What to Look For in a Drone Inspection Company
In the past few years, the commercial sector has embraced drone technology as a revolutionary innovation. Capable of capturing hard-to-reach places and collecting labor-intensive measurements with ease, they have a vast portfolio of applications that is ever-growing. For those looking to capitalize on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), though, you need to know what to look for in a skilled drone company.
Signs of a Reputable Drone Company
1. Specialized Experience
What a lot of start-up drone companies don’t have is specialized experience. Anyone can learn to fly a drone and take pictures, but only a trained expect in construction at the helm will know what defects they are looking for on site. By extension, these specialists will know how to help interpret those images for the building architects, engineers, and contractors.
Beyond images and video, a qualified drone company will have a certified thermographer on staff. Professionals only earn this distinction by going through specialized training in thermography. They can interpret infrared images that detect moisture and heat loss of roofs and building envelopes, which allow them write a detailed report in a technical format to present to project managers. Thermal imaging can be an invaluable piece of information about a project, as it’s often the only way to identify invisible problems or flaws before they become a significant issue.
2. Full FAA Compliance
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) brought about a remote pilot certificate to create effective regulations for the ever-evolving commercial drone industry. While you can fly a drone without the license, you can only do so for recreational purposes. With this certificate—more commonly known as a drone license—you are qualified to operate any drone weighing 55 pounds or less for commercial or government uses.
Under current regulations, there are operating requirements that a pilot agrees to when they become certified to ensure the safety of the UAV’s use. A drone cannot operate within five miles of an airport without specific FAA authorization, for example. Other rules involve the pilot’s responsibility when flying drone technology like only operating one at a time, flying during daylight hours, never letting the drone out of sight of the naked eye, and having a second visual observer if flying a first-person view aircraft.
While a remote pilot certificate is an important qualification, it is essentially meaningless on a construction site without the support of the industry knowledge mentioned earlier. Look for a team that regularly works in higher pressure industry situations, like flying near power lines, which require a steady pilot that can operate drone technology completely manually. Special FAA waivers, like the Daylight Operations Waiver that allows night droning, are also reputable signs of a qualified team.
3. Advanced Equipment
Not all drone technology is created equal, and you have a lot to gain from hiring a team that is capable of more than just shooting footage with their UAV. Some companies have high-end drones in their fleet that perform better, faster, and smarter than standard drones that any amateur could buy. These devices have cameras that can capture 20-megapixel photos and 4k HD video, perform infrared scanning, make measurements, and analyze data.
4. Extensive Insurance Coverage
An essential question you need to ask a potential drone company is if they have insurance, and if they do, how extensive is their coverage. Top contenders carry a minimum of $1,000,000 of insurance coverage at all times. This number can increase to $25,000,000 or more depending on the size and value of a project. Policies usually cover damage and liability in the unlikely event of an accident, as well as give access to city permits needed for some flights.
Insurance is a reliable indicator of a reputable drone company not only because it assures protection when an issue arises but also because of the steps the company must take to get approved. Proof of a remote pilot certificate, for example, is needed to have access to a drone policy. Their insurance company will also require a record of add-ons to the drone to accommodate for added potential risk, so more substantial monetary coverage often converts to more high-tech equipment in use.
Whether you need drone technology to get a birds-eye view or their thermal imaging and data collecting capacities caught your attention, look for a UAV company that can do it all. Aerial Visions, LLC, is Ohio’s premier drone company, with FAA-certified pilots thoroughly trained in both flight operations as well as the photo and videography aspects of the job. Its owner founded the company due to a need for drone photography and thermal imaging for his own roofing business. Now their team makes it their mission to provide these services for projects of all kinds––construction or otherwise. For more information about how this insured, Akron, OH, based drone company can benefit your business.