Musco lapis volutus haud obducitur
‘‘A rolling stone is not covered with moss’’ – this is a common proverb appeared in Esrasmus’ collection of Latin proverbs – Adagia, 1508. One interpretation of this sentence is that those who keep moving are not influenced by negative thinking but always filled with fresh ideas and creativity, and that is precisely what I have been experiencing through a short period of time in internship at Flyscan Barcelona.
FlyscanBCN is a startup founded at the beginning of 2013 by a group of professionals in aviation and telecommunication engineering. The founders of the company have a vision to design, produce and innovate systems and solutions to offer services by means of drones. Since my incorporation in FlyscanBCN in November 2017, I have witnessed this vision to be deployed successfully through a large variety of projects, some of which I am involved in personally.
The first and also the main project going on at FlyscanBCN is about redesigning a flight controller to be used in heavy-mass drone. By heavy-mass, we are talking about really heavy professional drone of MTOM (maximum takeoff mass) more than 450kg. One needn’t to be expert in drones to realize that an unmanned aircraft of such size should be really huge and, if exists for civil application, would cost a lot of money. The solution at FlyscanBCN is to test the flight controller on a small aircraft, specifically a biplace experimental aircraft named Rutan Long-EZ. My task in this project is to design and implement the connections between the actuators and the flight controller to control the aircraft and it turned out that my background in airspace engineering becomes very helpful. By now, I have completed the first step of r
edesign the instrument panel of the aircraft. Although there is a lot to learn, working with the Rutan Long-EZ is genuinely fascinating. Besides, the best thing in this project is probably its leader who is also one of FlyscanBCN’s cofounder and the pilot of Rutan Long-EZ aircraft, Marcel Corominas. He has developed a passion to drones since his childhood; and later while becoming flight instructor and airline pilot, he continues devoting to his affection towards drones at FlyscanBCN. Marcel not only taught me many practical technical knowledge but also a complete dedication to the job.
While running the heavy-mass drone project, FlyscanBCN is also carrying on another project entitled ARSI, standing for Aerial Robot for Sewer Inspection. This project, making part of the ECHORD++ program (European Coordination Hub for Open Robotics Development), is a collaboration of European firms in a consortium of which FlyscanBCN is a core member. In this project, a MAV (micro aerial vehicle), i.e. a small drone, equipped with autonomous navigation sensors will be used to inspect the pipelines and galleries in the sewer network of big cities. I arrived FlyscanBCN when the project is completing its phase II, during which all the aspects of the solution is developed and validated. I was with FlyscanBCN on the day of assessment of the second phrase and have seen the current platform working smoothly, taking valuable information for inspection of the sewers under the area of El Born in Barcelona.
Yet we can always improve. On the third phrase of the project, FlyscanBCN will work on raising the lift capacity and on increasing the autonomy of the platform. I will have the opportunity to be a part of this job and work alongside with Aleix Cortada, another cofounder of FlyscanBCN and who is equally talented and devoting. An inspiring person with plenty of enthusiasm, Aleix was also my flight instructor when I took lessons of drone pilot certificate. I can still remember how I should control my feelings when piloting a drone, even in emergency situations.
A part from the two projects mentioned previously, I have the chance to take part in different activities of the company. One day, I accompanied Marcel and Aleix to Andorra to make aerial videos of some via ferratas – climbing routes on the mountain as a drone service for FlyscanBCN client. The beauty of the landscape helped us to complete the mission with a lot of amusement. At the moment I am writing this article, FlyscanBCN is collaborating with InDronePark Barcelona to build an indoor drone racing stadium in Hospitalet of Barcelona. Perhaps, the students of the Master’s degree in Applications and Technologies for Unmanned Aircraft Systems of UPC will be among the first visitors of this drone park when it is finished!
Tran Viet Vu