Updated: Jul 10, 2019
Drone flights within airport ”no-fly zones” have been a problem all around the world. For professional drone companies like Skyshot, getting a UAV activity permit within 5km of an aerodrome is almost impossible. For this reason, Skyshot worked with Flare Dynamics to developed the LIFELINE tethered drone for flights near airports. The LIFELINE-S is certified by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), for use within airport “no-fly zones”.
The aerial mapping project requires us to produce a 3D map of a commercial training airplane stationed next to Changi Airport. The airport handles 7400 flights landing per week, making it the 6th busiest airport in the world. So getting the permit to operate a drone near Changi Airport requires more detailed planning and paperwork.
3D Aerial mapping requires overlapping photos of the subject from the sides, around 45 degrees, and top down, around 90 degrees from the ground. A conventional drone will be able to achieve this effortlessly with the mapping software controlling the drone movement and image acquisition. However, with a tethered drone, the movement of the drone is limited by the tether-line, so the crew has to “walk” with the drone as it flies around the plane for image capturing.
Unlike other tethered drone systems, the LIFELINE doesn't require a generator. This allows the LIFELINE to be portable and compact at 7kg. It can power up a phantom 4 pro for 2.5 hours. The aerial mapping of the commercial aircraft was done within 2 hours of flight, with more than sufficient overlapping images to create a data intensive 3D model.
For more information about LIFELINE, check out www.lifeline-drone.com