Isabella | UAV Coach

Hurricane Florence | Drones May Aid Hurricane Relief Efforts

Recommended Posts

Today, Hurricane Florence is making its approach to the U.S. East Coast as a Category 2 hurricane. Most heavily impacting the Carolinas, the hurricane is expected to produce dangerous winds and catastrophic flash flooding. Not trailing far behind, Tropical Storm Isaac is passing over the Caribbean, and an unnamed tropical disturbance has been spotted in the Gulf of Mexico.

As the U.S. braces itself for this torrent of storm activity, first responders are readying to provide aid and relief with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), also called drones. During the storm, drones can perform critical tasks, such as spotting people in need of urgent help and delivering medical supplies. After the storm, as residents cope with loss of power, closed roadways, and damaged property, drones can also assist. From the air, drones can aid in power line repairs and help assess roadway and property damage, leading to faster repairs.

The FAA recently issued a warning to drone users that they cannot fly near the disaster area without authorization. Otherwise, they could face a fine up to $20,000. Read the FAA's full statement and more on drone use in natural disaster relief efforts in our article "Hurricane Florence and Multiple Storms Approach Atlantic and Gulf Coast | Drones May Aid Hurricane Relief Efforts."

Will you be in the path of Hurricane Florence or involved with relief efforts? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Isabella | UAV Coach said:

Will you be in the path of Hurricane Florence or involved with relief efforts? 

We are currently on standby and will be tasked with remote damage assessment after the storm passes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From FAA re Florence recovery.  I believe that this is not an authorization to fly anywhere but instead a restirction to 200 AGL where otherwise 400 would be the max.  I'm fairly certain that authorization requirements are the same as always.

 

Hurricane Florence: Information for Drone Operators

September 14 Update

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Special Notice restricting drone operations supporting Hurricane Florence recovery efforts to an altitude of 200 feet above the ground while operating in North and South Carolina. As a reminder, all drone operators are required to give way to manned aircraft at all times.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@R Martin and @Luke, I will be VERY curious as to how this request plays out. vI too am on standby but have serious doubts as to the payment schedule.  If it actually comes to fruition, that will be great.  I am only 2 hours south of the reference point so I am relatively local.  Plus I have relatives in the diseaster area as well ( they are all fine).  I'm just a bit suspicious - as I am with anything that sounds too good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Ed O'Grady said:

@R Martin and @Luke, I will be VERY curious as to how this request plays out. vI too am on standby but have serious doubts as to the payment schedule.  If it actually comes to fruition, that will be great.  I am only 2 hours south of the reference point so I am relatively local.  Plus I have relatives in the diseaster area as well ( they are all fine).  I'm just a bit suspicious - as I am with anything that sounds too good.

This is not a paid gig. We do damage assessment remotely from a secure site using GIS and other assets provided to us. We did the same for Harvey as well as disease mapping for the ebola outbreak a few years back. Very little travel required. There is also a UAS group that deploys for the state but I am not part of that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Ed O'Grady said:

Apologies, @R Martin, I thought you were working with the same group @Luke discussed above.

No harm, no foul. I had asked to incorporate a UAS into our operation but the idea was declined for fear that it would detract from the mission; that, and another UAS group was already in place to perform the role. GIS is my profession so I feel that I am more useful in that role to the organization but I would still like to fly in support of disaster relief if I could. You can't always get what you want.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Ed O'Grady, that's kinda funny how you just "hey" me. I like that ! ? Anyways, They have been sending emails keeping pilots updated on the status of the hurricane, and road conditions. I'm still on standby, and have been notified to update my own information to help them sort out who will work best in affected areas. Right now they haven't been deploying very many pilots because the hurricane is calming down a little. Also, there aren't very many areas they really need a pilot in either. This is the latest email they sent me :

 

Hello Pilots,

As another day passes there is very little news on deployments to assist with telecom / infrastructure inspections.  The common theme we continue to hear is that the clients are simply holding off deploying assets until they feel it is a viable option to get a look at their towers and equipment.  With the flooding to crest tomorrow, we can see that access to many areas still remains impossible.

Depending upon the affected areas, it might be 3-4 more days before roads are accessible; therefore, if you traveled to the area to be part of the response effort, we appreciate your patience, and we also understand the overhead associated with the travel.  If you have traveled to the area and/or have other opportunities for sUAS services, we understand you can not stay in limbo for an indefinite period of time.

In speaking to a few of the pilots on the ground near the affected areas, we are told that there is much less visible wind destruction but lots and lots of flooded roads that are not passable.

As always, as soon as we hear more we will send another update - tomorrow.

Thank you all for the continued patience and your partnership in this effort.
  
If you have additional questions, please reply to this email at PilotNetwork@SkySourceAerial.com

 

If you want anymore info on this just "hey !" me again.?

