Using Drones to Provide More Detail For Farm Strips

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Using Drones to Provide More Detail For Farm Strips

Postby Simon Handley » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:21 pm

With all the bad press lately with regards to drones, I would like to give an example where drones have provided assistance with regards to reducing risk and providing more detail for approach-landing and TO plates for farm strips. I'm a fixed wing pilot of 25 years and also a commercial drone operator, having flown drones for 12 years. The pilots CAA theoretical for the drone is very similar to the PPL. However we have to file a flight brief every time we deploy commercially and our log books are checked by the CAA every year and hours flown checked to the minimum requirement as is the insurance. I flew drones 180hrs (thats actual flight time) in the last 12 months. All in all there is much much more planning needed for a drone than a local flight in your plane.

We have been trying out using a drone to provide all the approach detail when flying into a new strip. It works very well as you can fly the approach on a correct glide slope and provide video which can be reviewed, still pictures and look out for obstacles. All without risk to your plane or third parties and of course you or your passengers.

I have used this method when moving the plane to a new farm strip and the information provided me with the approach plate details, heights, alignment etc etc before even flying into the strip. I reviewed the detail looked at the video, and after walking the strip and looking at the drone information I drew up my own approach plate then went and landed the plane there. The strip was surrounded by pylons, trees and hilly ground.

I have just recently completed a charter helicopter shoot ground to air with radio communication with pilot as I have a call sign. The Captain of the helicopter was very keen to try the drone out to provide detail prior to the company landing one of their Augusta Helicopters at a new site. Normally they have to drive to a new helipad and take laser measurements with full risk assessment and photographs. I'm not saying a drone will remove this but it will certainly provide a pilots eye view before they even land there for real. A drone can also stop mid flight on the approach to review and look at hazards.


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Simon Handley
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 3:42 pm

Re: Using Drones to Provide More Detail For Farm Strips

Postby 2greens1red » Wed May 03, 2017 11:53 am

Simon, apologies for the thread drift, but as a professional drone operator you're probably the guy to ask.

Is there any possibility that Amazon et al will be allowed to operate drones to deliver their products to customers? Restricted drone corridors branching out from their warehouses, countrywide?

Most light aircraft pilots would see a dozen reasons why not, but I'm curious to hear your opinion.

Maybe the idea of electric milkcarts generated a similar doubt when first mooted?
Richard Lyon
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:41 am

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