Two small unmanned aerial vehicles, Ant-Plane 6 and Ant-Plane 3, were assembled using parts and technologies developed for model airplanes. The aerial vehicles were scheduled to conduct aero magnetic and photographic surveys of the Bransfield Basin, from a takeoff runway at Marsh Airfield on the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica, during January 2011. However, the scheduled surveys were not conducted on account of poor weather. Research was later conducted on a glacier, using a takeoff runway at St. Kliment Ohridski Base, Livingston Island, during December 2011. A flight from St. Kliment Ohridski Base to Deception Island yielded satisfactory results; the total distance of 302.4 km was traversed in 3 h 7 min (3;07). On this flight, aeromagnetic and aerial photographic data were obtained from an altitude of 780 m for a 9 ×18 km area on the northern half of Deception Island. Aerial photographs of Deception Island and South Bay showed the distributions of glaciers and their crevasses. The Ant-Plane flew over the Antarctic horizon and surveyed above Deception Island. That was the successful venture of this kind, demonstrating that airborne surveys by Ant-Planes are useful for Antarctic research investigations. Airborne surveys provide a safe and economical approach to data acquisition as compared with manned aerial operations.
|Number of pages||33|
|Publication status||Published - 2013 Jul|