Several of us in the company are avid model airplane enthusiasts, actively flying various types of models. We have been debating the merits of fixed wing “flying wings” versus gliders. Which of these is the better mapping platform? In fact, I covered this topic from a stability point of view in a recent “Random Points” column in LIDAR News.
I thought we might look at these attributes in a tabular form for this comparison. We will assume that we have a purpose-built sUAS for both categories (wing, glider) aimed at precision aerial mapping. In the table below, 0 means awful whereas 10 means it does not get any better! As a point of reference, an excellent example of a mapping wing is the eBee from SenseFly. We do not know of a good example for a commercially available glider so we will use our experiences with the Skywalker platform using 3D Robotics components and APM software. Our operating scenario is a surveyor hauling the equipment to different sites for projects such as volumetric analysis and local area mapping.