Now FAA-Certified, Idaho Firm Brings in Unmanned Aircraft

Having passed the Part 107 remote pilot exam, POWER Engineers Inc., a consulting services and engineering firm based in Idaho, is now using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to collect video, photos and data for 3D terrain and tower modeling for clients across the U.S.

Three of POWER’s staff members passed the exam, which allows the commercial operations of drones. In particular, the firm says it uses a fixed-wing system that can fly for up to 40 minutes and collect GIS data, aerial images and terrain models. It also deploys multi-rotor system capable of carrying high-resolution photography and video equipment to capture data from nearly any angle. The company notes that this drone can hover in one place and fly with extreme precision – in turn, making it possible to model structures such as lattice towers.

Passing the exam were Jason Pfaff, visualization services department manager; Aaron Ames, GIS department manager; and Andy Bartos, GIS analyst.

“Rotorcraft systems are rapidly proving to be a safe and cost-effective way to gather data for our clients,” Pfaff says. “Removing the pilot and crew from the vehicle reduces project risk, especially in situations where we need to be close to the ground or close to our subjects. Intelligent GPS controls and high-resolution video feedback bring a higher level of precision than traditional methods.”

He adds, “Future advances in augmented reality combined with UAS technology will revolutionize the visualization industry that we know today.”

Ames says the real advantage for clients is POWER’s ability to pinpoint the required data and process it in ways that can be useful to clients.

“Built-in flight control systems help make it easy and safe to fly these drones,” he explains. “Our experience with geographic information and engineering requirements assure that we get all of the parameters correct to provide reliable and cost-effective information for many applications.”

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