In 2016, schools on the ground launched the introduction of a small unmanned aerial vehicle system (sUAS), commonly referred to as a “drone.”
Most of the learners participated in these because they planned to use drones for their business. It was soon understood that the FAA would require a pilot certificate beyond Section 333 approval for commercial activities.
At that time, drones were still considered by many to be entertainment toys. How can toys be used in business in the world?
How far has technology and drone culture gone?
Drone as a marketing tool
If the photo deserves a thousand words, the image captured from the drone is inherently valuable. The real estate industry was one of the first groups to achieve this, and these days it’s hard to find a realtor who isn’t using a drone for marketing purposes. Virtual tours of homes for sale often start with aerial photographs of the neighborhood.
“Before that, we boarded small aircraft and helicopters,” said Scott Manthey, founder and CEO of ImageArt Productions. The company specializes in commercial still image and video advertising primarily for real estate. His company has been using drones since 2015. Currently, the drone has a fleet of sUAS and part 107 certified remote pilot executives.
One of the benefits of using a drone is that it can be moved to places that are inaccessible to humans.
“There were times when the property we needed to shoot was partly a wetland and we needed to get an image of the other side that wasn’t accessible by vehicle or on foot, so we put the drone on the wetland. I skipped it to. “
One of the challenges of using a drone in nature is that nature can attack the device as if it were a predator.
“Birds, especially seagulls and crows, attack drones in the spring,” he says. “Seagulls even try to junk it in flight. Sometimes many bees attack, cause genocide and need to clean the drone. Sometimes hummingbirds say it’s their big version. Chase it as you wish. “
Drones in environmentally sensitive areas
Drones are especially useful for restoring areas destroyed by wildfires. DroneSeed, a Seattle-based company founded in 2016, was one of the first to undertake this task.
These areas are often on steep slopes, which can become unstable when exposed, leading to potential erosion and landslides. Burnt areas are also dangerous to hike to replant.
Grant Canary, CEO of DroneSeed, said: Based in Seattle, the company is at the forefront of drone operations.
“Our drones navigate and map difficult terrain and select specific locations. This is the most promising for trees to grow their roots. Using custom ecosystem-specific seed vessels. The combination of state-of-the-art drone sowing techniques and proven true seedling planting in the second phase combines the benefits of each and reforestation. And the best strategy to ensure long-term health. “
DroneSeed was the first drone company to obtain FAA approval to fly multiple drones (known as herds) weighing more than 55 pounds over the line of sight (BLOS).
In addition to replanting, drones are an excellent tool to support wildlife research, says Justin Moore, owner / chief pilot of aerial photography in Texas. Moore’s company uses several drones such as the DJI Mavic 3 Cine Drone, DJI Inspire 2 and DJI Phantom 4 Pro.
“We used a drone to cover the open burning of invasive species, and we took pictures for geologists on the surface of a cliff in a nature reserve that is inaccessible to humans,” says Moore. “We used drone mapping in the scientific study of bigtooth maple trees, which reduced the work of environmental scientists by 90% and was featured in a scientific paper published by the University of Texas.”
Moore is a manned aircraft pilot and a professional photographer covering events such as the Sun’n Fun Aerospace Expo and EAA Air Venture from the ground. Not everyone loves the overhead sounds of large aircraft, so drones could be seen as a hindrance to low-flying manned aircraft, such as the “Night Kayaking Event along the San Antonio River.” Very useful for covering certain events. To tell. “We also used #dronesforgood. Using drone mapping to conserve with environmental scientists in a local nature reserve, and using demonstrations at a local school, kids can make drones and aviation great. We encourage you to pursue it as a career option. “
But most of the time, drones are used as a tool to support the construction industry, Moore says.
“We take aerial photographs and videos of construction sites every month to allow project supervisors to track work progress and identify safety issues,” he explains. To do.
Drone for public security
Construction is not the only industry that uses data collected by drones to prevent harm. Drones are becoming increasingly important to public safety organizations as a means of reducing risk to employees and improving department efficiency.
