The New Aerotas Drone Surveying Checklist
Aerotas has always held that checklists are one of the best ways to ensure that your drone surveying program is safe, fast, and reliable. Over the past few years, we have overseen more than 3,500 drone surveying missions, and we’ve learned a lot along the way. We have made numerous minor tweaks and improvements to our checklists over that time, and today we are proud to announce a complete redesign of our drone surveying checklist.
The newest version of our checklist is smaller, laminated, and designed to always stay with your drone kit. The checklist will be used along side a paper companion flight log that is now longer so that it can record information about more of your flights. The old checklist was a single piece of paper that combined both the checklist and the flight log; you used a single checklist for each flight. Now, one checklist can be used across multiple flights, and the flight log can hold more information.
The checklist has been streamlined, to get rid of unnecessary steps, and focus on the critical information that you and your team needs to know. Every step has also been updated to ensure that it is up to date with the latest in technological capabilities, legal requirements, and industry best practices. Lastly, the checklist has been designed to work across a broader range of UAV hardware, so almost any aircraft can use the latest checklist.
We have also added a new backside to our checklist that includes valuable mission planning guidance. It is not a checklist for good operations, but rather a handy reference guide to use when planning a mission, setting ground control points, and collecting field data. The mission planning guidance can be especially useful for pilots who haven’t flown a drone survey in a while.
Why make these changes?
The new checklist is more efficient and easier to use than the old checklist. And, by making them easier to use, people are more likely to actually use them on every flight, which is what they were designed for! The old checklist was great, but used a lot of paper and required a lot of individual checkboxes, which were often just passed over. By streamlining the process, the new checklist will be used more regularly to minimize those little mistakes that can cause problems.
How to use the new checklist:
The new checklist should always be kept with the drone, and used as a reference at every step of the flight process. Use it to make sure you have gone through all the important steps of mission planning and packing your equipment and to make sure you are ready by the time you head out to the field. Once in the field, use it to run through your site prep, aircraft inspection, and flight preparations. Finally, after your flight, use the flight log to keep a written record of all of your flights (this definitely comes in handy if you ever have contact with the FAA).
Following a checklist is not about teaching a novice how to do something. Instead, it is about making sure you don’t forget the little things that can have a big impact on the entire operation. We ripped this page directly out of the manned aviation playbook. Even pilots who have accumulated thousands of hours of flying time use a checklist on every flight. The checklist was introduced by Boeing in 1935, as a permanent and mandatory tool, and today, you can’t takeoff or land a commercial airplane without a mandatory checklist being used by the pilots. While the stakes are not quite as high when using a drone, not being able to fly a mission because of a minor oversight, like forgetting to put an SD memory card in your case, is one of the most frustrating experiences out there. Using a checklist will help you avoid the minor mistakes, and ensure you don’t accidentally make major ones too.
Get the Aerotas Drone Surveying Checklist
Want Aerotas to mail you a laminated copy of our new checklist? Enter your contact information below and we would be happy to mail you one free of charge, as well as email you a digital copy of the checklist for your records.