Operation Last-Mile: Critical Drone Delivery Testing Report

● Controller Settings ○ Gain: Based on our delivery experience with the Inspire 2 drone, we instructed the pilots at orientation to adjust the automatic controller gain to 80% versus 100% so that the aircraft did not overcorrect oscillations caused by the payload tether being attached. A couple of pilots suggested eliminating that adjustment to allow a quicker response to the drone since we were flying near obstacles. It was suggested to use “tripod mode” only when landing as a compromise. A pilot said he tried that on the windiest day and it hampered handling. So this all needs to be tested, possibly with a multiple drop test just staying over the target and dropping multiple times with different settings. ○ Grid: It is recommended that the screen grid be turned on to help pilots know where the center of the screen is. ○ Nadir Lock: It is recommended that the Inspire 2 camera be set to lock its travel to prevent going beyond nadir (straight down). It is also recommended to instruct the pilots to set their C1 or C2 switch at the bottom of the controller to be a preset nadir/horizon toggle. This will allow the pilot to quickly change from looking at the surroundings to looking down at the payload/target and then back again. ● Personal Protection Equipment: ​ VO’s near the drop target should be wearing personal protective equipment or PPE (vest and helmet). We didn’t fly over people but if the VO’s are in proximity of the drop zone, they should be wearing PPE. We had one instance where, for sake of speed, the LoadMaster instructed the pilot to hover to allow connection of the next tether. This was an unwise operating practice that we prohibited from that point forward. We should discuss if the RPIC and LoadMaster should also wear protective gear. ● Chem Lights or Brighter Drone Down-Lights: ​ The targets were difficult for the RPIC to acquire at night. A number of pilots suggested having the VO’s drop chemical lights on the targets or using brighter downward-facing lights on the drones. ● Canopies for Pilot Teams: ​ We had several rain squalls that interrupted flight operations with windy conditions that threatened to damage the canopies. Future events would include planning for better securing the canopies. It was noted that the Blue Team used surplus delivery bags and sand payload bags to hang weighted bags on their canopy to improve stability in the wind. ● Parabolic Antenna: ​ It was suggested we test antennas that would enhance controllers to aircraft signal integrity. ● Audio Recording in Proximity of Controller: ​ It was suggested we investigate software that records the audio in the immediate vicinity of the aircraft controller. We utilized AirData software to examine the log files to recreate the flights but we did not have audio recordings.

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