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Frontiers September 2016 Issue

in motor speed controls and power systems. Rotor adjustments were made to increase lift and better match ScanEagle’s propulsion. Possible failures in the multi-copters were singled out, addressing safety concerns. “Big airplanes have lots of redundant systems,” said Raul Ramos-Schulze, flares electrical engineer. “We’re trying to merge hobbyist design with commercial flight that leads to safety and robustness and reliability.” flares uses a one-gear transmission because it’s in the air only briefly, at the beginning and end of each ScanEagle flight. Engineers continue to develop with different types of autopilot, attempting to lower cost, according to Ramos-Schulze. While Insitu pursues Federal Aviation Administration certification over the next year to operate the multi-copter, the company is setting up classes and training simulators in a remodeled school in nearby White Salmon, Wash. Operators and maintenance technicians will take separate courses, comparable to what is offered for ScanEagle, according to Insitu. Technical writers are creating instructional manuals at the same site. “It’s really exciting that we get to be at the forefront of the flares program,” said Kate Pinner, Insitu senior instructional design specialist, who has created the classroom setting. “It’s really groundbreaking and motivating to know it’s going to change the way the UAS industry is moving. It’s that pivot point.” Testing is conducted more than an hour’s drive away in an Oregon desert that offers restricted airspace and plenty of privacy. flares and ScanEagle are disassembled and transported in plastic cases, using a single truck. While Insitu builds its unmanned aerial systems in the relative quiet of the Columbia River Gorge, its products have received mainstream exposure. A Hollywood film starring Tom Hanks demonstrated the unique capabilities of ScanEagle in a depiction of an international piracy incident that involved a U.S. cargo ship and the rescue of its captain from pirates. flares is the next innovative SEPTEMBER 2016 | 37


Frontiers September 2016 Issue
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