|Suggested Best Practice to Avoid Unnecessary Reflies or Revisits
There are simple pro-active steps a pilot can do prior to departure from home or office to a job site and after mission completion before leaving the job site premises. We at DroneHive, in coordinating client jobs with our pilots, have seen many repeated occurrences of pilots having to revisit the job site again to fly or refly their missions unnecessarily for reasons they could have avoided. In most cases they were not obligated by contract to be compensated for the revisit. We always strive to support our pilots whenever reasonably justified to be articulated to the client. But in some of these incidents, pilot complacency was the root cause of these revisits. Our job is not to tell pilots how to execute their missions. In the spirit of educating our cadre of pilots to become better pilots so they can have higher compensation and experience recognition, this is our motivation as a corporate philosophy to stand out amongst the plethora of other drone operators. We work along side our fellow RPIC’s and help them grow successfully in our industry. The guidance here is a partial compilation of suggestions that pilots can take voluntarily to avoid unnecessary revisits.
The first and foremost reason for a revisit is not having the capability to recharge batteries on site. Do not assume you will conveniently have access to a power outlet, but plan for additional flight time contingencies beyond the estimated total mission(s) flight time. Bring a power source separately from your vehicle battery. Instead of investing in extra batteries, procure a deep cycle marine battery and an inverter. You can pick these up on the cheap, at Walmart and Harbor Freight, respectively. I was able to recharge 7 or 8 Phantom 4 Pro batteries on average per fully charged source battery. This investment carriers over to any drone battery type when and if you decide to expand your airframe models inventory.
The second advice pertains to DJI branded drones. If your job site is near an airport, regardless of whether an FAA authorization is needed or not, be sure to check DJI’s website to see if an unlock license is required for your specific DJI model. If so, get and perform the unlock prior to departure to the job site; too often pilots try to do this at the job site, only to find out they can’t access the internet reliably or if connected, don’t get a reply in real-time, or adequately in time, within their scheduled operating window.
The third and last, a no-brainer, at least for me, is if you can spare 15 or so extra minutes on site, routinely perform a simple cursory post-flight data quality check. There are apps on both Windows and OSX that can verify the meta-data in the images and plots on a map only valid images by checking the geo-tag integrity for any missing or unusable images. Any deviation from expected you can correct, if time permits, before leaving the job site. Two free apps are “The Photo App” for OSX, and “Photo GPS Extract for Windows.
Give it a try!
Flight Operations Manager