Jesse Austin

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  1. Nice, that should give me a solid foundation for studying. What is the purpose of locating dots buried under magenta shading?
  2. I will definitely do some research on General Atomics. Thank you for the contact information. I’ll sit down this week and write you an email. Here’s my email as well: By the way, it’s a shame the Army phased out the OH-58. Beautiful aircraft. I had the pleasure of flying an Alpha/Chuck during BWS. It flew like a champ.
  3. I downloaded some study material off the FAA website. Hopefully that will give me the information I need for the test. If you have any suggestions on test preparation, you’re knowledge would be greatly appreciated. Based on the research I’ve done so far, it seems like small commercial drones are currently more accessible for newbies like myself. I brought up Predators as a possible path I could take to gain some experience.
  4. The Phantom 4 gives you about 30 minutes flight time, right? Is there a way to increase that flight time? How much flight time does a VTOL give you? I did a little google searching on 3D Robotics and Sitescan. Both programs look fantastic! Do you freelance or do you work for a company?
  5. Bill/David, What would be the best equipment/drone to use for that type of work?
  6. Bill, Another great idea. That way I can utilize my degree to some capacity. Any idea if the EPA is using drones and if they use contractors? I think using drone imaging would be more a cost effective option than a manned aircraft. Plus it would give you access to those hard to reach areas like wetlands that would require a helicopter and a photographer. What kind of software do drones use to map out topography?
  7. David, Thanks for the advice! I never really thought about the subcontracting path. That way the larger businesses can cut through most of the red tape with the local and federal government.
  8. Av8chuck, I think the best way to approach military contracts is not to approach them at all. Once the military realizes they need help they'll open the doors for bidding.
  9. Pat, The Army does a lot of things that are penny wise and pound foolish, which ends up costing them more money in the long run. I don't get it. I think the Army needs some financial planners to help them manage their assets. The Air Force and Navy seem to manage their money a lot more efficiently. I don't think it's wise to put cooks into a technically demanding field such as UAV operation. Not to be condescending, but there's a reason why they were chosen to be cooks and not placed in a technical field to begin with. That has to do with maturity, their technical aptitude, and overall intelligence. Like the Air Force, I think pulling from the pilot ranks gives the operator an advantage with airspace knowledge as well as a technical and operational experience. This would make more operational and fiscal sense. The Army is currently using former Warrant Officer pilots who needed a job after they phased out the OH-58 Kiowa as platoon leaders in the UAV world. They aren't even allowed to fly the UAV. Enlisted guys with very little operational experience are flying the UAVs. Nothing against enlisted guys, I was one myself, but they don't have the experience you would get from the Warrant Officer or experienced RLO side of things. If I were king for a day... I took a short civilian class through the Army called "Contracting Officer Representative." It was a very informative and interesting class. Earned a certificate for whatever that's worth. Anyways, I suppose if you can network with a contracting representative it might help a new company gain a little traction with a military contract. It seems like a military contract is more trouble than it's worth. The civilian side seems like it has a lot more potential and application. If the big issue with civilian UAV contracting is the lack of personnel and increased deployment times due to a lack of personnel, why wouldn't they make the requirements to be an operator less stringent? Wouldn't it make more sense to hire someone with an aptitude and train from within. I looked at some of the requirements to be an operator and it seems a little unnecessary. It seems like unless you have a fair amount of experience with the military flying UAVs or a larger civilian company, you're not even getting your foot through the door. Not to toot my own horn, but look at a person like myself. I have valuable operational experience as a flight lead and air mission commander performing numerous air assaults. I already have an air sense, operating both tactically in hostile foreign environments and flying in NAS all over the United States. I'm a mission briefer, so I have experience on the safety side of aviation. Working as a maintenance test pilot and maintenance officer, I have management and technical skills, not to mention a high technical aptitude. I use excel on a daily basis for aircraft status reports. After Instructor Pilots release new pilots from their initial progression, they release them to the maintenance test pilots to continue their training. We're usually the most experienced pilots because so much is expected of us on an operational, maintenance, and training level. Anything I'm lacking I can learn. Hell, I know how a civilian employment works. I would be perfectly content with an entry level job with a chance to move up the ranks based on work ethic. I would just need a chance to prove myself.
