Applications engineer Jeff DeBoer demonstrates interchangeable payload options enabled by the “V” airframe of the new UAS, Falcon 8. Two models are offered: GeoEXPERT for surveying and InspectionPRO for industrial inspection.

Your sUAS Un-checklist

We’re all familiar with the concept of checklists: handy organizational tools for getting things done. As business persons, you should also be familiar with the concept of “barriers to entry”: the greater the obstacles, the more difficult it is for a business to enter a market, and vice versa. And unless you’ve beaten Elon Musk to Mars, you should be aware of the FAA’s Rule 107 for small UAS coming online this month.

Take these three items, throw them into a cocktail shaker, and out comes . . .

The Official xyHt sUAS Un-checklist

Time-consuming section 333 exemptions.

Uncheck. Rule 107 eliminates these; you’ll only have to follow the new regulations. Dropping the exemption petition process alone saves a lot of time and paperwork.

Pilot’s license required

Uncheck. Under 107, operators (called remote pilots in command–RPIC) will take a test, be vetted by TSA (Transportation Security Administration), and become an RPIC.

This is a barrier many are happy to see fall; getting a pilot’s license is just too big a push-up for many geospatial professionals. Already have a license? You’re covered.

No flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS)

Partial uncheck. While technically BVLOS is still prohibited, the rules make allowance for waivers to 107 limitations via an online portal. In certain applications where BVLOS flights can be safely accomplished–powerline inspections are just one example of many–the FAA could waive this restriction and allow BVLOS operations

Expensive platforms and complex post-processing of data

Uncheck. These have nothing to do with Rule 107 but have been a barrier to entry. As the sUAS market has matured, more airframe manufacturers have entered the marketplace, providing downward pressure on pricing.

No, you won’t be able to perform serious work with a $500 toy sUAS, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how affordable professional-grade sUAS have become. Post-processing of UAS data is becoming easier too, both as standalone software and cloud-based software as a service.

Still on the fence? Consider a “UAV Partnership.Ó In the article in this issue we look at a cooperative model between Canadian UAV firm, Skymatics, and Elements Land Surveys, which leverages the different strengths of the companies to increase the business and service values of both. Talk about your win-win!

Don’t miss this issue’s Located; a special effort was made to load it up with UAS news, products, and tech.

If you’ve been postponing getting into this technology, you’re running out of excuses. Before Rule 107, it made a certain sense to take a wait-and-see attitude. That time has passed. The future of sUAS for surveying, mapping, inspections, and a host of other applications is virtually “unchecked.”

Call out:

If you’ve been postponing getting into this technology, you’re running out of excuses.

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