FieldHawk aUAS is based on open source components and software, with proprietary software written on top to manage special equipment and navigation/control needs of this particular platform.
As such, we are looking for industry and educational system partners to help accelerate the process of getting this product to market and transform the aerial application industry into a safer, cleaner, and more efficient one. We are opening dialog with agricultural university faculties and notable industry suppliers of flight control systems and electric propulsion.
In starting this project, part of our goal (aside from converting current agro-pilots into FieldHawk operators and saving up to 10 pilots’ lives annually in the process) is to stop the burning of fossil fuels that is not doing any good. No one here is a ‘blue sky’ environmentalist trying to stop all fossil fuel use, but wasteful use of energy does no good for anyone, and if our goal is to have a productive agricultural sector in the United States, then it is our duty to use the best means to accomplish the job or aerial application.
So, how much fuel is being burned today? There are about 5,000 agricultural aircraft in the United States, flying somewhere around 500 hours annually. Most of these are turboprops burning Jet-A, the rest piston engines burning 100LL. 50 gallons per hour is an average figure for fuel burn in most of these aircraft, so the total number of gallons of fuel burned annually comes out to a whopping 125 Million Gallons!
So are we just trying to save 125M gallons of fuel annually? Well, not really – we are saving the operators of these planes 50 gallons worth of fuel per hour, replacing the roughly $125/hr in the fuel they are burning with $8 or so in electricity (at current residential prices). We haven’t even mentioned that renewable sources of electricity like wind, hydro,
It has been noted that most of the contract flying services are operating on something like an 18% profit margin, so if we can save the operator over $100/hr in operating costs, that means that we can make their business more profitable. How much more profitable? Let’s find out – we will contact flying services personally and ask them to comment on this and other posts as we bring this flying platform to them and see what they think. Stay tuned!