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Visionmap MIST sensor demo project

Airborne Scientific was contracted to provide a demo pod and engineering support for  deployment of a VisionMap MIST sensor on a University owned Cessna 180 aircraft for the National Geospatial Agency. The project  partners consisted of a midwestern university aviation department with a stock Cessna 180 and pilot,  the Visionmap company crew and MIST sensor, Airborne Scientific with a Pod and engineering support, and the NGA.  The MIST sensor is the sibling of the Visionmap A3 sensor, both of which collect wide swaths at high resolution.  http://visionmapsystems.com

CessnaCam Pod and MIST Installed

Taxiing the aircraft with CessnaCam prior to first flight.

 In order to fit and configure the unique sensor to the pod, a modified CessnaCam Pod baseplate needed to be fabricated and approved. Normally the standard CessnaCam pod can be used without any modification or supplemental FAA approval for any of the C172, C182, C180, or C170 aircraft of any year, but the nature of the scanning head and size of the VIsionMap MIST sensor necessitated a custom baseplate for mounting the sensor. Airborne Scientific provided FAA 8710 approval from an FAA designated engineering representative (DER) for the modified pod for the demo aircraft, and Visionmap  built the custom baseplate to mount the sensor.

The team met on a Monday morning prepared to spend 2 to 3 days to get everything working and flying. Airborne Scientific spent about 20 minutes test fitting up the pod without sensor onto the aircraft, confirming correct cable lengths and that no antenna obstruction issues would present themselves, so that the fully configured pod and sensor would mount seamlessly. Once the pod was test fitted and removed, the MIST sensor was mounted onto the custom baseplate, and the sensor and baseplate installed on the CessnaCam Pod.   After confirming fit and routing the sensor cabling into the pod, the complete system was slid under the plane, the wiring was routed into the cabin through existing inspection holes, and the pod was hung and installed. Total time to fit the sensor into the pod and the pod onto the plane for a complete initial custom installation was only a couple of hours. Any subsequent removals or installations would now only take 15 to 30 minutes complete.

MIST sensor being configured for Pod

Bench fitting MIST sensor (black) into Pod (white with blank baseplate)

Test Fitting CessnaCam Pod to Airframe

Test fitting the empty CessnaCam pod onto the airframe.