The automations are the mechanisms used to perform an action when some event is triggered. These actions could be a change from one phase to another, taking a photo, dropping a payload and so on. In this section, the conventional automations used in a flight of the Mentor airplane will be detailed.
The first automations to be created are the ones linked to the buttons of Veronte Panel. When clicking one of these buttons the phase is changed to the one shown on the button label.
Normally, besides the button event, a safety condition is added to the automation, which consists on letting only the system to change to a phase when being in a certain set of phases. For example, only change to cruise when being in climbing or change to landing when being in cruise or climbing. It is only necessary to create an “AND” condition with the phases to change from. In the previous figure, the automation is the change to takeoff when clicking on Veronte panel, being on Standby. This process is repeated for the rest of phases.
Takeoff to Climb
The change from the take off to the climbing phase occurs when the IAS of Mentor on the runway is greater than 8 m/s.
Climbing to Cruise
When a certain altitude is reached, Mentor changes to the “Cruise” phase where it starts to follow the path determined by the user. As a safety condition, the change will only happen when having a speed greater than 6 meters per second.
When the radio connection from the ground station to Mentor is lost, the aircraft is forced to change to auto mode and land.
When the value of the flag that evaluates the TX or RX error (“TX Packet Error Rate (on board”) has a value greater than 0.8, being the aircraft in climb or cruise phases, it is forced to land. The value 0.8 means that 80 percent of the packets send trough the radio link have been lost.
When the battery is below a certain level (15.2 Volts in this case), and the aircraft is in climb or cruise, it is automatically commanded to land.
Landing to Flare
The change from the landing to flare phase is triggered when the aircraft is above the runway and about to touch the ground. This idea is implemented with a set of three events:
- AGL: the aircraft is below a certain altitude, in this case, 8 meters.
- Inside Polygon: Mentor enters in a polygon defined in the map on the runway head.
- Landing Phase: the aircraft is landing phase.
When these events are fulfilled, Mentor enters in the Flare phase and lands.
This automation changes the control mode according to the command sent by the radio controller.
In this case, the channel that controls the mode is the 8, so according to its value the mode is changed. With an event of type “Variable” the automation is defined. The process is the same for the manual mode, but when the r8 variable has a value lower than 0.25.