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Starting a Drone Company

As most of you, when you first purchase your UAV, to become a professional pilot the “to do” list is daunting. First things first take a class and get your Part 107 UAV license from the FAA, which controls all airspace in the USA, costs vary from one group to the next, Remote Pilot 101, Drone U, and many others.

My company works on mapping, videos of construction sites, advancing in to the utility environment. The new pilot needs to fly, fly, fly.

Also, the learning curve for a UAV or drone company is overwhelming at times. Which software will I use for the stitching of the huge files you are going to produce? Which drone, will you purchase? Phantom RTK, Inspire, Matrice (200 or 210), which cameras and lenses?

Does your computer have the needed memory and processing ability. This is very important especially if you decide to use software’s like Pix4D, the most advanced, and also the hardest to learn. Huge files some as large as 300 to 800 GB.

My company had a tower built with 6 – 3.2 GHz processors, 64GB of SSD RAM, and the best video card on the market. When using Pix 4D it took 18 hrs of dedicated 100% CPU use to create the orthomosaic, 18 hrs later I had to then get to the reporting and highlighting. Really it took too much computer dedicated time,  One cloud based platform Drone Deploy, that processes on their computers, and then is downloaded via zip files. Which you will need the proper software for that also. The KISS method is always best when starting a new venture.

When you get those large zip files, how do you do your overlays and what system or software are you using to put the individual pieces together? ACAD (very expensive and extremely difficult to use, IMSI TCAD is my demon of choice and great support.

Like most things though, apparently the Phantom 4 Pro V2 and that platform are now discontinued. The Phantom 4 RTK, and other smaller more compact units seem to be challenging their big brothers. So keep this in mind when selecting your starter drone.

Keep an eye on new developing platforms to fly, which drone gives you the greatest spectrum of uses, or that the drone/camera setup will give you the desired effects.

Next, after deciding which UAV you purchase, then you need to look into accessories and setup. Things like landing pads, charging station while on site, shade and water (I am in Phoenix so the summers can be brutal at 115 degrees). Binoculars, good sunglasses, a brimmed hat for the sun, hotspot on your smart phone, or a hotspot 5G capable, to connect to your I Pad for up linking to clients or servers, Micro SD cards (64 GB or larger)

Carrying cases (heavy duty), if you are working out of a pick up, you may want to consider a slide glide for the bed of your truck. Maybe a small generator so you can charge while in the field. 600 acres will burn  6 – 8 batteries to complete the mission, dependent on altitude and wind, etc., mini tool kit, water cooler and a thermos, a weighted landing pad to keep the sand and dirt from getting into the UAV bearings.

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