What is an Unmanned Aerial System?

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) -- sometimes referred to as "drones" -- are small, either fixed-wing or rotary propeller driven aircraft that have cameras mounted on them. They are piloted by a remote operator to accomplish a variety of tasks in which the use of these small aircraft is both efficient and economical.

What can Desert Wind Aeronautical do for me and my business needs?

Desert Wind Aeronautical (DWA) offers aerial photographic services across a wide variety of businesses and industries. If you have ever considered hiring a helicopter and photographer to profile or promote your business, you can save time and money by using our licensed UAS pilots to fly our professional quadcopter. You will receive high quality still images or video for your use as you see fit.

How do I make sure the drone service company I hire is legitimate?

The drone services industry is expanding at record rates. As someone who has decided to use such services, you need to trust that your investment in such services rests with professionals who are able to comply with all required regulatory and safety requirements. Only pilots who are licensed by the US Federal Aviation Administration and properly insured should be hired. You have every right to demand to see a valid FAA license and proof of liability insurance (at least $1M) of any drone services company you are considering to address your business needs.

How far away can you fly?

According to Federal Aviation Administration rules, we must keep the UAS in our "line of sight." On a bright day, and in flat terrain, line of sight is usually a little over 1 mile in distance. We are not able to use binoculars to extend our line of sight. All things considered, it's usually best for the pilot and support element to be closely co-located in the area of interest.

How long does a typical UAS flight last?

In optimal conditions, our Inspire 1 PRO can fly for about 15 to 20 minutes on one battery. We have a number of batteries in our flight kit that will allow us to cover the time required for most projects. We are also able to recharge batteries in our dedicated flight services SUV for more extended projects.

Can you fly at night?

Not at the moment...however, we anticipate applying for a waiver to the FAA. Our Chief Pilot is extremely experienced flying at night for a major government agency. Based on his experience, we also anticipate approval of the waiver request.

Are you licensed by the FAA?

DWA pilots are certified and licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration. They hold the Remote Pilot Certificate with a Small UAS rating.

Are you insured?

Yes, DWA carries a $1 million liability insurance policy. The policy will cover damages incurred to persons or property as a result of our UAS operations.

Do you have any professional experience as UAS pilots?

Yes, our Chief Pilot is currently the most experienced operational UAS pilot [in security and emergency response operations] for a large government agency. He is very experienced in both fixed-wing and rotary UAS platforms.

What kind of training have your UAS pilots received?

Our Chief Pilot has received professional and formal training on the AeroVironment Puma fixed-wing UAS, the Leptron Avenger rotary platform UAS and the Aeryon SkyRanger UAS. He is also experienced flying other small UAS platforms for which there is no formal training program...however, the skills are immediately transferrable. Our second pilot is currently undergoing a rigorous internal formal flight training program for the Inspire 1 PRO UAS.

What kind of equipment do you use?

DWA deploys the DJI Inspire 1 Pro quadcopter as an initial UAS platform. The Inspire 1 Pro is a professional-grade battery-powered rotary engine platform with amazing flight and photographic capabilities. The Ultra High Definition (4K) video camera is highly regarded and provides a wide range of flexibility for still and video photography.

Does weather affect your flight operations?

Yes. To ensure we deliver a quality photographic product to our customers, we must fly in optimal weather conditions. Usually, the major limiting factor is wind velocity in the area of operations which is beyond the recommended manufacturer limit. However, evident moisture such as rain or snow will also hamper or preclude flight operations. Other environmental factors such as lightning within 5 miles of flight operations also may limit or preclude flight operations.

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