The new course and skills assessment are designed to enhance pilots’ knowledge and confidence to inspect electricity transmission and distribution assets more safely and efficiently. The skills assessment is based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards for UAS.
The program will encompass approximately 10 hours of flight time where drone pilots can “learn the dos and don’ts of flying, safety tips for navigating hazardous environments and emergency situations and UAS industry best practices for maintaining equipment and increasing its lifespan,” a PrecisionHawk spokesperson said.
“The full skills assessment will ultimately test pilots on skill competencies regarding drone-led energy inspections and how to efficiently run a single pilot operation. Upon completion, participants will receive a certificate of accomplishment.”
“We’re proud to work with NRECA to bring this new program to co-ops, which play a critical role in powering and transforming communities,” Robert Henley, PrecisionHawk VP of Energy Solutions said.
“Many certified FAA Part 107 Pilots lack live flight experience, and our program is specifically designed to give them hands-on field experience to help them carry out inspections of their transmission and distribution assets with greater confidence and higher levels of safety.”
Covering a lot of ground
Rural electric cooperatives provide power to more than half the nation’s landmass, owning and maintaining 2.7 million miles of electric distribution lines across 48 states. Roughly 300 electric co-ops currently use drones as part of their operations processes, PrecisionHawk states.
“Developing your flight skills and being able to use them in real-world situations is an important next step after passing the FAA exam to become a FAA-certified drone pilot,” said Stan McHann, NRECA Sr. Research Engineer and Chief UAS Pilot.
“This program assesses attendee’s UAS piloting skills and helps them understand the UAS sensors in a variety of complex environments. Participants who successfully complete the PrecisionHawk and NRECA skills assessment will have additional tools and knowledge to enhance their ability to complete data acquisition and utility inspection missions for their co-ops.”
What is the NCREA?
The NRCEA represents nearly 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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