Flying at high altitudes (>2500 m above mean sea level)

Flying at altitudes above 2500 m AMSL is now supported with the high-altitude propellers, which enable take-off at heights up to 4800 m AMSL.

When to use high-altitude propellers

With the normal propellers, you can take off up to 2500 m (8200 ft) AMSL. For flying higher, you need the high-altitude propellers, which allow taking off at altitudes up to 4800 m (15.700 ft) AMSL and flying at altitudes up to 5000 m (16400 ft) AMSL.

High-altitude propellers can only be used from a home location above 2000 m. Normal propellers can only be used from a home location below 2500 m. Between 2000 m and 2500 m, both types of propellers can be used.

Taking off with normal propellers above 2500 m AMSL is not possible.

What are high-altitude propellers?

High-altitude propellers are optimized for the thin air of high altitudes (2000 to 5000 m). They come in pairs and are mounted as replacements to normal propellers, using the same washers and nuts. For step-by-step instructions on how to replace the propellers, read the article Service: propellers.

You can differentiate between normal and high-altitude propellers by the location of the color label.

For the normal propellers the label in on the top:

normal_prop

For the high altitude propellers it is on the side:

HAP_prop

How to fly at high altitudes

In WingtraPilot you will need to select the type of propellers you are using. 

WIP_props_select

Create the flight plan as it is explained in the article Create a new flight plan. If the home point is above 2500 m you have to mount your high-altitude propellers. For any home point higher than 2000 m, there will be a pop-up prompting you to select the type of propellers in use. For safety reasons, make sure the correct type is selected. 

HAP_WIP

The high-altitude propellers require specific flight control parameters. Provide the correct answer to the prompt. Flying with the normal propellers within the defined high-altitude parameters is not safe.

Flight behavior and coverage

Due to the lower air density at higher altitudes, WingtraOne flies faster with the high-altitude propellers. Although the flight time will be reduced, the drone will still be able to cover large areas. More specifically, you should expect the following decrease in the coverage when flying at high altitudes:

  • 3000 m --> 75% of the area covered at 500 m 
  • 4000 m --> 60% of the area covered at 500 m 
  • 5000 m --> 40% of the area covered at 500 m

More information regarding  coverage at 500 m can be found in the Technical specifications.

Another important note: due to the increased flight speed, there are some limitations to the best resolution that can be achieved. The maximum frontal overlap for a given GSD and survey altitude, which ensures that there will not be missing triggers in a flight, is decreasing. Therefore, the lowest resolution that can be achieved in order to successfully map an area increases. More specifically, the lowest resolution that can be achieved with the Sony RX1RII camera at altitudes above 2500 m is 1.0 cm/0.4 in/ pixel, and with the Sony QX1 camera is 2.5 cm/1 in/pixel, which correspond to flight height of 78 m and 88 m respectively.