North Carolina-based drone company PrecisionHawk is partnering with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to teach electrical cooperatives the ABC of UAVs.
The new course and skills assessment are designed to improve pilots’ knowledge and confidence to inspect power transmission and distribution systems more safely and efficiently. Competency assessment is based on the standards of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) for UAS.
The program includes approximately 10 hours of flight time during which drone pilots “can learn the rules of flight, safety tips for navigating hazardous and emergency situations, and UAS industry best practices for maintaining equipment and extending its life,” a PrecisionHawk spokesperson said.
“The full capability assessment will ultimately test pilots on their ability to perform drone-guided energy inspections and efficiently conduct a single pilot operation. Upon completion, the participants will receive a certificate of performance. “
“We are proud to partner with NRECA to bring this new program to co-operatives that play a critical role in promoting and transforming communities,” said Robert Henley, PrecisionHawk VP of Energy Solutions.
“Many FAA Part 107 certified pilots lack live flight experience and our program is specifically designed to provide hands-on field experience so that they can inspect their transmission and distribution equipment with greater confidence and a higher level of safety.”
Cover a lot of ground
Rural power cooperatives provide electricity to more than half of the country’s landmass and own and maintain 2.7 million miles of power distribution lines in 48 states. According to PrecisionHawk, there are currently around 300 electro-cooperatives using drones as part of their operational processes.
“Developing your flying skills and using them in real-life situations is an important next step after passing the FAA exam to become an FAA-certified drone pilot,” said Stan McHann, NRECA Sr. Research Engineer and Chief UAS Pilot.
“This program assesses participants’ UAS piloting skills and helps them understand UAS sensors in a variety of complex environments. Participants who successfully complete the PrecisionHawk and NRECA Capability Assessment will have additional tools and knowledge to enhance their ability to complete data collection and supply inspection missions for their cooperatives. “
What is the NCREA?
The NRCEA represents nearly 900 local electricity cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric cooperatives serve as the engine of economic development for 42 million Americans in 56 percent of the country’s landscape.
Jason is a longtime DroneLife employee with a passionate interest in anything technology related. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; Police, fire brigade, search and rescue services.
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