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The extra work is worth the level of safety - Commercial Operations

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by BigAl07, May 9, 2016.

  1. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    This will be a long read but hopefully it will help others who are in the same boat.

    Extra work up front helps to create a safe work environment:

    Last Saturday we had 2 different commercial ops in our area. I did all the required preflight stuff (NOTAMs etc) but for one of the jobs I took it a couple of steps further due to extremely close proximity to our local Hospital with potential for AirMediVac. I notified our local LEA of my flight and called Flight Watch (dispatch for the Heli). The AHJ notified "Communications" and gave them my contact # just in case they had to request AirMediVac in my area.

    About 30 minutes into my first series of flights I got a call from Flight Watch that MAMA#1 was going to be sent to my area. They gave me an exact time, direction and altitude she was arriving from and asked me to maintain 200'AGL or less. Almost immediately our local "Communications" called to notify we had MAMA#1 inbound. Easy to comply. When we heard her approaching we landed immediately just to be on the safe side.

    Once she cleared the area (we watched her land) we took off for another flight. We watched closely as they unloaded the heli and started to take off. Again we landed until all clear. Very easy to do.

    Right as we were about to wrap up our final flight for this job Flight Watch called again to alert us that MAMA#2 was going to be flying directly over our area and asked that we make sure we don't bust 400' AGL. Again easy to do but we were actually already approaching to land when this call came in. We landed and wrapped up the shoot right as MAMA#2 flew over head around 1000'AGL (maybe even more). I called Flight Watch to let them know we were done for the day and we are ALL CLEAR. I then called the local "Communications" to let them know the same.

    This went about as "Text Book" as anyone could wish for in terms of "communications" between various agencies. To say we were pleased would be a HUGE understatement.

    Our generic "communications work flow" looks like this:

    1) Filed NOTAM (more than 24hrs but less than 72hrs prior to flight)
    2) Sent informational email to County Manager, Police Chief, and Sheriff with my full intentions and flight details 48hrs prior to flight.
    3) Notified AHJ the morning of the flight and gave them a firm Start & Stop time.
    4) AHJ notified local "Communications" and gave them all this information and my contact information
    5) Contacted Flight Watch. I contacted them 48hrs in advance and again the morning of the flight. I made another call to them when I was on scene and about to take off for the first flight.
    6) Contacted Flight Watch after the last flight to let them know the area is All Clear in terms of our operations.
    7) I contacted EMS Communications to let them know we were done and the area was All Clear.

    A few extra steps but all worth the couple of extra minutes it took.

    LEA
    - Law Enforcement Agency
    AHJ - Agency Having Jurisdiction
    NOTAM - Notice to Airmen
     
  2. aljoseph

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    Nicely done. I'm always happy to hear of successful outcomes such as you described. It sure beats the heck out of posts wanting to know how high and far can I fly and how can I get around the regs.
     
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  3. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    I completely agree with that.

    I know how hard "jumping through the hoops" can be so I posted this so that some others can learn from it and realize why we do it.
     
  4. shockwave199

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    Saw this posted on FB as well. You have reason to be proud of your efforts and outcome. Nicely done. What was the commercial shoot for?
     
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  5. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    I was contracted by a local "Children's Home" to document a group of motor cyclists who drove across the state of NC raising $$ for the kids. The trip concluded here locally at the Children's Home where the group presented an AWESOME check to the home. I took pics and shot video of the bikes as they drove up a winding road to the estate and up the long drive to where they all congregated for the presentation.
     
  6. av8tor86

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    As both a Military and EMS pilot, and P3P owner I greatly appreciate your efforts to enhance safety for all involved. Bravo.


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
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  7. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    I wouldn't have it any other way brotha. Being a pilot really does give a varying perspective of National Airspace and teaches you respect for separation.

    I hope that others can use this as a template to follow for similar applications.
     
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  8. kevinm

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    @BigAl07 Great work! Thanks for posting your template. The industry needs a standard, professional, workflow people can follow. I'm sure being a pilot has given you a great framework that lets you apply your aviation knowledge to your drone operations.

    It is unfortunate that operating with this level of professionalism requires a great deal of aviation knowledge that isn't realistic for most non-aviation people to acquire. You said that being a pilot lets you appreciate the separation of the airspace and that's difficult concept to grasp without a pilot's background. It's not necessarily that these people are "reckless" (most people really do want to put in the due diligence) but the process can become overwhelming.

    Hopefully in the near future we will have a similar standard workflow of safety for drones that there are for airplanes, with all the necessary tools to make the process easier so that anyone who wants to follow the rules can do so very easily!
     
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  9. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Thank you for the kind words.

    Yes having experience in this type of scenario really does help. It takes some of the "Huh" out of the process. Also it helps that I try to stay current on any new training and this is one instance where all of that up till now really paid off.

    Overwhelming is an understatement. I can't even tell you how much time I spent on the phone trying to obtain the correct phone # to call to get things rolling. I expect this type of "Notification" will be more streamlined at some point in the future. I hope so anyway.

    Yes I am confident that it will happen but it takes time to create, get approved, and implement anything "new". Unfortunately technology has FAR outpaced implementation in this aspect.
     
  10. kevinm

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    @BigAl07 absolutely. Might want to check out AirMap's D-NAS functionality by downloading their iOS app. I'm not sure if the airports in your area are part of their pilot program, but worth checking out.

    NVDash will also be incorporating these features in the hopefully near future.
     
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  11. DirtyHarry

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    Awesome work, any chance we can see the video ?
     
  12. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Once the client reviews it and offers it for public viewing I'll share a link. Because it pertains to the "Children's Home" they are extra careful about what is out there for the public to watch. I'm hoping due to my altitude and angles nothing in the video will be deemed "identifiable" and be able to share it.
     
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  13. DianneB

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    I totally agree and commend you for following good procedure.

    I am a private pilot since 1980 and long-time R/C-er. I belong to a model engineering club who has a property 3.5 miles from the tower at a major international airport and I wanted to do some aerial video at the club so I contacted the airport information desk to see who to talk to. They passed me on to Nav Canada (who administers Canadian airspace and resources). After Nav Canada satisfied themselves that I knew what I was doing and knew the risks, they set some procedures (call before flight, call after flight, call immediately in the event of a fly-away) they passed me to the airport manager. I had a pleasant conversation with him and was passed to the tower manager. The tower manager agreed to the procedure and all was set.

    On the day of the flight op I called the tower, got the active runways, and outlined my flight intentions, and was cleared to go ahead. After the flight, I called them again to tell them I was finished. It went as smooth as possible and I got some great video.

    It inspired me to take a UAV ground school (knowing my PP ground school was decades out of date LOL!) and, since I would like to fly at that location regularly, I decided to apply for a "Special Flight Operations Certificate" from Transport Canada. Once TC got involved, that was the end of "smooth" and "pleasant"! That is an ongoing story ...... and it isn't resolved yet.
     
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  14. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Outstanding work! Do you not have any desire to get "into the air" again? This would be an excellent opportunity (aka excuse) to get your PP certification back to current and flying again. It's like a WIN-WIN situation.
     
  15. DianneB

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    I am 66 and retired, on a pension. Type-certified flying is way too expensive! If I got into it again, I would have to have another plane and that is even more $$$

    But I admit that there is a certain satisfaction being part of 'the community' again, albeit with a UAV.
     
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  16. Archerm

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    Very nice write up. I to contact Flight Watch for my area when I fly. They have always been nice and grateful when I contact them. They have very few flight as it is a small branch of another hospital but it is something you need to do. The tough part was finding out to contact as it took 3 weeks to get the right contact info.
     
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