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About Us / The beginnings

Stefano, who has a background in video production, wanted to create a system that could take photos from a radio-controlled helicopter. In 2007, he met up with Mario, a helicopter enthusiast, at an airfield. The two men brainstormed possible solutions for obtaining film from an UAS helicopter. Stefano’s background in electronics and mechanical engineering complemented Mario’s scientific training in physics and aeronautical engineering. Stefan’s dream transformed into a real project as a result of these two innovators’ combined capabilities.

Stefano flew helicopters as a hobbyist. Therefore, his helicopter lacked robust mechanics and reliability. Moreover, the helicopter’s piloting technology was mediocre. In particular, the maximum distance the helicopter could cover was not enough to carry out professional missions. In addition, essential practices, such as replicating routes and hovering precision, could not be carried out satisfactorily even by skilled pilots. As a result, it was clear they needed to build an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) based on professional-grade mechanical and electrical devices.

The first step in building this system was to search for an autopilot. Stefano and Mario looked for a blind system - not based on optical or thermal sensors. They needed an autopilot that could maintain control without external references. MicroPilot’s MP2128heli offers an inertial platform with sensors that constantly check the vehicle’s location, speed and direction. Additionally, MP2128heli’s GPS and navigation software is based on waypoints (passage / stopping points), allowing operators to program any autonomous path in three-dimensional space. Moreover, MP2128heli’s high-precision and short-range ultrasound altimeter (AGL), electronic compass, and pressure altimeter were additional features Stefano and Mario required and found in MicroPilot’s MP2128heli.

Furthermore, MP2128heli’s radio-modem allows real-time monitoring at each stage of a programmed flight. A joystick is used to make modifications and manually fly the craft. In fact, all flight operations are handled by on-flight software. This software manages the collaboration of sensors and the physics of flight. This technology interfaces with the user on the ground at the pilot controls (Ground Control Station). The MP2128heli can also manage additional devices, such as gyro-stabilized cameras and their support (gimbal), and various types of sensors and equipment.

The maturity of the MP2128heli autopilot system is due to MicroPilot’s many years of design, production and testing experience. MicroPilot has been in the field of fixed-wing flight for 16 years, making it possible to combine new generation hardware (programmed for different flight physics) with well-established autonomous navigation. Moreover, MicroPilot’s support for precise calibration optimized Helicampro’s overall flight performance. Stefano and Mario relied on integration work based on mathematical models and field testing.

Next, Stefano and Mario attempted to install their new autopilot on radio-controlled model helicopters of different sizes. Unfortunately, the aircrafts were not able to withstand a high degree of mechanical stress. Therefore, safety, possible failures, and recovery became their focus. Stefano and Mario were highly aware of their transition from UAV hobbyists to a much more professional approach to their video system.

Professional aircraft are subject to crucial conditions that are far from ideal. For example, massive vibrations must be reduced to comply with tight tolerances. Stefano and Mario realized they needed to design a helicopter from scratch. With a clear idea of their final product, they designed a helicopter around the MP2128heli, instead of adapting the autopilot to an existing aircraft. The engineers managed the project from beginning to end to better achieve a proper load-sheet and flight range. They kept their attention on important details, such as load requirements, volumes, weights and distribution. Eventually, the name HELICAMPRO (HELIcopter CAMera PROfessional) was chosen to emphasize their dedication to creating a professional level autonomous UAV.
13th – 17th June, 2016 – Eurosatory, Paris
March 2016 - ITEA3 label boosts certification project
January 2016 - Prestigious memberships
May 2015 - The whole fleet is now approved