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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

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If you need to outsource some drone work, I am available to help out.   I'm a licensed mechanical engineer with a Phantom 4 Pro and have a thermal imaging camera attachment (FLIR Vue Pro R 640).    Being located near Sacramento, I work throughout the State (along with Nevada, Oregon and Idaho).    

Let me know if I can be of some help.

Cheers!

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Just a thought from Southern California here... why not work with existing existing vector control districts and setup some type of mutual benefit?

We have a group in Orange County that's pretty active, especially with the Aedes guys running around. Plus, there are quite a few of us remote pilots around and just may be the local districts could help in fast-tracking interested parities with the addition licensing requirements. 

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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

 

 

 

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We have the expertise to find and recruit professional drone pilots and while it looks like you may have some good recourses in some of those who have commented here if you wish our assistance we would be glad to work with you and can do so nationally.

 

 

Tim Luttrell, CSP

Utility Staffing Group
T 423.347.3006 ext. 101
| F 423.500.1012 | C 423.754.3004

tluttrell@lstaff.com | www.utilitystaffing.com

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Hi, I am located in Bryn Mawr, PA and have a Mavic 2 Pro, a Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual and a Phantom 4 Pro.  My rates are reasonable and I can work within you budget.  Attached is a link to show some of my work.  You can contact me at mheight2@comcast.net

 

 

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