Leading Edge Associates

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  1. Hi Blaine, Thanks for your response! Funny you should mention Orange County... Actually we work very closely with most of the mosquito control districts in California and are under contract with a few for applications this summer. We also sell our systems to them and we offer training for them to become proficient in aerial applications (along with Part 107 and hands-on flight lessons if they need that, too). Orange County Vector is actually one of our customers - we just finished training four of their pilots earlier this summer. :). The fact that you mentioned Aedes, shows they are doing their job down there and, interestingly enough, combating that particular mosquito species is one of the main reasons we are in business. California has a very interesting avenue for licensing of UAS for mosquito control pilots which just recently became available this month. They can take an additional exam (in addition to the Part 107 and Vector Control Technician Certification exam for Public Health) through the Department of Pesticide Regulations. If they pass that successfully, they can begin spraying for District operations. Mosquito control is considered public health therefore we recommend a District apply for a COA and operate under the Public Use Aircraft guidelines. So, they are in a very good position now and have our full support and guidance when needed. We do a lot of training for mosquito control as it is so rare to find anyone that knows aerial pesticide applications that isn't already working as an agricultural pilot (crop duster). And across the US, ag pilots have been quite vocal against UAS noting safety concerns since we regularly share the same low level airspace (less than 80 feet AGL) and do the same work with applying pesticides. We just don't do as many acres as they can in the same amount of time (yet!). We have sold some of our systems to crop dusters as they are seeing the increased revenue potential for specialty crops and such. so that's pretty cool. Perhaps the attitudes are slowly beginning to change? There are many more applications for UAS in the pest control industry and we are finding more every day - maybe this is the start of a unique group of UAS pilots for the very near future? Again, thank for you Blaine. I appreciate your interest and response on this topic! Best regards, Piper
  2. Thanks, Chuck. We have three pilots now and two in training so that's the path we are on now. Just hoping to find more. Your website is great by the way! Thanks for responding! -Piper
  3. Hi from Piper in Northern California! Our two companies, Leading Edge Aerial Technologies and Leading Edge Associates, Inc, are expanding (yaay!) and we would like some recommendations on how to find experienced pilots to hire. Since we are one of the very few commercial UAS companies in the US that perform aerial applications (i.e. spraying) by unmanned aerial systems and we work in many states, we fit into a very unique category when it comes to the drone business. Having worked in the mosquito control industry for over 30 years, we have focused our efforts in vector control which is very rewarding although challenging work. Now we are adding precision applications for agriculture, forestry and weed control to our business profile as well as imagery and aerial surveillance. While we work in many states in the West (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona) performing our applications, California (as some of you may know) has been a tricky state when it comes to regulations for UAS pesticide applications and requirements for pilots. So, the pilots we need to hire need more than just a Part 107 certificate. Additionally, since we are in this interesting "niche" of aerial work, we have been designing and flying our own custom drones and flight planning software for over 5 years now. Just another cool thing we do :). Any suggestions from the community on where we can find the right people for this kind of work? Thank you in advance! -Piper Kimball, Vector Biologist Leading Edge Associates/Leading Edge Aerial Technologies
  4. Hi Ranchwise! This is Piper from Leading Edge Associates. We have been applying pesticides for mosquito (our background for over 30 years - Lee County Mosquito Control is one of our customers) and weed control for almost 2 years now. We are also testing UAS application technologies for certain agricultural crops - particularly rice. And yes, the state regulations can be quite variable but you will need the 137 regardless. We are one of only a handful of pesticide UAS applicators in the US and it took us 3 years to get to this point through regular contact with the FAA. Our exemption includes the Yamaha RMAX as well as other aircraft including our own engineered systems. We are also a DJI dealer so we have experience with the Agras MG-1 and MG-1s (using RTK in the rice fields to control for weeds). But currently our favorite aircraft is the PV600 (PrecisionVision 600) - engineered from a DJI Matrice 600 airframe but redesigned to perform granular and liquid applications using our own flight planning software. We also teach classes in aerial applications using UAS as well as sell the systems plus we do contract applications in several states (California, Utah, Colorado, and Montana to name a few). We would be more than happy to discuss the opportunities (and challenges) available to you. You can check out our website www.leateam.com for more information. Bill Reynolds is the person to contact. It would be great to see more folks with backgrounds like yours getting into UAS applications and the costs are not as expensive as you may think. I have attached photos of Bill and the PV600 set up for granular applications.
  5. Thanks, Alan. I appreciate your quick response! -Piper
  6. Thanks, Alan. Still waiting for our amendment on our 333 to spray for mosquito control (should hear something in two months). Currently we are aware of only one company that can do this with FAA approval - Yamaha with their RMAX in California. Hopefully, we will be next! With Zika virus in the news, all of our clients want to know about the restrictions of flying over urban areas to find mosquito breeding sources. Any thoughts on how others are able to fly over populated areas for real estate, movie work, etc, and not have to run into this restriction by the FAA? PS- Still need work on our website but will have better images posted as we complete more projects! It's going to be a crazy summer for us!!
  7. Sorry about being a bit late in responding. We are looking into LiDAR and multi-spectral imagery for golf course surveying, agriculture and mosquito control surveillance (wetland habitat, ponds, swamps, marshes, etc). So far we have seen excellent results with the multi-spectral camera we have on our multi-rotor PrecisionVision 5 (PV5). Did some work in the Florida Keys which turned out nicely. We are currently incorporating this camera into our PrecisionVision 10 (PV10) as well which carries a 10 pound payload. This one is a single mast helicopter. We are really excited about the precision measurements with the LiDAR as well, but have yet to purchase the sensor yet. Perhaps you can check that out online. You can check out our website if you're interested in the PV10. www.leateam.com. We are still waiting for an amendment to our 333 for our larger scale helicopter which will carry a 30 pound payload but the PV10 is approved for purchase.