Launching and landing a fixed wing drone is challenging, particularly in poor weather or if there are obstacles in the area. Many drones are designed to handle very heavy landings, or use parachutes (which have their own shortcomings of reliability and positional accuracy). Launching often requires large and heavy catapults.
As a part of the Halo UAV development, we have created LaRS – a launch and retrieval system for VTOL aircraft. For Halo, it catches the aircraft while it’s still in its rotational flight mode. But it can also be used to increase the reliability of landing for more traditional VTOL fixed-wing UAVs, multirotors and helicopters.
Particularly useful in high-wind environments, and for launching and landing on moving or rocking vehicles, LaRS will compensate for inaccurate landing trajectories in gusts. Catching the aircraft with a secure mechanical connection, LaRS can stop rotorcraft from sliding around a moving or rocking deck, and it mitigates the risk of tail-sitters toppling over before launch and after landing.