Early Commercial Drone Adopter Woolpert Expands UAS Team

Woolpert, an architecture, engineering and geospatial (AEG) firm based out of Dayton, Ohio, has expanded its pool of federally certified unmanned aircraft system (UAS) pilots.

Kris Froiland, Ethan Schreuder, Joel Doughty and Rich Gerdeman have joined Woolpert’s UAS team, which now totals five. The new members are situated at four of firm’s 23 U.S. locations: Chicago; Denver; Dayton, Ohio; and Columbia, S.C.

Woolpert says it was the first surveying and aerial mapping company to be approved to fly a UAS commercially in designated airspace (when it earned a Section 333 exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration in December 2014).

Froiland and Schreuder are survey technicians, and Doughty is an engineering technician. Gerdeman, a UAS pilot and engineering phase manager, is also one of the firm’s airplane pilots.

According to Woolpert, having both UAS and airplane pilots increases the firm’s versatility with data-collection methods.

“We are known worldwide for our mapping capabilities,” says Aaron Lawrence, Woolpert’s UAS technology manager, who became federally approved to commercial fly UAS on Aug. 16. “By increasing our fleet of UAS pilots, we can more expansively apply this expertise. It’s all about what tool in the toolbox to use to meet the project specifications and how to do it in the most cost-effective manner.”

Photo: Woolpert uses UAS to monitor the construction phase of a 500-foot runway extension at Paoli Municipal Airport in Indiana.


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