For safety, compliance with regulations, and to produce a satisfactory outcome for the customer, we use processes and checklists much like manned aircraft operations. For every job:
- At the time of agreeing to the work, we discuss the desired result with the client within the limitations of airspace rules, FAA regulations, equipment capabilities and predicted weather. An estimated number of hours is agreed upon.
- The day before the operation the pilot in command (PIC) downloads the map materials and programs them into the drone controller. He also checks Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) for temporary airspace restrictions, problems with navigation aids and other possible issues. He also checks the weather forecast for the time and location of the operation.
- The day before, we check that all batteries necessary for the operation -- aircraft, controller and radios -- are charged and ready to go.
- The morning of the operation, we check NOTAMS and weather again, noting any changes.
- Upon arriving at the site, the PIC and observer (if any) walk the perimeter of the operations area looking for any possible issues.
- Weather radio is turned on and any last minute changes or trends noted. PIC notes actual wind, visibility and ceiling conditions.
- Air band radio is turned on to monitor local air traffic.
- If crew are working with the PIC, roles are discussed and the basic framework of the operation is finalized.
- Preflight checklist is completed.
- Before takeoff, final scan of the area for bystanders is completed. If any potential conflicts are observed, they are resolved.
- Aircraft lifts off and in-flight checklist commences.
- Operation executed.
- Landing and post-flight checklist.
- Footage and stills reviewed with customer, if present, on laptop.
- Additional operations if necessary.
- The customer will be provided with a link via email to a Dropbox folder to retrieve video or stills.