Flight Checklist

Ensure proper sensor mounting and hardware setup.

  • The pitch of a multi-rotor aircraft in forward flight is a function of air speed. The AIS and field sensors must be mounted at an angle to compensate for forward pitch, so that the field sensor looks directly downward and the AIS looks directly upward.
  • Clean any dirt from the sensor window (remove the protective film from the sensor window if you have not already done so). It is advantageous to take off and land on some sort of landing pad: e.g. a heavy canvas, plastic sheet, plywood, or otherwise to prevent dirt from blowing up onto the sensor window.
  • Ensure the Field and AIS sensors are mounted in accordance with their mounting guide, and connected via the AIS cable, and all wires are secured to prevent contact with propeller blades.
  • Ensure the SD card is inserted in the field sensor.

IMPORTANT - Do not insert or remove the SD card while the sensor is turned on. This will cause the SD card checks to be bypassed and the improper saving of data resulting in possible sensor failure.

Check the weather conditions of the area you intend to fly.

  • Ideal conditions for data collection are sunny or overcast skies (uniform lighting conditions), within a few hours of solar noon.
  • SlantRange sensors are not designed to be waterproof; do not fly in the rain!
  • Given the hard mount, sensor orientation is at the mercy of aircraft orientation: in gusting conditions, fly with more overlap (25-40%) to ensure complete coverage in the midst of aircraft attitude (pitch, roll, yaw) variation.
  • If it is too dark to see your shadow, it is likely too dark to collect high quality data. The sensor is measuring the interaction of plants with sunlight; darker conditions result in longer sensor exposure times, and thus slower flight speed to prevent image blur. If flying in overcast or darker conditions, decrease flight speed to compensate, especially if flying at low altitude or collecting population data.

Do not fly missions by hand. Program your mission using mission planning software.

  • For best results, we recommend flights with at least 6 minutes worth of in-flight data. SlantRange systems are optimized for collecting large amounts of data quickly and efficiently. With small area coverage flights that have less than around 500 images, some data processing steps are not optimized.
  • Please note the industry standard quadcopters are less stable at speeds above 12 m/s. Do not exceed this speed to insure a quality data collection.
  • Refer to the user guide section Mission Planning to determine flight altitude and velocity settings that will generate data products tailored to your crops in their current growth stage. For example from the Flight Plan by BTC app, if flying a cornfield in a population stage with plants that are 5 cm x 2 cm the recommended flight parameters look like:



  • The sensor must fly forward throughout the data collection ("lawnmower" pattern). Make sure the aircraft is programmed to turn 180 degrees at the end of each flight leg. Do not fly forward on one pass, crab to one side, then fly backward on the next pass.
  • Plan flight legs to extend sllghtly beyond the edges of the field you are mapping so your aircraft has time to reorient to the new heading, accelerate to its prescribed speed, and level off for a straight and stable flight leg before flying over the area of interest. (The pitch and roll of the aircraft can make images taken during turns unusable for map generation.)

Make sure your aircraft is programmed to fly above power lines, trees, or other obstacles at the edges of the field!

Turn on the sensor

  • After the SD card check is successful, the yellow light will begin to blink indicating pre-flight checks are being performed. Once the checks are complete solid green, yellow, and red lights will appear on the AIS.
  • If this is your first time using the sensor, or the sensor is over 500 miles away from the location of its previous calibration, or you have the sensor mounted on a new aircraft or on an aircraft with new hardware, use the SlantRange Toolbox app to calibrate the sensor compass.

Starting and stopping data

  • SlantRange sensors begin collecting data after the user presses the AIS button
  • As soon as power is connected, the sensor will begin bootup. Cycling green, red, and yellow lights will be displayed on the AIS. (If a red light is displayed on the AIS, there is a memory card error. Use the SlantRange Toolbox to reformat)
  • After a few seconds, the AIS lights will turn to solid green, yellow, and red indicating successful bootup.
  • Press the AIS button to begin the data collection. Make sure the AIS is not shaded during bootup and has a clear view of the sky.
  • When the green light is flashing, the system is collecting data. Wait for the system to start collecting data before taking off.
  • Press the AIS button upon landing to complete a data collection. The sensor will return to standby mode, showing solid green, yellow, and red lights on the AIS.

During Flight

  • Observe the aircraft during flight ensuring that it is flying as expected.
  • Verify the aircraft is turning after each leg and flying forward.

Post Flight

  • Upon landing, press button on the AIS sensor and hold until light turns yellow.
  • Wait for green, yellow, and red lights to appear, indicating data capture have been completed. During this time the cameras are stopping capture and log files are being created.

Shutdown and data check.

  • Remove power from the sensor, remove the memory card from the sensor and insert into the computer. Check the 'Quick Look or Coverage' map to verify completed data collection