 

Luke Dietz,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the post @Luke.  I am not expecting to be called on this but I am hoping you and other folks do get the cal to arms.  If everything that has been promised comes to fruition it will be a win/win I expect.  Keep passing it along if you can and if you do go, be safe.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @Ed O'Grady, I'm not expecting to be called out either. But there is still the chance that i will be. To be honest, I'm just a dude with a drone, Certificate and the know how. I've only had around 85 flights with some mid ranged drones. If I do go, I will be safe and keep you guys updated on what's going on up there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just got this email:

 

Hello Pilots,

We received communications today; however, instead the first wave of pilot activations and deployments, we were informed there will be minimal sUAS pilot deployments for telecom / power infrastructure inspections.  The primary reason being the lack of wind damage, and as power is getting restored the telecom assets were "minimally impacted."

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have suffered loss of loved ones, and those personally impacted by the devastation left behind from Hurricane Florence.

As stated previously, we appreciate your patience and willingness to offer assistance to those in need, you are to be commended.  If we receive pilot activations in the coming days/weeks, we will be calling the pilots who are based in the NC/SC area. 

Thank you all for the continued patience and your partnership in this effort.
  
If you have additional questions, please reply to this email at PilotNetwork@SkySourceAerial.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is what I expected.  Plus, I had some "inside info" and by that I mean my brother lives in Sunset Beach NC and was right in the crosshairs.  He elected to take a hurrication and come south to my place to ride it out.  He was back Sunday am with no damage whatsoever and his power was back Sunday afternoon.  Flooding is a big problem and water is always the most serious side of these storms, but no big demand for drone operations  The big guys have their own nowadays or at least a contracted operation that they know and trust.  They certainly don't want me flying around their cell towers or high tension lines (I agree).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These types of storms can certainly be catostrophic and it’s hard to comprehend loosing most everything you own in a flood or fire etc.. 

It’s bitter sweet that it appears the media overhyped this storm.  I know people will say better to be warned than not take it seriously, but that’s kind of a false narrative.  All hurricanes are serious and can cause serious destruction.  

But here in California the media almost immediately started debating climate change and making it political.  There’s a reall cost associated with evacuating so many people, it would be nice if agencies weren’t quite so CYA and the media wasn’t so much about ratings. 

But what the hell, I’m on the left coast so I lost touch with reality years ago.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, They closed operations to us the other day. Looks Like I can stay home, and dry :) Would've been kinda interesting to see what's really going on over there, But I wasn't too fond of staying over there for to long.

 

This was the last email they sent me:

Hello Pilots,

Minimal sUAS pilot deployments have been used in the Hurricane Florence recovery efforts, in all fields, not just telecom / power infrastructure inspections.  Power companies and insurance companies received BVLOS and were used to assess damage, but the number of sUAS pilots utilized is significantly less than initially estimated. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have suffered loss of loved ones, and those personally impacted by the devastation left behind from Hurricane Florence.

As stated previously, we appreciate your willingness to offer assistance to those in need, you are to be commended. 

IF we receive pilot activations in the coming days/weeks, we will be calling the pilots who are based in the NC/SC area.  Also, as previously stated, it you have other opportunities, you should consider them, we do not have a schedule nor guarantee of pilot activations. 

Finally, as stated in the first email from Monday 9/10/18, we were looking for sUAS pilots with Part 107 willing to assist in the recovery efforts.  As the vast majority of the pilot network members recognize, there was no request to travel to the affected areas nor guarantee of deployment, and compensation would not begin until the pilot is activated.  Pilot activation means being placed on Standby (confirmed by phone call) or deployment (confirmed by mission profile, schedule, and asset locations).  

Thank you all for the continued patience and your partnership in this effort.
  
If you have additional questions, please reply to this email at PilotNetwork@SkySourceAerial.com

 

 

@Ed O'Grady

@Av8Chuck

@R Martin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @Luke for the update.  It unfolded pretty much as I expected and I hope you were not sitting around waiting for the call! If you think about it, if you were the regional commander of whatever service, what would you do with a bunch of folks like me.  You don't know me, what I can do, I don't know what you really want, and you're under a tremendous amount of pressure.  Folks like me just get in the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Ed O'Grady said:

Thanks @Luke for the update.  It unfolded pretty much as I expected and I hope you were not sitting around waiting for the call! If you think about it, if you were the regional commander of whatever service, what would you do with a bunch of folks like me.  You don't know me, what I can do, I don't know what you really want, and you're under a tremendous amount of pressure.  Folks like me just get in the way.

And that's the reality of it. I don't really know what they would have us do anyways. If you did go,  How would briefing go down ? Who are you meeting for work ? where are you meeting ? etc. Things to think about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh well.  I don't think "freelance" anybodies are useful in times of emergencies and natural disasters.  I've handled many in my 20 years in the airline industry.  I handled plane crashes, a bombing at LGA, and many serious snowstorms.  There was NEVER room for amateurs - I needed pros and thank God, we had them! Dont want me to get me started!.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Got this today. Looks like they want pilots again.

