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xiros® in model aircraft in remote sensing

Technical data

  • What was needed? Bearing of a pivoting platform
  • Requirements: Lightweight, compensation of misalignments, corrosion resistance
  • Material: xirodu B180
  • Industry: Model making
  • Success for the customer: The xiros fixed flange ball bearings made of plastic work perfectly in the pivoting device of the model aircraft and meet the high requirements regarding weight reduction.
Go to application:At the Institute of Space Systems (IRS) the use of a remote-controlled model aircraft as a remote sensing platform has been tested and demonstrated. For this purpose, the model aircraft "Stuttgarter Adler" (Stuttgart Eagle) will be equipped with different payloads to perform scientific missions to determine the "bidirectional reflectance distribution function" (BRDF) and to collect environmental data. The "Stuttgarter Adler" was designed and constructed by students of the faculty of aerospace engineering especially for its task. It differs from the model airplanes used by hobby pilots by the consideration of safety-relevant factors.

UAV Stuttgarter Adler: model aircraft

xiros® fixed flange ball bearings in model aircraft

The design provides for a large fuselage for the instrumentation; the electrical propulsion system is housed in two engine nacelles in the wing unit. With a total weight of 25 kg, the Stuttgarter Adler can carry a payload of approx. 5 kg and achieves a flight time of up to 30 minutes. Flight navigation is carried out by a GPS-supported control system, which allows the aircraft to automatically execute a pre-programmed flight plan.

xiros® fixed flange ball bearings in model aircraft

The instrumentation of the Stuttgart Adler consists of three cameras for the visible and near infrared spectral range as well as a spectrometer and a thermal infrared camera. The cameras achieve a ground resolution of up to 10 centimetres in the visible and near infrared spectral range, while a ground resolution of 30 centimetres is achieved in the thermal infrared range.


In order to obtain the measurement data, the aircraft will fly orbits over the measurement area and thereby capture photographs from different angles. For this purpose, the payload cameras must be mounted on a pivoting platform in order to point them at the target area at different roll angles. For the bearing of a pivoting device a particularly light bearing is required.


The pivoting device, designed and manufactured by IRS, implements its movements thanks to xiros fixed flange ball bearings made of plastic with glass balls that meet the heavy weight requirements. The fixed flange ball bearing compensates for misalignment and the corrosion resistance makes it possible to obtain particularly precise measurement data.