Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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SPECIAL REPORT 20 unmanned systems inside   October/November 2017 tions for the state would grant them the necessary permission. They'd complete the flight then move on to the next one. "The challenge was getting airspace, but the best thing was how the airspace was handled," Moore said. "Once you got through the process to get autho- rization, the coordination of resources was spectacular. Assigning someone to address UAS airspace next to an FAA representative has never been done before. I can see that's going to be the standard on every major incident that involves multiple jurisdictions and state and federal assets. The airspace will have to be coordinated." Photo courtesy of Brian Emfinger and Live Storms Media. Volunteers Team Up The drone operators who gave their time weren't limited to those who lived in the area. Volunteers traveled from as far as New York, South Carolina, Washington and other parts of the country to help. Pa r k e r G y o k e r e s , o w n e r o f Propellerheads Aerial Photography, drove from New York to Texas to offer his services, and even assembled a team of other highly skilled drone operators to join him. He'd met some of them in person before and knew the rest through social media and online forums. After about 10 days of sharing an RV and performing countless missions, these men formed a bond, becoming a family of sorts that shared what Gyokeres de- scribed as a once in a lifetime experience. At first, the team planned to fly mis- sions in Houston for the Red Cross, Gyokeres said, but when that fell through, they moved on to Port Arthur and then Rockport. The officials in Port Arthur wanted to know what areas of the town were flooded and which ones were not. They flew the entire town in an hour and a half, and provided officials with a map that showed them exactly which areas were accessible and which weren't, giv- ing them complete situational awareness. Once they moved on to Rockport, about a week after the storm hit and the roads were cleared, Gyokeres and his team connected with the town's former mayor and current Aransas County judge, who happened to know Gyokeres's father. He introduced them to Michael Soto, chief appraiser for Aransas County, who wanted to know just how much damage they were dealing with in the worst hit areas. A manned aircraft had taken images right after the storm, but they were only at a 10 to 15 cm pixel resolution. While that's higher quality than Google Earth, it just didn't offer the detail Soto need- ed. Gyokeres and his team document- ed 650 houses in Key Allegro in about three hours, and completed flights over a total of 1,650 houses in three days. "We were able to show blown out windows, front and back, and just a higher level of detail," Gyokeres said. "It looked like artillery strikes had hit. We had three veterans on the team and we all agreed we had never seen a war zone this bad. It was humbling, shock- ing and sobering." THE FAA STEPS UP MANY DRONE OPERATORS WERE IMPRESSED by how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) handled the Hurricane Harvey response, including Jerry Hendrix, executive director of the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. They set up emergency operations in D.C., sent people to the regional office in Fort Worth, Texas, and facilitated temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) and emergency authorizations. "In Corpus Christi we were able to fly a disaster response mission simultaneously with the Vice President's TFR being put into place at the Corpus airport," Hendrix said. "We flew on top of Class C airspace to survey damage in the ship channel, which is close to the airport. That's remarkable."  Main Story Continued on P. 26 AFTER THE STORM

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