For example, many public security operations include remote searches. It may take hours for someone on the ground to travel through the semi-wilderness, but a 100-foot drone in the air can cover quite a lot of terrain in less time.
“We operate SWAT and manage critical incidents, track K-9, reconstruct and model accidents, document and photograph crime scenes, school emergency response plans, and law enforcement skills training. We use sUAS to monitor enhancements, “said unmanned Blaine Davis. System Program Coordinator at the Chesterfield County Police Department, Virginia. “Our UAS was deployed in buildings, attics, and crawling spaces with violent armed individuals who fired firearms at police officers and violently attacked others.”
Drones are also used to capture videos during training exercises. The video will be learned later as the action is recorded and the learning takes place.
The agency began using the drone in November 2020, with eight police officers acting as remote pilots. Davis added that he had considerable aviation experience on manned aircraft before using drones for law enforcement, but this is not the case for many officers. To participate in the drone separation, each officer must be specially trained and gain some experience before being allowed to fly sUAS on department-approved missions.
“Everyone received a remote pilot certificate within three months of joining the program,” says Davis. “Then, each operator had to undergo four days of basic training and four days of mission training to obtain 40 hours of flight time before being used for law enforcement missions.”
Common drone mistakes
All commercial drone operators interviewed for this work had the same answer when asked what was the biggest mistake of wanting to be a commercial drone pilot. I also learned how to operate the drone.
“There are no practical tests for remote pilots, so you can be alone and have terrible flight skills,” Moore said, adding that he learned to fly a drone in front of you. rice field requirement It is important to be able to fly the drone.
“Getting clients is a daunting task,” says Mantai. “New sUAV pilots are often initially serviced or oversold, which can be unreliable, and where they can fly and what they need to do to fly safely. I rarely understand. [like contact the tower, or get the FAA exemption to fly in that area] And they follow the rules and create challenges for us to be safe. “
Another common mistake, according to Mantai, is the assumption that the drone needs to be in the air hundreds of feet to get the best video.
“At least 50% of the images I take with my drone are less than 50 feet, which is where it really shines as a platform. That’s something you can’t do anywhere else except by renting a big cherry picker.” Say.
Even experienced drone operators are surprised, says Moore.
“The most frustrating surprise is the firmware update from the drone maker that creates issues and dramas trying to unlock the” geo-fence “around airports and confidential sites that the FAA has already granted permission, but the drone maker. Cannot be easily unlocked Flying prohibited area. “
From time to time, drone operators find themselves dealing with the misunderstandings of people who are not part of the drone’s mission. For example, some people think it’s within their rights to shoot a drone in an attempt to shoot it down, but they are unaware that firing on any type of aircraft is a federal crime. ..
Sometimes people automatically think that the drone is wasted. For example, after a storm, an Oregon homeowner who was using a drone to video a roof damage because his home was near an elementary school and someone at school thought he was filming. I noticed that I was talking to a police officer. Children on vacation.
“As a visual storyteller, I’m always looking for creative camera angles,” says Dave Kelman, director of photography for Pierce County Television (PCTV) in Washington. “Being 400 feet above gives you that unique perspective.”
Kellman received a Part 107 certificate from the FAA in 2017.
“The introduction of drone technology was an aerial photography game changer. Before the drone, we were shooting from helicopters and small planes. It is difficult to stabilize the camera when shooting from an aircraft. 3-axis electric gimbal You can’t go beyond the smooth, stable images provided by the onboard drone. “
Drones have “became the industry standard for television and video production,” Kellman said. Aerial views are a great way to establish a scene. Flying over the city skyline and neighborhood is a great way to showcase your location. “
“PCTV has placed drones in many situations that are inaccessible to humans. For example, I used the drone to cover floods and wildfires. I personally put the drone on a cliff and a torrent. It’s floating on the river. “
There was a learning curve, he says. “A few years ago, I lost my drone at a 70-foot waterfall. The aircraft couldn’t handle a large amount of wind shear. The drone is probably still in the rock behind the waterfall. Trying to retrieve the aircraft. It’s not safe to do, but I wish I had the footage! “