  10. Luke, I'm really interested in how Law Enforcement integrates drones into their every day operations. Do they use them for traffic and SWAT operations?
  11. Pat, With drones becoming more advanced, perhaps they'll go down the path of civilian contracting. Army Aviation is going through quite a few changes these days. With the airlines opening the flood gates and the high optempo with less Aviators and Maintainers to do the job, a lot of people are looking for other opportunities. With that said, if I wanted to explore other avenues of Army Aviation, HRC would be very reluctant to let a UH-60M pilot make the switch to UAV. I could always make the switch back to the Navy. I have a degree in Biology/Chemistry, which would fill the requirements for OCS. Unfortunately I don't have an engineering degree, which would be more beneficial. From what I've experienced with Army drone operation, it is difficult to integrate drones into OCONUS training due to FAA regulations. I'm not sure if it's because of a bunch of red tape at the top or it's because the the aircraft are not instrument rated. I'm sure they'll figure it out soon enough. The thought of deploying into primitive, remote areas doesn't bother me at all. It's pretty much been my entire deployment history. What I'd have to consider would be the constant deployments. I have a young family, so it would be hard on us. They are used to me being away from home, but a constant rotation of 9 months on and 30-45 days in between would be difficult. Do you happen to know how long they maintain that type of deployment cycle? The drone community has so much potential on the civilian side. I just wish it was more established. I'm a quick learner, so I have that going for me. I'm not looking to be a "hero" per say, I just want to get the job done the most efficient way possible. I'm not interested in being a "spotlight Ranger." It think it's silly. On a daily basis I work closely with the full spectrum of ranks and I learn something from everyone I work with. I feel that's the key to making informed and decisive decisions. To me, the rank structure is just what it is and doesn't define a person's ability to think. If being a team player and working efficiently is playing the game, then it will come naturally to me. Pay is important to me of course, but I also realize it'll be an entry level job. I'm perfectly fine with that as long as there is potential for growth. Thank you for taking the time to respond and I greatly appreciate your advice. If anything else comes to mind, please feel free to share it with me.
  12. Thank you, gentlemen, for this information. It is greatly appreciated. PatR, I would like to have a discussion on this topic if you have the time and any connections to contracting would be greatly appreciated. I’m not limiting myself to these platforms I mentioned, it’s just I feel this may be the best way for me to get my feet wet in the field. I’m even contemplating an MOS change to in the Army to expose myself to the military side of it. I’m a Warrant Officer 3, so I won’t be piloting, but I would be dealing with operations and the maintenance side. How much is Law Enforcement relying on drones currently?
  13. Thank you for the quick and honest response! I realize the UAV field is in it’s infant stages, even in current military operations. The Army is still writing the manuals on how to integrate UAVs in their combat operations and NAS, which means there is a lot of room for growth. It also means there is very little official guidance, which is why I’m reaching out and trying to network. The UAV field is a recent interest for me, so I’m still looking to get my bearings straight with the practical application of unmanned systems in the commercial industry and law enforcement. My experience with military application is through air assault operations in Afghanistan. My interest goes beyond simple piloting. I’m a maintenance test pilot/maintenance manager for the UH-60M with significant experience, so I’m naturally inclined to the maintenance and engineering side of the field. Long story short, I’m looking for a foothold in the field working with larger UAV platforms to include, but not limited to the Predator, Reaper, and Scan-eagle. I recently discovered a position on a website offering an OCONUS helicopter to UAV transition as a civilian contractor for the military. Basically this company will train rotary wing aviators to fly an unspecified UAV system overseas for the military. Almost seems too good to be true. What are your thoughts?
  14. I’m currently an Army Aviator interested in pursuing a career in the UAV field. Can anyone give me some pointers on how to gain flight hours and make myself marketable? Also, are there any entry level job positions that will train helicopter pilots looking to make the transition?