Safety parachute for BLK2FLY drone (Leica Geosystems)

Released in 2022, the BLK2FLY drone created by LEICA, is an autonomous flying laser scanner with advanced obstacle avoidance. It records exteriors of buildings, structures and environments to create 3D point clouds during its flight. Dronavia has had the pleasure of collaborating with Leica, developing a bespoke emergency parachute system.

The context

After finalising the development of the BLK2FLY drone in 2022, Leica’s project managers quickly contacted Dronavia for advice on protecting their drone and getting it approved.

As Europe’s leading supplier of drone safety accessories, Dronavia quickly identified the importance of securing the BLK2FLY drone. Firstly, to avoid significant financial loss and to protect the drone itself. Secondly, to avoid accidents with third parties, by limiting the energy on impact with the ground in case of partial or total loss of control of the drone. Thirdly, to be able to homologate the drone according to the French regulations established by the DGAC.

Indeed, the BLK2FLY drone can scan buildings located in city centres or over populated areas, where the S3 regulation requires the use of a rescue parachute, in order to anticipate a partial or total loss of control of the drone. The S3 scenario is the only French scenario that allows remote pilots to fly in inhabited or sensitive areas and in built-up areas for drones weighing between 2 and 8 kilos.

The development

Based on their experience, Dronavia engineers were able to quickly propose a 100% customised emergency parachute solution for the BLK2FLY drone that met the specifications set by the manufacturer Leica. A prototype was created and numerous flight and ground tests were carried out to test the reliability of the parachute. After several meetings and slight modifications, Dronavia officially launched the series of tests imposed by the DGAC to approve the parachute system for the S3 scenario. A few weeks later, the BLK2FLY UAV is officially approved by the DGAC.

“We have set ourselves high standards in our desire to offer professional pilots safety systems that can be installed and dismantled by themselves, but are also light enough to offer optimum flight performance. The BLK2FLY parachute system is the culmination of development, innovation and testing. I’m always happy when we get approval – it’s a reward!”

Floriant Amet

Mechanical engineer, Dronavia

The features

Dronavia relied on its experience and on its existing parachute systems, with the aim of offering the best technological bricks and performances compatible with the flight missions of UAV telepilots. Another important aspect of the development was the desire to make the installation and transport of the parachute as simple as possible.

Weighing only 210 grams, the parachute can be assembled and disassembled in a few seconds by the telepilot himself. A battery life of 5 hours for the parachute and 10 hours for the remote control enables the telepilot to carry out long flight missions. The remote release has a range of 1500 metres (a 10 kilometre release option is available). The CO2 ejection system allows a triggering time of a few thousandths of a second. The 4 gram CO2 cartridge allows professional pilots to travel easily by plane. The parachute can remain attached to the drone and be carried directly in the Leica fly case.

On the Zéphyr BLK2FLY parachute system, the fall speed for a mass of 3.1 KG is only 4.4 m/s, which means an impact energy of only 30 Joules, much lower than the maximum 69 Joules allowed in France. A 4-gram cartridge is used on this system.

A very enriching collaboration and exchange for a parachute system designed and developed to measure. We thank the LEICA team for their confidence.

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