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5 Questions Answered: Drones and Planes Can be Friends

5 Questions Answered: Drones and Planes Can be Friends

Airlines have traditionally been extremely wary of the danger of birdstrikes and, perhaps not unreasonably, see aerial drones in the same light. While that inherent fear has not disappeared, today drones and planes may be finding ways to come together as friends to help improve the safety of airports and commercial airlines through effective and

Airlines have traditionally been extremely wary of the danger of birdstrikes and, perhaps not unreasonably, see aerial drones in the same light. While that inherent fear has not disappeared, today drones and planes may be finding ways to come together as friends to help improve the safety of airports and commercial airlines through effective and innovative use of drones.

Here are answers to five of your most burning questions about drones being used in the airline industry:

Q: Which companies are putting drone mapping systems to good use in the airline industry?

A: A partnership between two companies, Blue Bear Systems and Createc is spearheading the development of aerial 3D mapping through their RISER program. This project helped develop a scanning system that was used by EasyJet for maintaining their aircraft.

Q: How will aerial drones help with airplane maintenance?

A: Drones will perform a variety of maintenance tasks such as scanning the exteriors of planes for cracks.  In addition, they will also be used to transport spare parts quickly between different sections of the hangars.

Q: Are drones not dangerous to aircraft?

A: Drones are a hazard to aircraft only when the aircraft’s engines are running. During most inspections and other maintenance work on the ground, the engines are not powered on and it is safe to use drones in such scenarios.

Q: What does this mean for existing drone businesses?

A: If you own a 3D aerial mapping business, branching out into maintenance jobs may be a very lucrative investment. As drones help significantly reduce airline inspection costs, many will be looking to invest heavily in such systems.

Q: When will we see aerial drones in service in the airline industry?

A: Due to FAA legal roadblocks, we have not yet seen drones having a major impact in this field. However, as more companies get the green light, drones and airplane companies will soon start to be dependent on each other.

Image via Flickr: Aero Icarus

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