The National Association of Tower Erectors is providing some summer reading, announcing the release of a new resource document titled Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations Around Vertical Communications Infrastructure created from a collaboration between NATE’s UAS Committee and other representatives from the commercial UAS industry.
Focusing on small UAS operations around wireless infrastructure, cellular towers, broadcast towers and electrical distribution towers, the document provides UAS utilization guidelines dealing with FAA requirements, flight operations, training provisions, documentations, safety reporting, emergency procedures, weather requirements, noise abatement and hours of operation. According to NATE Executive Director Todd Schlekeway, this will be the first of several best practice documents from the NATE UAS Committee regarding UAS technologies.
The Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations Around Vertical Communications Infrastructure resource book is available for free download on NATE’s website.
JDA Journal added expert commentary from Joseph Del Balzo, the President of JDA Aviation Technology Solutions and a former FAA Acting Administrator. Mr. Del Balzo suggested that the envelope needed to be pushed a bit further:
If this handbook could reach one greater degree of granularity, the guidance would become even more powerful as a safety tool. For example, the association’s pamphlet identifies the three major categories of Vertical Communications Infrastructure – cellular, broadcast and power transmission.
The physical characteristics of each, the positioning of the drone in relationship to equipment to be inspected and the currency/signals emanating from these three types of tower each pose different profiles for risk to the operator. If those unique characteristics could be catalogued and matched against the capabilities/frailties of the drones, a very useful matrix could be designed.