A day in the life?


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I don't know if something like this has been posted before, but

I'd love to get some insight on a what a typical day, week, and/or month is like for a commercial UAV pilot. Give us the juicy details so us beginners can get a good idea of what its like! :)

How much time do you spend per project?

How do you go about setting up for a each project?

How much traveling do you do?

Answers to questions like these would greatly be appreciated. Thanks!

 

 

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5 hours ago, Nifty_Brandon said:

I don't know if something like this has been posted before, but

I'd love to get some insight on a what a typical day, week, and/or month is like for a commercial UAV pilot. Give us the juicy details so us beginners can get a good idea of what its like! :)

How much time do you spend per project?

How do you go about setting up for a each project?

How much traveling do you do?

Answers to questions like these would greatly be appreciated. Thanks!

 

 

I have a unique position that allows me to use a UAS but my primary responsibilities are more tied to field collection of utility data (primary) and then everything else (any assets the university owns, maintains, or is adjacent to our property). I fly as much as time and weather allow. It is never as much as I would like. On average I log 3-4 hours a month of actual flight time and roughly five times that amount in paperwork associated with the flights, maintenance, planning and record keeping as well as processing the imagery that we collect.

Projects vary in size from a week to a couple of years. We mainly fly a pre-construction site set of imagery and then milestone events for utilities as well as a final set once construction is complete. It can be as simple as a few hours to fly a simple project to months covering a capital construction project. Getting a project off the ground always starts in a series of pre-construction meetings with the Systems reps on our side and the general and sub-contractors to lay out the ground work such as requirements on our side (no crew on-site to avoid flying over people/moving vehicles, site security, ect...) and address concerns on their side. You also have to identify your milestone events and determine the scheduling in order to meet your goals. Then it becomes a matter of your basic flight planning and procedures to get each flight off the ground safely and complete the mission or series of mission. Follow that up with processing the data and all the record-keeping that is also required.

I don't travel outside my immediate area; I work for a university on the construction side so travel is not an option (and I've done enough earlier in life that I've gotten that out of my system). My job allows me the full run of our system and I have excellent support from my upper level management so I am basically free to set my own priorities and implement the plan as I see fit without too much interference. 

Sorry for the general answers but its really hard to quantify a generic answer when everything we do is basically unique on a per-project basis.

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This is a fun post, because the answers are going to be all over the place.  I'm looking forward to seeing the diversity in our lives as UAV operators, so thanks for posting this one up!

I own a small commercial media company, and we provide all manner of services related to real estate, marketing, web content, etc.  Still photos, video, aerial service, 3D interior rendering, 3D geospatial mapping, floor plan creation, cinematic video creation, and so on.  Regarding UAV work specifically, here's some data:

Flight time per project ranges anywhere from 10 minutes to a few hours

Setting up a project is specific to the scope of work.  Some flights require nothing more than a pre-flight checklist.  Others require notification of flight to neighboring houses or businesses, or organizing a flight plan with a site-manager at a high profile gated community.  A cinematic video production can require meetings with hired talent, directors, and in the case of real-estate related work meetings with developers, architects, marketing departments, and so on.

Our company is based on the island of Maui, and we service the entirety of the island, as well as other islands like Hawai'i (big island) and O'ahu.  Now and again we'll get contracted to do some work on the mainland, but it's pretty rare these days, as the media provider scene has become quite saturated with good talent.

On top of all of that, we volunteer for Maui Search & Rescue, and I lead the drone team.  So, there's fly time there as well.

There ya' have it!

Edited by JBR LIFE Photography
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