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Drones as a simple tool? Integrating UAS into advanced operations workflow

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Share | 05/13/2022

It’s no secret that advanced drone operations bring a robust return on investment, but how easy are they to implement into your workflow? We sat down with Michael Blake, AgEagle Product Manager, to discuss if Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) should be considered a simple tool or if in-depth training and education are needed to become a compliant advanced drone operator.

Next level operations

As drones have become more accessible, advanced drone operations are gaining momentum. So, what do we mean by advanced drone operations? Generally, they are operations including flights Beyond the Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), Operations Over People (OOP), and flying multiple drones as part of a fleet. These operations are very efficient for collecting data, but they come with extra safety and logistical considerations as they are considered more complex.

For instance, you usually need more forward planning and permissions from the relevant authorities to show that your drone can fly safely, in line with local legislation. You also typically need a drone capable of longer flight times. So, the debate on whether drones are a simple tool or require serious piloting skills is more important than ever to ensure safety. 

Airspace and drones: ensuring safety

With more aircraft in the air than ever before, drone pilots need to think outside their operations and be mindful of other air traffic. Knowing how to operate drones is just one aspect of integrating drones into workflows; it is also important to use them safely and responsibly. 

Across the globe, the rules for flying drones vary widely from country to country, often needing different waivers to be completed – to varying levels of training. Drone operators are responsible for learning new skills and understanding the regulatory landscape as legislation evolves.

There are widespread preconceptions in the aviation industry that drones can pose risks to other aircraft in the same airspace. Similarly, without an in-depth understanding, it may appear that no flying skills are needed – since there is not a pilot on board. This makes it more important to break down the barriers to help ensure safety, as well as smooth integration into airspace, allowing drones and other aircraft to comfortably co-exist.

eBee drone training in the field

Choosing drone technology wisely

Operators need to feel comfortable in terms of usage, safety, responsibility, reliability and transportability. Fixed-wing UAVs, like the eBee X, are ideal for BVLOS flights. They’re lightweight and easy to operate, making them safe, with efficient batteries and airframes, which means they can map mid-to large-scale areas with ease. These UAS also have hundreds of thousands of operational flight hours and safety testing, which can help streamline and accelerate BVLOS waiver approvals.

An effective pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight troubleshooting strategy is key to integrating drones into workflows, as well as carrying a high-quality set of spare parts. Not forgetting a consistent level of training to help maintain knowledge and follow any recent updates.

A bright future: overcoming barriers

Drone integration into advanced operations will continue to evolve as regulations change around the world. Currently, limited understanding and commonly held perceptions are barriers for adopting UAVs into workflows. 

With the right system and training, drones are safe, responsible and easy to use, integrating seamlessly into workflows and airspaces with other aircraft well, to provide a range of benefits.

There is still work to be done to increase awareness and improve drone training – both within the industry and wider society. But the positive steps that have been taken in recent years look set to propel fixed-wings into the future for many years to come. 

To continue your training and become an eBee expert with our Certified Operator program, visit: https://www.senseflyacademy.com/

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