Both multi-rotors and fixed wing drones have advantages and disadvantages. Multi-rotor drones are a lot easier to maneuver during flight and they’re easier to land and get off the ground. They can also hover, which is great for aerial photography. Fixed-wing UAVs are not as easy to get off the ground and can’t hover, but they can cover larger areas. They also have longer flight times.
VTOL platforms combines the benefits of both into one, and this type of platform makes perfect sense since you’ll get a more versatile drone that, in conjunction with solutions such as AirRails, is a lot safer because there’s a higher level of control over the UAV, even in Autopilot mode. The question is if the quality and performance match the “single” multi-rotor or fixed-wing solutions. That’s something that still needs to be proven, even with various hybrid UAVs out there.
FlyingWings’ Falcon Vertigo is available now.