Disaster Response Pilots Possibly Needed in FL and GA

As we watch the weather and see Hurricane Michael develop, we keep all of those potentially affected in our thoughts and prayers. We hope you and your families are safe and taking all the precautions you can.  As Floridians we understand hurricanes, the damage they create and the lives they disrupt.
 
As part of the Florida Drone Supply pilot network, we are asking you first if you would like to participate in the storm response team.  We have initiated a list of pilots both in the area of concern as well as those who are willing to travel for the recovery efforts. 
 
An ESTIMATION of the pilot compensation follows - IF activated (i.e. Stand-by or Deployed), the specific compensation and logistics will be communicated:
 
Daily Rate: $500.00
Daily rate paid for each day you are deployed.

Per Diem: $100.00 

A daily rate for incidentals, meals, etc.  No receipts are required.

Mobilization Fee: $350.00 

This is a 1 time fee to cover any costs to get you to the site and ready to fly.

Standby Rate: $400.00 
Many times our clients will pay pilots to be "on-call" and ready to deploy.  When standing by you need to be able to arrive ready to fly with an 8 hour notice.

Fuel: Varies
Depending upon the contract, the pilot may or may not receive a daily fuel credit - and some clients provide fuel trucks for us to fill up from at no charge.
 
In order to add you to our list, we need you to confirm your primary aircraft equipment (prefer DJI P4P or better - minimum of 20 MexaPixel sensor is a requirement), and a copy of your FAA Part 107 certificate number (if not already provided from previous communications).
 
To begin, please respond to this email to indicate your level of interest as well as your current location.
 
If you have additional questions, please primarily utilize email;  the preferred email address is PilotNetwork@SkySourceAerial.com (Sky Source Aerial is the service division of Florida Drone Supply).
 
Wishing everyone the best…and thank-you for your willingness to assist, if needed.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Got ANOTHER one today. Looks worse than Florence.

 

Responding Hurricane Michael Response Pilots 

Hurricane Michael has strengthened to a Category 4 storm and is expected to make landfall this afternoon, in the Florida Panhandle; we keep all of those potentially affected in our thoughts and prayers. We hope you and your families are safe and taking all appropriate precautions.  As Floridians we understand hurricanes are unpredictable, as well as, the damage they create and the lives they disrupt.
 
Communications with power, telecom, and utilities companies have been rapidly increasing in frequency.  We anticipate we will be placing the first wave of Hurricane Michael Response efforts sUAS pilots on "standby" later today.  Hurricane Michael is larger in size, greater in wind, and moving faster than Hurricane Florence. 

We have been told to notify our pilots of the expectation to be "activated" (meaning placed on either stand-by or deployed) in phases (i.e. 10-20 approved pilots at a time).  The pilots who reside closest to the affected areas will be activated first.  YOU WILL BE CALLED IF/WHEN ACTIVATED.... Please, do not assume just because you are receiving this email, or if you drive to the area, you are activated.  Hurricanes and their destruction are unpredictable; consequently, please be patient and we will provide updated information as it becomes available.

ACTIVATED pilots will receive the Independent Contractors Agreement and W-9 forms for review and digital signatures via Docu-Sign. 

 
An ESTIMATION of the pilot compensation follows - IF activated (i.e. Stand-by or Deployed), the specific compensation and logistics will be communicated:
 
Daily Rate: $500.00
Daily rate paid for each day you are deployed.

Per Diem: $100.00 

A daily rate for incidentals, meals, etc.  No receipts are required.

Mobilization Fee: $350.00 

This is a 1 time fee to cover any costs to get you to the site and ready to fly.

Standby Rate: $400.00 
Many times our clients will pay pilots to be "on-call" and ready to deploy.  When standing by you need to be able to arrive ready to fly with an 8 hour notice.

Fuel: Varies
Depending upon the contract, the pilot may or may not receive a daily fuel credit - and some clients provide fuel trucks for us to use at no charge.

 
Minimum sUAS requirements: 20 MexaPixel sensor, and current FAA Part 107 certificate number  
 
If you know of any Part 107 pilots who are not part of our network and are interested in being contacted as a potential Hurricane Michael response sUAS pilot, please have them either complete the form at https://www.tfaforms.com/4694848  or respond to this email to indicate your level of interest as well as your current location.
 
If you have additional questions, please primarily utilize email;  the preferred email address is PilotNetwork@SkySourceAerial.com (Sky Source Aerial is the service division of Florida Drone Supply).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



  • Welcome to UCCF.

    The UAV Coach Community Forum is actively moderated by the UAV Coach team and offered to help serve those in the UAV industry. Use this space to meet and greet, to ask and answer questions, to share what you're working on, etc. Have fun, play nice, and fly safe! :)

  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      3,416
    • Total Posts
      17,150