Share | 01/28/2021
While growing and scaling your commercial drone operations will pay off in the long run, some short-term complexities such as maintenance and management are worth addressing right away. Monitoring certification currency, eligibility, and drone accessories for a single pilot is one thing; doing so for dozens of drone pilots and an even larger fleet can quickly overwhelm a drone program manager. As the number of drone jobs increases, so do the types of job tasks, aircrafts, and equipment you’ll need to keep track of.
Fortunately, Measure Ground Control makes it easy to manage not only your drone program, but also the various drone gadgets needed to complete missions and collect valuable data. In this blog post, we’ll explore how users can streamline and scale their operations simultaneously using the equipment management feature of Measure Ground Control.
The drone list in Ground Control provides a high level look at available equipment, showing which drones are active, disabled, or quarantined for repair. Adding new equipment to your fleet is as easy as filling out a simple form within the app. Once you’ve completed your list of equipment, you can track information regarding maintenance, location, and more.
We’ve compiled a sample list of drone accessories that pilots typically find helpful as they carry out drone missions. Your list might vary from the following depending on your industry or project type.
Drone equipment list:
“Part 107 and other certifications require regular renewal, which can sneak up on pilots and managers alike,” says Grant Lowenfeld, Senior UAS Pilot at Measure and a former UAV Flight Test Remote Pilot at General Electric’s AiRXOS. “It’s incredibly convenient to open the Ground Control app and automatically see when a pilot’s license is up for renewal.”
Aside from ensuring licenses are renewed on time, the ability to track certification status enables managers to assign missions appropriately, as some jobs require specific or advanced certifications.
Through Ground Control, users designate a location for each piece of equipment, so it’s assigned to a particular project, team or pilot, office or job site, etc. Unlike other types of drone software, MGC’s ability to assign equipment provides users with more flexibility as they have varying requirements.
Through assigning equipment to a particular user and collecting automated flight logs, drone program managers can stay on top of the condition of their drones and drone add ons, as well as determine the cause of damaged equipment or FAA violations.
“MGC makes it easier to monitor expensive, highly valuable equipment,” says Lowenfeld. “Whether your flights need to stay below an altitude of 400 feet to avoid collisions, or you need to be made aware when drones land with less than 30% battery remaining, these custom alerts can be tailored to your program and altered in real time.”
Companies often employ drones for predetermined, replicable missions, and therefore have standard equipment requirements based on the job at hand. For example, the equipment used for land surveying in agriculture might differ greatly from the photogrammetry equipment used to map a construction site.
Within Ground Control, users can create equipment bundles and associate the bundles with specific missions. Equipment bundles are created by adding accessories to select aircrafts and can be updated at a moment’s notice. The ability to set customized equipment bundles makes scheduling missions and keeping track of equipment that much easier.
Not only can MGC users assign equipment to a particular mission, but they can also attribute accessories to a specific drone.
“A drone is useless without essential pieces like a battery, a controller, a propeller,” says Jesse Stepler, Co-Founder, Chief Strategy Officer, and Head of Product at Measure (now AgEagle). “This feature provides users the ability to create ‘kits’ for drone equipment and track those key accessories as a cohesive package.”
“Tasking drone program managers with manually monitoring battery life sets drone pilots up for failure and can lead to safety risks in the field,” says Lowenfeld. “For instance, any experienced drone pilot knows ‘30% battery remaining’ means one thing for a healthy set of batteries versus an old battery.”
Easily overlooked conditions ranging from worn out equipment to cold weather can throw off missions entirely. To prevent drone crashes and other mishaps, Ground Control automatically logs flight data, including drone and battery usage. Before setting out on a mission or getting to a particular site, drone pilots can see the life of each battery and how much it’s been charged. Additionally, users can run a Fleet and Battery Status report to gain insight into the flight metrics for each aircraft and battery.
As any drone program manager knows, it’s vital to keep stakeholders updated regarding compliance, risk, maintenance, and return on investment, and the condition of your equipment plays a significant role in these aspects of your operations. Your drone program was likely created with your company’s goals in mind, therefore it’s crucial to track and communicate progress toward those objectives.
“This area is really where Measure’s reporting comes into play,” says Stepler. “From your drone insurance provider to your finance team, the ability to provide stakeholders with accurate data goes a long way in communicating the value of your drone program.”
Want to learn more about how Measure Ground Control can help with tracking equipment and managing your drone operations? Contact us.
*This blog was originally published in June 2019 and has been updated in January 2021.
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