FAQs

What data can I collect?

Harfang offers a payload capacity of 10kg . This allows a wide variety of sensors.

We adapt to the needs and areas of expertise of the client:

If it has and operates sensors, we can integrate them on the ball , which simply serves as a vector.

If the customer needs a turnkey solution (balloon operation + data capture + data processing), we can develop a tailor-made solution, in particular thanks to the partnerships we have established with companies with expertise in data collection and processing. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have specific needs , we will study with you the solutions that we can develop.

Why use Harfang rather than a helicopter/drone/plane?

Harfang combines all the essential features for massive data collection: endurance , large payload , hovering , low cost , while respecting the environment . Performance that no other vector offers!

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What do the flight regulations say?

We have studied the regulations mainly in France but wish to fly in all countries authorizing them.

Today, in France, we are subject to the same regulations as drones. It is therefore a matter of performing visually piloted flights below 120 meters in height . These regulations allow us to operate satisfactorily for most applications.

 

However, our solution is even more interesting with long-duration autonomous flights that make it possible to make the most of Harfang's superior autonomy.

Today, such flights must be subject to derogations that do not allow the flexibility of use that we are aiming for.

We are therefore seeking to obtain special exemptions giving us more flexibility, and are working with the DGAC to this end.

Is Harfang safe?

Safety is at the heart of the development of our balloons. It is a priority in the light of which we study each choice.

 

Important issues are linked to the use of dihydrogen.

We use antistatic and fireproof materials for the envelope.

Even if the envelope is pierced, the balloon remains safe: the envelope is pressurized , which prevents the entry of atmospheric oxygen and the formation of an flammable O2 / H2 mixture.

There is no high heat source on board the balloon, electrical discharges are made impossible by the use of antistatic materials , the dihydrogen cannot therefore ignite if it leaks.

Due to its very low density, dihydrogen escapes into the atmosphere and cannot accumulate on board the balloon.

What happens if the balloon encounters a breakdown? (electronics, motor, fuel cell)

 

The redundancy of the motors makes it possible to control the balloon even in the event of loss of a motor.

If the fuel cell breaks down, or there is a lack of hydrogen to power it, a back-up battery powers the balloon for several minutes while it lands.

The ball is  slightly denser than air (a few hundred grams difference in total), if left inactive it will fall very gently to the ground - like a balloon.

What happens if the balloon breaks?

 

We have developed a very resistant and robust material, making this scenario extremely unlikely.

If, despite everything, the balloon tears, the basket and the balloon will separate , leaving the balloon to release the hydrogen far from the ground. The gondola would then descend under parachute and touch the ground at a low speed.


 

The balloon is also equipped with safety systems (valves, pressure and temperature sensors, telemetry, obstacle avoidance, etc.), and its envelope reflects radar waves , making it highly visible to aircraft and air traffic control.

What about weather conditions?

Our balloon is designed to be able to operate in rain, hail and in temperatures ranging from 5 to 35°C.

 

Dirigible balloons, due to their size, are quite sensitive to the wind. In order to ensure the best possible wind resistance, Harfang is powerfully motorized and has an architecture ensuring responsiveness and stability .

We can operate our balloon optimally when the winds do not exceed 30 km/h continuously . This makes it possible to operate 80% of the days of the year in metropolitan France.

Eventually we will build increasingly robust airships to operate 90% of the days of the year in all regions of the globe.