So… I have just completed a three day mine survey using the HereLink system and wanted to post a bit of feedback from my experience.
My setup is:
UAV: Custom 7kg Y6B frame running a Pixhawk Cube Black
Payload: Flir Duo Pro R thermal/visual camera
Control: HereLink with final Beta (now stable) firmware release, using QGC
As we were performing a visual and thermal inspection of power poles across a mine site all flights were VLOS and flown manually (no automation/waypoints).
This was the second week of surveying on this site. The first week I was running the same frame and payload but with a Taranis 2.4ghz for control, RFD900 modem telemetry link to a tablet running QGC and a 5.8ghz video transmitter for vision.
The first thing to note is that by using the HereLink we were able to drastically reduce our mob/demob time. This second week was booked for at least 5 days work and we completed in 2.5 as a result (very happy client!).
Control of the aircraft with the HereLink was crisp and responsive. I did play around with the tuning on day one but returned to the same tuning I was using with the Taranis as I liked the way it flew. The HDMI connection to the FLIR camera was stable throughout delivering crisp visuals at any range. This made positioning for the data capture very simple.
Our longest day involved 10 hours on site and a good 3+ hours of air time. Despite this the HereLink only used around 60% of its battery capacity, which is awesome! It also meant I only had to charge the one unit and not multiple batteries.
The two things I would have liked to have had this week were:
- Exponential on the sticks. Flying around high voltage power lines requires delicate control but crisp response from the aircraft. Exponential would have given me the best of both worlds.
- A sun shade and neck strap! I’m figuring some sort of tray would be best but at times it was hard to see the screen in the sun and I had to hide behind the truck to get some shade!
Anyway, really pleased I upgraded the aircraft to HereLink. It made a big improvement to our survey and resulted in a very happy client.
Looking forward to more cool things in the future…