This year, Professor Len Gillman, Head of School, has gone down to Antarctica, taking with him two modified Fox UAVs.  No doubt, Len will bring back lots of photographs and reports of the data collecting activities in the Taylor Valley.

The modifications to the Fox include battery upgrades for longer endurance and built-in redundancy in the control surface servos.  Failure of one elevon servo could cause the loss of the aircraft, or at least, deployment of the emergency parachute.  That would require a retrieve crew to find and recover the aircraft.  The last known position of the aircraft could be recovered from the GCS data log, but retrieval of the aircraft could involve a significant hike over the relatively difficult terrain.

Skycam UAV has split the elevons and fitted servos to each half, ensuring that a single failure would not cause the loss of the aircraft or an aborted mission.

A new multispectral camera has also been added to the sensor suite.  Similar to the vegetation stress camera, this unit can collect images in four bands, including infra-red.

In preparation for his deployment, Len spent some time with Skycam UAV personnel, working on the  systems and flying the Fox in D522, our regular test flying area in the Wairarapa.

Prof. Len Gillman and Dr. Tim Brooks during training in D522