Knowledge Base Presented By Altavian “Why Composite Materials Matter For Drones”

“You’re our favorite second drone.” We hear this all the time from our customers/converts from foam-constructed drones. Foam drones or adapted consumer drones are a common entry point for commercial drone operators. Prior to switching to the Nova F7200, these operators using foam drones were plagued with restrictions based on wind and weather. Wind gusts would bounce their foamie around mid-flight creating gaps in their data. Wind might also knock a foam drone clear out of the sky into a post or tree. The energy from such an impact would be absorbed into the foam and then deform or break major structural components. This would require significant repair, if not an outright replacement, of the drone.

The result is that these operators either had to wait for a day with perfect wind conditions OR potentially waste time having to fly the mission multiple times to cover gaps in the data while also risking a costly replacement of their drone. Bottom line: time and money were being lost hand over fist.

We built the Nova out of composite materials which gives us three little-known advantages over our foam-based counterparts.


So, what’s making operators of the Nova say it’s their “favorite second drone”? In short, the restrictions of many drones don’t really apply to the Nova. This goes back to how the Nova was designed: emphasizing aerospace design and materials.

The Nova is built with composite materials – carbon fiber, Kevlar, and fiber glass – which give it mass. Mass equates to wind penetration. Even in winds up to 30 mph, the Nova can maintain a smooth profile in flight and is doesn’t suffer from significant gaps in data even while crabbing at 45 degrees.

Curious about crabbing and data? Learn about it in this article that outlines the wind’s effects on drone flights.

The Nova’s size and mass also allows it to carry large DSLR cameras, rather than point-and-shoot cameras, which can capture high quality data at greater altitudes and speed. Point-and-shoot cameras can be effective in specific circumstances, but if you want the best data, you really should use DSLR cameras (Why use DSLR over Point-and-Shoot Part 1).


The other part of the Nova that can get overlooked is its traditional control surfaces. What does that mean? Its ailerons, flaps, and v-tail design protects you from cascading failures. If a servo goes out in a wing tip, the plane is still capable of flying because of the aeronautical design and control surfaces. The flaps make launch and landing easy. The v-tails provide redundant flight control. These control surfaces act as your safety net for preventing drone accidents.


The Nova mitigates impacts through its durable materials. Composite materials hold up much better to every day wear-and-tear than foam. If you want something to last, you don’t buy the foam version of it. You get the one built to last. Workhorse drones should be able to fly multiple times a week through their first hundred hours, with proper maintenance, without durability issues.

Finally, the Nova has break-apart and quick-release attachments that, in case of collision (with the ground or otherwise), the wings will snap off bleeding off the energy in a non-damaging fashion. Giving the plane the flexibility to break apart during an impact actually protects its main components from damage, and protects you from having to go back to your boss needing to replace an entire drone.


We can talk about the engineering until our faces turn blue. But, what does all this design actually bring customers in the real world? Here are four examples.

Case Study: Flying in Heavy Winds on the Great Plains

Case Study: Mapping 25 Miles of Pearl River

The Nova’s design brings you the ability to fly large-scale projects in areas where you don’t even have a slice of ground to land on with its waterproof capabilities.

Case Study: Drones and Extreme Topography in Death Valley

The Nova’s composite materials give it the toughness and durability to fly in some of the extremist environments.

Case Study: Pit Mining with PPK GPS by Nobles Consulting Group

Finally, our own customers can attest to the ROI and quality of data provided from the Nova in their own endeavors.

Want to learn more about the Nova? Download our free catalog for more educational information or visit

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