Huntsville Utilities uses drones in its daily operations

Avion teams up with Huntsville Utilities to train workers to operate drones

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville Utilities is taking safety measures to a whole new level.  Avion Unmanned is helping workers get certified to operate drones around utility equipment.

"Through Homeland Security our utility facilities and infrastructure is protected, so not just anyone should  be flying a drone around utility facilities," said Joe Gehrdes spokesperson for Huntsville Utilities.

The certification includes a week long drone training course by Avion Unmanned instructors. "They conducted power line inspections, some would conduct inspections for vegetation and encroachment on the line and others were looking for inspection for water tanks, and what we did was we went out and conduct each of those individual scenarios with them," said Dan Carbone Chief Instructor Pilot.

The drones give Huntsville Utilities a quicker way to monitor its equipment across the county. "It's a lot easier, faster for us to get information if we can send a drone down that right of way without having to send a truck,” explained Gehrdes.

By incorporating drones Huntsville Utilities will be able to reduce the risk associated with the inspection of power poles. “Line related operations where ropes are used, for buckets when climbing is involved, it's a pretty serious risk to the operator. By introducing new technology such as a drone, allows that and that individual to remain feet on the ground the entire operation," said Taylor Abington Avion Unmanned UAS program manager.

Once certified to operate a drone, the Federal Aviation Administration requires utility workers to re-certify every 24 months.

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