Imagine a reboot of Seinfeld in the near future. Imagine Jerry happily flying his new drone through the streets of New York until George bumps into him, sending his new DJI crashing into Kramer’s towering hair. Enter David Puddy, the best drone mechanic in the Big Apple (“Yeah, that’s right”). While this comedic dream is improbable, the inevitable rise of the drone mechanic is a reality today.
On Monday, Unmanned Systems and Solutions (USAS) announced the opening of a 120,000 square-foot professional drone repair facility in Tampa, Fla. The company offers a one-stop service allowing drone owners to ship their aircraft to USAS for a 48-hour turnaround evaluation and estimate. The company’s website states USAS can repair most UAV manufacturers including DJI, 3DR, Hubsan, Yuneec and GoPro.
“Flying Scan Eagle combat missions in Afghanistan, I learned how important a robust repair capability was to our operations,” USAS founder Pete Dwyer said in a press release. “I was surprised upon returning home that no nationwide, highly professional repair capability existed in the U.S. That’s why we founded USAS.”
Drone repair work could end up being one of the more than 100,000 jobs created over the next nine years, according to an economic report by AUVSI.
For a fee of $29.95, USAS will issue a mailing label to a drone owner for shipping. Once received, technicians will provide a repair estimate and apply $23 of the fee towards repair costs. If the drone owner approves the repair, the company estimates it can repair most models within 2-3 business days.
“We’ve assembled a team of combat proven UAS operators, military veterans, and entrepreneurs who have operated UAS in commercial, government, and recreational settings. We understand how important it is to get you back in the air,” Dwyer added.
A company statement pegged the average repair costs around $200. “USAS has in-house repair, parts fabrication, and testing facilities run by technicians with decades of experience repairing highly sensitive and mission critical electronic equipment.”
So, we may never get to see a drone-fueled, Seinfeldian riff in our pop-culture future — “What’s the deal with FAA rules?” — but count on someday seeing a drone mechanic coming to your hometown. Or, maybe Larry David does read DRONELIFE?