Ed O'Grady

Hurricane Harvey recovery

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I was not in Houston and didn't even try to go there.  I went directly to Rockport along the Gulf Coast to help with relief efforts that were in full swing.  The search and rescue phase there was already completed.  We did grunt work - tree cutting, cleanup etc.

Our team of 6, including 4 pilots and 2 VOs were ready to go to Houston to help with the Red Cross mapping effort being organized by Ty Audronis originally.  We had submitted our registration form, talked to him and geared up for the project but as the situation progressed we were instructed to stand down until things calmed down a bit.  My observations were only from what I was told from people on the ground in Houston, what I read in news reports/media coverage and what I experienced in Rockport.

We did more good clearing trees and peoples homes than we did trying to fly drones for relief organizations.  Real, tangible good.  I felt a level of satisfaction that I wouldn't have gotten standing around waiting for the airspace to clear to fly and obtain maps that were already accessible via satellite imagery.

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Interesting turn of events.  I just got a call from Ty Audronis who was initially organizing the relief missions for Houston.  He has requested us to head back out to Rockport (where we just returned from) to do missions for various relief organizations - and possibly FEMA - to document homes that need assistance.  Wish us well!

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On 8/31/2017 at 8:20 AM, Spitfire76 said:

Looks like these guys are trying to help out - @Alan Perlman does this have anything to do with the "droneups" tab up top ?

https://www.droneup.com

 

No, it does not! I may remove that tab for now :)

Interestingly enough, I did some digging into DroneUp this morning and didn't like what I found! Daniel Herbert, a stand-up guy who moderates an industry FB group, wrote this:

Quote

So, DroneUp has illegally used a photo I took of our team in the Houston area to promote their organization, claiming that we're working for them. This couldn't be further from the truth. We have left our families and jobs and fought through ridiculous difficulties to help and to prove to the world that proper drone integration in emergency management is truly a viable option. For a photo of our team to be taken and used to promote an unsafe organization that encourages illegal activity in the NAS is sickening to me. DroneUp and Tom Walker are trouble and seeking attention above responsible business and responsible flying. I encourage all of you to consider this prior to engaging with this organization.

I can't comment on the "promote an unsafe organization that encourages illegal activity in the NAS," but if that's actually happening, that's good for no one!

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7 minutes ago, Alan Perlman said:

No, it does not! I may remove that tab for now :)

Interestingly enough, I did some digging into DroneUp this morning and didn't like what I found! Daniel Herbert, a stand-up guy who moderates an industry FB group, wrote this:

I can't comment on the "promote an unsafe organization that encourages illegal activity in the NAS," but if that's actually happening, that's good for no one!

Wow!. Good to know, someone should let CBS News know about them.

 

Edited by Spitfire76

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This podcast brings up some interesting things about commercial operations, not all storm related.

There's a segment about agriculture that highlights some of the conversation that has taken place on this forum.  Collectively we talk about the data drones can collect, 90% of which is visual, is there value in visual data?  How does the consumer of the data benefit and what is that worth? 

This thread quickly turned towards the FAA's warning, restricting drone flight, the majority of warnings mentioned in this podcast about why people need to have a 107 had nothing to do with flying the drone.  It was more about what it takes to be prepared to operate and survive in that environment.  

You can quickly see the scope of the problem when the drone panned around showing the area the flooding has affected.  It's almost just as interesting what you don't see in those images, people, aircraft, vehicles, very little signs of life.  These guys were tasked with scanning a small chlorination pump at a water treatment facility.  In my opinion what's important isn't that operators have a 107, it's in what data needs to be collected and how quickly and accurately can it be collected.  How do those missions come about, how are the assets deployed and how is the data collected.  This is a huge logistical challenge that requires WAY MORE resources than currently available.

The prerequisite for this type of mission should not be whether an operator has a 107, it should be whether they have the experience to survive in this type of environment for the required period of time.  Sure the requirement to have a 107 would hopefully filter out many of the idiots with Phantoms, but a Phantom in the hands of someone with this type of disaster relief experience could be a very valuable tool.   

So there's no single right or wrong answer here but as devastating as this is Nature has provided an opportunity for companies serious about developing communications, better instrumentation, and payloads, mission planning etc., to experiment and develop systems that can be useful in the future.

 

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