GPS Flight Data Logging

Data Logging – What

It is now a requirement to have a GPS data logger fitted to every over 25kg model aircraft. You have several options on how to log the data, either logged in the aircraft or sent back to the transmitter by telemetry for logging there.

What needs needs to be logged is in the Over 25kg design requirements-

DR‐LMA‐5400 Flight data recorder
The UAS must be fitted with a flight data recording system that must ensure accurate and intelligible recording of the GPS time/ date and the speed and 3‐dimensional position of the UA every 2 seconds.

Data Logging – How

Data can be logged onboard the aircraft with a standalone unit or in a Powerbox unit or similar if it will record the data and allow it to be extracted later.

Most radio manufacturers have GPS telemetry units that can send the data back to the transmitter, and most currently available transmitters can log to an SD card, but do check first.

The logging device does not need to be permanently fitted to the aircraft, but every time the aircraft flies it must have the logger fitted and working.

Standalone Data Loggers 
Jet Accessories have for sale a very reasonably priced standalone onboard data logger that will need nothing more than receiver power to automatically log every flight to a micro SD card, available here.

Nexus Modes also have for sale a very reasonably priced standalone onboard data logger, available here.

If you fancy getting your hands slightly dirty, below are two examples of simple GPS units that just need a little bit of soldering. Examples of both of these units have been made, and it can be confirmed that they work and meet the minimum requirement.

Data Logging – DIY

Standalone GPS Data Logger
RC Groups Description Here
This uses a BN-220 GPS unit with a GY-Openlog data logger. It’s recommended to add a small voltage regulator (AMS1117-5.5V) to prevent any damage from a fully charged LiFe batery when the logger is plugged into a spare receiver port for power.

GPS Telemetry Unit
OpenX Sensor Description Here
This uses the same BN-220 GPS unit with a small Arduino loaded with he OpenX Sensor telemetry software. This allows the flight data to be seen and logged on the transmitter.

All the parts for both the units above can be found in the UK on AiiExpress, Banggood, eBay or Amazon.

Data Logging – Then What

Log Retention
There’s no specific requirement for how long logs need to be kept after each flight. If a log is needed after a flight, it will be pretty obvious at the time.

Data Formats
The data just needs to be able to be extracted from where it is logged and analysed to give the minimum required data, it does not need to be in any specific format.

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