A total of 103 pilots were contacted via email and invited to respond. Thirteen respondents met the criteria and provided sufficient detail to be considered viable candidates. The top 10 candidates were invited to be interviewed via a video call with the DroneUp Flight Operations team. In the end, 8 applicants were chosen. Here is a summary of the qualifications of DroneUp ’s Operation Last-Mile pilot team. ● All pilots had Part 107 certificates and were experienced, commercial drone pilots. ● Almost all had been pilots prior to the establishment of the Part 107 rules in late 2016. ● The average number of hours logged as a drone pilot was 1193. The mean was 165. ● Four of 8 had logged flight hours on the Inspire 2 or Matrice 200 drones. ● 2 pilots were current and 3 pilots were former public safety members, particularly with fire departments. At least one of the pilots not involved in public safety had a military background. So at least six of the eight pilots had either public safety or military background.
● Four of the pilots had Part 107.29 waivers to operate at night. ● The pilots ranged in age from 39 to 67 with the average being 50.
DroneUp has a Part 107.29 waiver allowing it to operate outside the daylight operating period of between 30 minutes prior to sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. In order for our pilot teams to operate under DroneUp ’s FAA waiver, each had to pass a training course in night operations. While four of our Operation Last-Mile pilots had their own Part 107.29 waivers, all 8 pilots attended a 2-hour night operations training course provided by the DroneUp Airboss on Monday, April 6. The course was held via webinar and all 8 pilots passed the 25 question test with an average score of 92% - allowing all participating pilots the opportunity to fly nighttime delivery flights on April 8. The pilots were divided into three teams (Yellow, Blue, and Green) with three members each. DroneUp provided a Part 107 pilot as a VO for the Blue team. For each individual flight, the team roles were RPIC, LoadMaster, and VO. The RPIC piloted the aircraft and made the final decision on fly/no-fly, drop/no-drop, and abort/continue the flight. The LoadMaster was responsible for examining the payload, attaching the payload to the aircraft, ensuring the tether did not foul the propellers upon takeoff, and relaying radio communication to and from the RPIC. The VO was responsible for keeping the drone within line of sight once the RPIC lost line of sight and directing the RPIC during the descent and drop of the payload over the target. Because of the COVID-19 virus epidemic, DroneUp adhered to guidance from the Commonwealth of Virginia on social distancing and best practices in mitigating virus risk. A registered nurse was hired to screen all participants daily, (taking temperatures and interviewing) and the participants were given labels to wear indicating they had been screened. The Deputy Sheriffs assigned to provide security at the exercise entrance were instructed not to allow anyone entry who had not been screened.
160 Newtown Road, Suite 302 | Virginia Beach, VA 23462 | 877-601-1860 | droneup.com
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