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Drones

Current Information

We currently have 4 licensed RPICs (Remote Pilot in Command) on staff authorized by the FAA to fly drones. We own two drones as part of our aircraft fleet and their unique capabilities have enhanced Eagle's range of mission profiles available for projects.  We are engaged in ongoing R&D projects to fully characterize the sensor payload, range and performance of these aircraft.  Our goals are to maximize safety and efficiency and ensure that regardless of the platform (manned or unmanned) that the remote sensing data acquired is consistent and interchangeable.

History

On November 18, 2015 we received our FAA Exemption No. 13657 via our Section 333 petition to fly our Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS, a.k.a. drone).  Our specific aircraft covered by this exemption is the DJI S900 Hexcopter and all operations will be conducted in accordance with the blanket Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) issued by the FAA to operators with a valid Section 333 Grant of Exemption.  In accordance with regulations we have registered our aircraft and were issued registration number N 356E. 

In addition, on February 16, 2016 we submitted an amendment to our exemption requesting permission to fly additional drones.  These additional aircraft were selected to provide more options to meet future customer requirements. Approval for this exemption was granted on May 2016.

In late August 2016, the FAA issued new rules governing operations of drones for commercial purposes.  Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) applies to all commercial operations of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) weighing less than 55 pounds and mandates that any commercial operation of this kind must be under the direct command of a certificated Remote Pilot in Command (RPIC).  On 2 September 2016 our pilots completed the FAA Part 107 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) training course followed by the required certification and endorsement by an FAA Certified Flight Instructor and are now legally certified to act as RPIC under Part 107. 

In October 2016 we began evaluating a number of potential applications to determine if and when our drones could be deployed profitably. Our client base is so broad both in markets and geography and each project's specific requirements so custom (schedule, resolution, area, location) that we wanted to think carefully how best to utilize this new technology. The data acquisition portion of our process, while important, is just one of the steps necessary to deliver the information that our customers request. While we believe that the possibilities that drones represent are exciting and wide open, we are taking a very pragmatic approach to their adoption.

We successfully completed our first data acquisition and 3D point cloud creation using our own drone data on 10/24/16.

 


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