Description: Fixed wing RPA systems consist of a rigid wing that has a predetermined aerofoil which make flight capable by generating lift caused by the RPA’s forward airspeed. This airspeed is generated by forward thrust usually by the means of a propeller being turned by an internal combustion engine or electric motor.
- Non complex maintenance and repair
- Longer flight durations and higher speeds
- Cover larger survey areas
- Requirement for runways for launching and landing
- Must always maintain forward motion to sustain lift
- Cannot safely operate in close proximity to structures
Rotary (multiple or single propeller)
Description: Rotary RPA Systems consist of rotor blades that revolve around a fixed mast. Rotary RPA’s also come in wide range of setups consisting of a minimum of one rotor (helicopter), 3 rotors (tricopter), 4 rotors (quadcopter), 6 rotor (hexacopter), and 8 rotors (octocopter). More unusual setups like the X8 consist of a quadcopter with twin motors on each arm. Again each setup has their own unique characteristic advantages and disadvantages.
- Constant forward motion is not required (capable of hovering)
- Vertical take-off and landing
- Ease of navigation in all directions
- Excellent control and stability. Ideal for close counter inspections
- Redundancy within the system i.e. can still maintain control if multiple motors malfunctions.
- Complicated maintenance and repair processes.
- Shorter flight durations
- Lower speeds and shorter flight ranges
- Increased number of flights required to survey large areas