Waypoint

Should You Buy a Fixed Wing or Rotary Drone?

When looking to purchase a professional drone, one of the key buying decisions you’ll need to make is whether to go for a fixed wing drone (sometimes referred to as a flying wing) or a heli-style rotary system, such as a quadcopter or multicopter.

So, how should you decide? Which UAV will be the perfect fit for your business? The answer – as is often the case when buying expensive kit – is that it depends.

It depends mainly on how you plan to employ your drone.

  • What kind of areas or structures are you looking to document?
  • What object resolutions are you aiming to achieve?
  • What size areas will you typically want to cover?
  • What are the weather conditions likely to be?
  • How much room will there be on-site in which to land safely?

The infographic below explains the core differences between what a fixed wing drone (such as the eBee) and a rotary UAV (such as the albris) have to offer. In essence, these differences are largely the same as with full-sized aircraft (the coverage difference, for example, being the reason you probably don’t fly off on vacation aboard a helicopter!).

Fixed Wing vs Rotary Drones

Fixed Wing Drone Rotary UAV Compare
(Click to expand image.)

Moving on from the starter guide above, the table below gives a real-life senseFly-specific example. It compares the key specifications of our eBee and albris UAVs; the eBee is senseFly’s popular fixed-wing mapping drone, the albris is our intelligent quadcopter for inspection and close mapping applications.

senseFly eBee vs senseFly albris

Fixed Wing Rotary Drone UAV UAS Compare
(Click to expand image.)

Explore our full eBee/albris comparison page.

9 Comments

  1. Anthony

    14.10.2015 - 18:26
    Reply

    Excellent

  2. Jerome Lofters

    18.10.2015 - 01:31
    Reply

    The ebee is the king of mapping!
    Processing is long and tedious though but most of it is done while you are sleeping.
    A client recently requested a topo of a 80 acre plot of land at 6am to make a decision to purchase at 10pm. Wanted to see if the topography of the land would suit the construction of a cement plant. Took us 2 hours to reach the site and enroute all planning was done. Completed the flying with our ebee using VRS in under one hour. Left the site and started back on our journey to the office. While on our way we started proessing the job. Since most of the processing is done by the software with minimal user interferance we stoped at a few bars on the way. The stops were fun. While on the way back to the office the processing was completed and the contour map completed. At our last bar stop we were able to send the required iformation to the client, in time for his meeting. Now, was that awesome or what? You decide.
    By the way, this was in Jamaica

  3. Elana

    17.11.2015 - 14:04
    Reply

    Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening.
    I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this information together.
    I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both
    reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

  4. Harry Huang

    27.11.2015 - 09:38
    Reply

    I think it is somewhat misleading in your statement that eBee is able to cover 12 KM square in a single flight @ 30 cm GSD. You will need to fly to more than 1000 meter ATO; in simulation it takes 5 minutes to climb to that altitude with 50% battery capacity left. It won’t be able to cover the full 12 KM square area at all.At most 3-4 square km in my experiment. I wonder how can you achieve that.

    • senseFly

      27.11.2015 - 10:31
      Reply

      Hi Harry,

      This figure is obviously a maximum figure, achievable only in optimal conditions. It was calculated based on the following test conditions: GSD of 30 cm (11.8 in) per pixel, no wind, moderate weather temp. (18 C/64.4 F), new fully charged battery, flight altitude of 1,000 m (3,280 ft) above ground & take off at approx. sea level, with take off point in centre of desired coverage area.

      Hope that’s helpful.

  5. Martin Lavadenz

    22.02.2017 - 15:14
    Reply

    Hello, quick question. Regarding the Ebee Plus, what´s the maximum coverage it can achieve?

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