Airborne Services

Need a Quick Inspection of a 58-Story Tower? Send a Drone

John Murphy and Larry Shueneman of Coastal Construction fly a drone over a construction site at the Miami Worldcenter, in Miami. Credit: Saul Martinez for The New York Times.

With their low cost and ease of handling, drones are saving money and time on big construction projects.

They could also save lives.

Ubiquitous as toys for the gadget-minded — and sometimes for purposes like spying and dropping explosives — drones have become indispensable tools in construction and real estate. Their relatively low cost and ease of handling have made work more efficient for architects, landscape designers, surveyors, builders, structural engineers and brokers.

Read More: The New York Times


Is This A Game Changer For Drones?

By Irina Slav

Drones are making inroads into the oil and gas industry, and these inroads could very well turn into highways for this technology in an industry that features a lot of surveillance and inspection work.

Thanks to drones, this work can now be done remotely—but there is one problem with the dominant kind of drones that are fed power by batteries: they don’t last very long in the air.

Typical battery drone flight times are seldom above 30 minutes, but surveys and inspections of oilfields and equipment could take hours. This means extra time for battery replacement and charging, but there is one alternative to battery-powered drones that is offering great time savings: drones powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Fuel cell technology has been unable to garner the attention that batteries are still attracting as the future of power, but they are still a topic of conversation because of all the benefits they offer. For drones, these benefits begin with much, much longer flight times than battery-powered drones.

We are talking about hours rather than minutes. Here are a few examples.

Read More: Oil Price.com

Drone specialist Fiona Lake straddles practicality and beauty

FIONA Lake discovered the power of flight for large agricultural operations working on an outback cattle property in the 1988.

With the development of drone technology, and improved affordability, she has now incorporated this technology into her self-crafted career, both as an internationally recognised photographer and as an educator, presenting at drone symposiums and conferences worldwide.

Read More: The Weekly Times

Drone taxis could be in Australian skies ‘within three years’

Drone taxis could soon be a reality in Brisbane as entrepreneurs seek to attract trials and testing for “personal transport drones” as early as this year.

“We will have flying taxis hopefully in Queensland. We’re trying to attract a couple of companies to do their trial and testing this year,” Drone entrepreneur Dr Catherine Ball told 7 News.

Read More: Yahoo News

Drone company flying blood around Rwanda says Australia could be next

By James Elton-Pym

Australia’s civil aviation regulator says a similar program would need permission to stretch the current rules but could get off the ground soon.

A drone company that inked a landmark deal with the government of Rwanda to deliver blood and medical supplies to the country’s regional hospitals is actively considering similar projects in the United States and Australia.

Zipline International claims its long-range drones have carried out 3,500 emergency deliveries over 18 months in Rwanda.

Blood deliveries that previously took three to five hours in a cooler bag can now be achieved in 15 to 30 minutes on average, the company claims.

Zipline’s head of global operations, Dan Czerwonka, says hospitals have gradually come to trust the deliveries and are no longer stockpiling blood, driving wastage through expiry down to “almost zero”.

Read More: SBS News

Govt inquiry urges mandatory drone registration

By Justin Hendry

And greater airspace restrictions.

A senate inquiry into remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) has called for mandatory registration to buy a drone and greater airspace restrictions.

The findings of the two-year long inquiry [pdf], which was sparked over concerns that serious accident could result from flying a drone, were handed down last night after a series of extensions.

The 121-page report recommends that the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities work with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to develop a whole-of-government policing approach.

“During the course of the inquiry, it became clear to the committee that RPAS regulation and safety requires a coordinated, holistic approach which encompasses matters including national security, importation, consumer protection, and technological innovation,” the report states.

The government-wide policy would encompass a “series of measures to enhance public safety”, including a “mandatory registration regime for all RPAS weighing more than 250 grams” to bring Australia into line with the US and UK.

The recommendation aligns with CASA’s recent review of aviation safety regulation of RPAS, which similarly called for registration of drones that weigh more than 250 grams.

This would require amending current legislation to ensure that those operating drones that weigh under 2kg are covered by the rules.

Read More: I T News

Drone trial expected to boost endangered turtle monitoring and protection project

By Dom Vukovic

Rangers involved in a massive population survey of endangered turtles are trialling drones to help them locate vulnerable nests faster to ensure their protection from predators.

A stretch of coastline along Queensland’s remote Cape York Peninsula is home to Australia’s largest nesting population of flatback turtles and home to the rare hawksbill turtle.

Each year the Western Cape Turtle Threat Abatement Alliance works with local Indigenous rangers who trek about 250km around some of the country’s most remote and inaccessible coastline to carry out a giant turtle head count.

This year the conservation group has teamed up with a local drone company to help in the effort to improve turtle protection measures.

Read More: ABC News

Parazero UAV safety systems now available in Australia

By Daniel Bishton

Parazero pyrotechnic parachute systems for DJI Matrice 200 and 600 can now be purchased through CR Kennedy under a new partnership.

The SafeAir systems for DJI Matrice 200 and 600s monitor operational parameters while the drone is in flight, cutting power to the rotors and deploying a ballistic parachute system in the event of a critical failure — even featuring an audio buzzer to warn bystanders of the aircraft’s descent.

Read More: Spatial Source

Drones Spray Inaccessible Cliff Areas in Australia

Lake Macquarie Council has begun using drones along isolated cliffs at Swansea Heads and Caves Beach to spray tracts of Bitou bush, an invasive South African weed.  It is understood to be the first time drones have been used for weed spraying in the Hunter.

Council’s manager planning and sustainability, Alice Howe, said drones are ideal delivery tools in areas difficult or dangerous to reach.

The low operating height and flying speed of less than 20km/h of the drones, combined with the downward air movement from the rotor “ensures extremely accurate application of the herbicide”.


Drones Find Faulty Solar Panels at Schools (U.S)

Yavapai County is seeing first-hand the advantages of drone use when it comes to inspections – specifically, solar panel inspections. Matthew Mintzmyer, Associate Professor of Aviation at Yavapai College, has developed a UAS program that gives students the hands-on experience necessary to perform such tasks.

What began as a simple demonstration for students of the practical uses of drones turned into a beneficial discovery that the solar panels at two separate schools within the county weren’t working the way they should be.

The first instance took place a few months ago, where Mintzmyer gathered a few of his student at the Cottonwood Middle School to teach them, and the students at the middle school, how to use drones and thermal imaging to inspect solar panels.

Read More: UAV Vision