Mini UAS

S-PLANE’s NIGHTINGALE UAS is a highly reliable, state‑of‑the‑art autonomous Mini-UAV specifically designed for transport and airdrop of medical samples of up to 150 g. The UAV was developed in conjunction with the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) of South Africa to transport sterile medical specimens from remote rural clinics to pathology laboratories. An autonomously controlled payload release bay on the under-side of the aircraft allows samples to be airdropped precisely at specified GPS coordinates.

This unique system was designed with civilian operation in mind and therefore robustness, reliability, safety, and simplicity of operation were key requirements. The electrically powered aircraft has a 1.5 m wingspan, a flexible but tough construction, strobe lights to improve visibility, low mass and low kinetic energy. The aircraft launches from a simple elastically operated rail launch system and has an endurance of 30 minutes and round-trip flight range of 50 km. A GSM communication link allows for BLOS operation and remote fleet monitoring. NIGHTINGALE can also be configured to carry an HD video camera for aerial survey applications. Imagery is logged on-board and streamed to a ground station either via GSM or an S/C-Band LOS video link with a 5 km range.

NIGHTINGALE is a flight proven system with an excellent track record. Formal representative airdrop flight trials were held in conjunction with the NHLS, where NIGHTINGALE completed all 71 required flights without incident. NIGHTINGALE was designed to be operated regularly in the toughest environments with minimal operator training required.



  • Fully Autonomous Including Auto-Launch and Landing
  • Simple and Compact Launch Rail Requires No Power
  • Safe and Reliable Electric Ducted Fan Propulsion
  • Designed for Simple, Reliable, Robust Operation
  • Automatic Return to Base and Failsafe Functions
  • Flight Proven System Designed for Operation in Civil Airspace
  • Training, Maintenance and Support Available
  • Return and Replace Maintenance

Air-Drop Application

  • GPS Programmable Payload Drop Locations
  • Underside Payload Bay with Automatic Release
  • GSM Based Communication for BLOS Operation
  • Remote, Centralised Fleet Monitoring Functionality

Aerial Survey Application

  • HD Daylight Camera
  • 4 Mbps IP LOS Video Data Link, up to 50 km Range
  • Mobile and Rugged Ground Control Station
  • GPS Waypoint Based Mission Control

Technical Specifications

Maximum Altitude: 10,000 ft
Cruise Speed: 45 KIAS
Landing Speed: 30 KIAS
Maximum Endurance: 30 min
Maximum Range: 50 km
Battery Charge Time: 1 hr
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW): 3.2 kg
Maximum Payload Drop Mass: 150 g
Communications: GSM, UHF or S/C-Band LOS Link


S-PLANE on LinkedIn
S-PLANE on Youtube