FQM Australia Nickel and Wingtra Flying High

Published in The Australian Mining Review, January, 2022. 

FQM Australia Nickel and Wingtra Flying High

It wasn’t that long ago that drones were considered something more akin with science fiction or spy movies, however in recent years these Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) have become increasingly important on many resource projects.

For mining companies, the use of drone technology is continuing to expand,  with the technology’s speed and accuracy proving to be significant in acquiring data in almost all parts of a mining operation.

Professionals who adapt drones into their mining operations quickly realise the significant added value they bring to their industry.

Drones in mining can improve the overall efficiency of large mine site and quarry management by providing accurate and comprehensive data detailing site conditions in a very short time.

They can also help ensure this data can be safely produced by on-site workers who have minimal surveying experience, saving costs, time and potentially improved worker safety.

Along with the increasing demand for drone usage in the commercial sector, has come a development race for the creation of even more efficient technologies.

One of the leaders in that area is Swiss company Wingtra, the developer of the most advanced VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) drone for mapping and surveying.

The recently released WingtraOne GEN II’s unique set of features allows its users to minimise flying time and get more work done, be it another project in the field or analysing data at the office, with the Wingtra RPAS up to eight times faster than multi-rotor drones and up to two times faster than standard fixed-wing drones.

WingtraOne can carry a variety of payloads, including multispectral, thermal, and high-resolution 42MP cameras. The high-resolution camera allows one to capture more ground detail with every picture and cover a larger area per flight.

With an onboard high-precision PPK GNSS receiver, users no longer need to lay out ground control points (GCPs).

The WingtraOne’s VTOL feature allows for the safety and convenience of take-off and landing like a multi-rotor, whilst enjoying the flying efficiency of a fixed wing aircraft when flying a mission.

C.R.Kennedy & Company

Melbourne-headquartered technology, innovation and solutions specialist C.R.Kennedy is the exclusive Australian representative for Wingtra and says its unique technology is a game-changer.

“The WingtraOne really is the best of both worlds,” says C.R. Kennedy’s WA RPAS Sales Manager, Graeme Carleton.

“It has the benefits of a fixed-wing drone, which is where it gets its endurance from, but it also can operate from a small footprint.”

According to Graeme, clients regularly complained about the hassle of finding the space to land traditional fixed-wing drones on site, or of the damage traditional fixed-wing drones would often sustain skidding along on their bellies in unforgiving terrain.

“Even after one flight, you can start damaging your drone during a landing. But with the vertical take-off and landing capability of the WingtraOne, you can avoid risking damage to the drone and your camera, but still cover a really large area,” he said.

The combination of sophisticated software and innovative design allow the WingtraOne to autonomously take off and land vertically, meaning that the equipment is also protected from another common hazard – operator error.

To support its valued clients and customers C.R. Kennedy now employs over 260 people across all divisions. All its product specialists, qualified surveyors, support staff and factory trained service technicians can advise on the best solutions and provide customers with the very best equipment for their needs. Customers have support and service from an unmatched national network.

Faster data collection and expanded coverage mean fewer people in the field for less time, lowering the man-hour costs associated with data collection.



Happy customer

Another fan of the Wingtra system is Tim Maw, a Senior Mine Surveyor at FQM Australia Nickel.

“Having used many different RPAS system I have found the Wingtra to be an extremely reliable and durable system. Our sites have challenging conditions, including lots of mud, which makes it hard to operate a fixed wing drone but the Wingtra can land and take off vertical in a small area which allows for easy operation,” Tim recently told Australian Mining Review.

“The Wingtra RPAS can survey large areas very quickly without the need to have many battery changes. Being a VTOL drone, it has the same advantages of a fixed wing aircraft in terms of range and efficiency but without the dangers and hassle of finding an open landing site for a belly land.

“The camera payload that the Wingtra uses (Sony RX1R II) is one of the best cameras for mapping and photogrammetry. It has a very low distortion lens and produces very precise photogrammetry models and aerial imaging easily with the Wingtra flying at 120m.

“The Wingtra is one of the easiest RPAS system to use. The flight planning software is easy to use, and there is a checklist the pilot must complete before taking off. The drone also runs checks on itself before committing to take off.

“Once in the air the flight planning software displays the Wingtra’s status and position within the flight plan clearly and it is very simple to pilot. We have had surveyors with little to no drone flight experience become fully confident and proficient quickly and with little training.”

Whether it’s a mine, highway or an industrial complex, with WingtraOne you can now take on large projects that were previously impossible to map with a drone. And it takes you just a few hours.


Products associated to this article

WingtraOne Gen II PPK RPAS Package
WingtraOne Gen II PPK RPAS Package
View Product Details

Leica Rugby Bonus

Buy a Rugby 610/620/640/640G with a premium receiver & get a bonus li-ion battery pack

View Promo


A simple machine control solution ideal for compact excavators — with a big payoff!

View Promo