FlyH2 has recognised specific needs for its flight control software, not only manage fuel cell systems, but also to direct aircraft over complex grid patterns or close to high value infrastructure with authority.

Skyla autopilot development underway
Skyla Software-In-Loop Simulation

FlyH2 is developing a new and important flight management system, internally, from the ground up. The system will feature two components, the onboard Flight Management System called SkylaFMS and the Ground Control Station component called SkylaCTL.

A typical 130 hectare service area may contain up to 40 different orchards. Planning a single flight over 40 orchards, each with its own grid can be labhorious

One of the challenges faced by FlyH2 is in controlling aircraft during sterile insect technique (SIT) releases over contract orchards. A typical 130 hectare service area may contain up to 40 different orchards. Planning a single flight over 40 different orchards, each with its own grid pattern can be time consuming if undertaken manually. FlyH2 expects the flight plan to change frequently, owing to weather and other constraints. For example, for safety reasons, we may not fly over highly populated orchards, nor over schools, buildings or crowds of people. This makes flight planning a complex exercise.

By implementing our own algorithms within SkylaCTL, we can solve these problems. For example, we have devised smart algorithms that can automatically generate grid-based flight paths as well as devise the shortest route between multiple fields. We added a new flavour to the classical Travelling Salesman Problem, solving this problem in a fraction of the time required by a brute-force-search algorithm.

The on-board SkylaFMS component of the system is being specifically developed to control UA Alpha’s complex fuel cell systems – a necessary step in our vision to build the world’s most reliable fuel cell powered unmanned aircraft.

Mark van Wyk

Mark van Wyk is a co-founder of FlyH2 Aerospace. He holds a Private Pilot License (PPL), RPAS Remote Pilot License and for fun, a Hang Glider Pilots License too. Mark’s background includes 20 years experience in systems architecture, analysis and enterprise software development. He is the author of the FlyH2 Skyla Flight Management System. Mark is a passionate environmentalist, hydrogen fuel cell expert and electronics hobbyist.