Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) best practices for the use of sUAS by the Electric Utility Industry


A weighty and informative report from ORNL penned by Richard Lusk and William Monday. The report is crammed with information useful for any commercial UAS operator. It includes checklists as well. Always good to see other people’s thinking on that subject.

The introduction is bang on as well, top notch, if you are a serious drone pilot don’t continue with your day until you have downloaded this!

Unmanned aircraft have been around longer than anyone reading this preface. Previously the domain of military operations and some dedicated hobbyists, the technology has become commoditized.

Miniaturisation of computational components, mixed with ubiquitous GPS access and leveraged manufacturing economies of scale, has introduced relatively aerodynamically stable personal drones into everyday life.

The change that is upon us now is that the barrier for access to this technology is a few hundred US dollars. A person with no training or experience can purchase one of these machines and fly it into the National Air Space the same day.

The following analogy is one I frequently use when discussing this three-dimensional risk with people who have little experience with aviation, airspace, or UASs.

Let us say that someone goes into a big-box store and purchases a go-cart. Upon leaving the store, he starts the go-cart and immediately drives it across the parking lot; across the interstate, obeying no right of ways or traffic laws or signs; and across people’s property, at random.

People respond, “That’s crazy. No one would do that!” However, that is exactly what many, and perhaps most, new drone “drivers” do.