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Aerial Assistance
Drones at Work

Commonly called drones, what the FAA refers to as unmanned aircraft systems or UAS are finding more use in a variety of industries including landscaping. For example, LC/DBM has received a couple of videos, photographed with the help of these aerial vehicles, of finished projects.

Field Work
To map terrain before projects begin, Fred Ford, owner of Ford Engineering in Silverdale, Wash., sets a preprogrammed course for his UAS, which then captures digital images that are put together by special software to create 3D models.

Architecture, engineering and construction firm Burns & McDonnell of Kansas City reports that it uses a fleet of drones to scout project sites and to inspect and monitor projects during and after construction. A company official said the drones can also be outfitted with sensors to collect data including vegetation health.

On the New Jersey shoreline, a UAS was able to effectively document recent erosion, which residents hope will help spur action on erosion control projects.

Rogers-O'Brien Construction from Dallas declares that aerial photos of work progress reveal details that ground photos cannot, helping them to better keep projects on time and within budget.

It is illegal to fly drones for anything other than for hobby and recreational purposes without the Federal Aviation Administration's authorization. As of early October, the agency had approved about 1,800 companies for commercial drone use.

In 2012, Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act that set Sept. 30 of this year as a deadline for a set of regulations that integrated drones into U.S. airspace but the date came and went without resolution of that dictate.

Concerned about aviation safety, the FAA will test a prototype UAS sensor detection system to evaluate its effectiveness in identifying and tracking unmanned aerial vehicles and their ground-based operators that use them near airports.

The agency recently levied a record $1.9 million fine against an aerial photography company for operating illegally in New York City and Chicago, including in restricted airspace.

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May 26, 2019, 3:15 pm PDT

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