Evans Incorporated Takes Organizations to New Heights with Launch of PropelUAS

The award-winning Human-Centered Solutions consulting firm’s innovative new division forges the future of UAS program implementation, launches at ALEA 2017

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – July 26, 2017Evans Incorporated (Evans) announces today that it has launched a new division, PropelUAS, which is changing the game and forging the future of UAS Program implementation process and technology. PropelUAS’ team of unmanned systems, air traffic control, aviation training, human factors, airports, and aviation strategy experts form an innovative, full-spectrum experience, from ‘Idea’ to ‘Operations’ (IDEA-OPS™). This gives organizations the capability to navigate often complex and overwhelming regulatory channels with a ‘what’s allowed where, what’s not, and where exceptions can be made,’ to its ‘been there, done that’ approach. Continue reading

Evans Incorporated Expands Aviation Footprint with Additional Key Contract Win

The award-winning Human-Centered Solutions consulting firm awarded a contract for Capital Investment Analysis Support (CIAS) with the U.S. DOT and the Volpe Center

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – July 20, 2017Evans Incorporated (Evans) announces today that it has been awarded a contract for Capital Investment Analysis Support (CIAS) services to the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center), located in Cambridge, MA. This news follows Evans’ recent $42 million contract award also with the Volpe Center, the largest in its history, and continues to underscore Evans’ demonstrated value proposition in the Aviation space, as well as its position as a strategic leader in leveraging emerging technology to drive top value, ROI, and success across the board. Continue reading

UAS Usage in Western Wildfire Firefighting Operations

As we find ourselves nearing the peak summertime travel season, May 4th is proclaimed International Firefighters’ Day (IFFD). It was instituted after a proposal was sent out across the world on January 4, 1999 due to the deaths of five firefighters in tragic circumstances in a wildfire at Linton in Victoria, Australia.

People and families will be travelling across the country visiting National Parks and public lands. As wonderful as this time of year is, the western lands of our country often become dry from lack of rain.  The dry conditions expose many of our National Parks to a significant threat of fires started by both Mother Nature and humans. These fires can be so unpredictable, it becomes to nearly impossible to make predictions as to direction, and speed they may take. Firefighters battling these wildfires must make quick decisions despite considerable uncertainty in situations where inaccurate information can lead to more environmental damage and a loss of life and property.

Above, Generated View of the Olympic National Park, Paradise Fire with Unmanned aerial vehicle position, courtesy of  The National Park System

The conditions these wildfires produce make it nearly impossible to obtain real-time mapping and awareness, especially at night when it’s too dangerous to fly manned aircraft over the area. Airborne support aircraft are limited to daylight hours; thus reduces ground personnel’s vital real time information on what is happening with the burn at night. Real time airborne information may include Hotspot location, actual and predicted movement, fire intensity and projected firefighter insertion points. During a wildfire, The Federal Aviation Administration designates the area above and around the wildfire as Temporary Flight Restricted (TFR) airspace and all flight activity is limited to only authorized piloted and unmanned craft. Piloted firefighting aircraft are often deployed to look for hotspots, deliver water drops to those areas, and deliver needed supplies to ground crews.

Due to cost, many agencies cannot afford tactical air support and they must rely on other resources to get a view of the fire and its impact. This is where UAS comes into play; UAS operations can provide a complete aerial map of the wildfire, using infrared technology in real time without putting firefighting personnel or manned aircraft in danger. This technology can see through smoke, which blocks human line of sight in manned firefighting reconnaissance aircraft.  The data collected from UAS aircraft while flying over a fire can be used to create real-time maps of the fire line, terrain and vegetation. These maps can be sent back to the controlling agency’s fire control and support team, so water and resources can be directed to the area’s most critical land mass to protect and suppress.

UAS use in wildfire operations is a very important tool which can aid firefighters on the ground and show a real time picture to both save lives and protect our natural resources.

Creative Uses of Drones

With technological advances coming nearly every day, drones are being put to new and innovative uses around the world. This article highlights some of the interesting ways Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are being put to work and play.

Quad-Copter Cabs

The city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has announced that a UAV taxi service will begin operating this summer. The Chinese built eHang 184 aircraft are capable of flying one person for about 30 minutes at speeds better than 60mph.The drones were demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2017) this past February in Las Vegas and have had more than 100 successful manned test flights. Would-be passengers enter a location of choice inside the fully-autonomous vehicle, pay for the ride, then enjoy a traffic-free commute to their destination.

Amazon Air

Everyone imagined that we’d be able to upgrade our Amazon shipping to “Same Hour” years ago; unfortunately, government regulations are holding back the airborne delivery of household necessities such as the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer. The first actual deliveries by Amazon occurred in Cambridge, England only this past December. The city is supporting the effort by allowing an incremental increase in UAS activity as Civil Aviation Authorities examine such key factors as flying beyond line of sight, avoiding obstacles and monitoring a fleet of drones.

Target delivery times are within 30 minutes of an order being placed; one of the first deliveries was received, from click to drop off, in only 13 minutes.

Spirits are Soaring

Tequila manufacturers and agave farmers are under the constant scrutiny of the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT); this is especially true when products claim to be produced from 100% blue agave. The non-profit employs a fleet of UAVs in an effort to map around 340 million plants and conduct spot-checks on farmers. This operation is vital to the tequila industry because the genetically-similar plants are particularly susceptible to disease. Additionally, the CRT uses these surveys to calculate the maximum amount of blue agave a farm could produce. If the farm produces over that maximum amount, CRT authorities will know lesser species of agave were likely smuggled into the harvest.

Giving Poachers the Pinch

Under grants from the World Wildlife Federation and Google, contractors are providing drones to park rangers in Africa that use thermal imaging cameras to find poachers in the vast lands under their control. The program is still in its infancy and officials are not yet sure how best to leverage the drones capabilities or integrate them with ground forces, but the potential for making a significant impact on the poaching problem is very real.

Raising Racing

The Drone Racing League (DRL) is on the cusp of international success. As they prepare for Season 2 in early June, several key components have fallen into place; most notably, broadcasting contracts with ESPN, Sky Sports (UK) and Prosieben Maxx (Germany). The league is also generating a lot of buzz with favorable articles being published in Time, USA Today, Bloomberg, Vice, NPR and Wired.

The heroes of this new sport do not resemble your stereotypical sponsor-clad race car driver in any way. In a scene reminiscent of a sci-fi movie, pilots dawn First Person View (FPV) goggles, allowing them to virtually sit in the cockpit of the bird-sized racers. Coincidentally, this gives the audience incredible views of the action as the drones zip through indoor and outdoor courses at speeds that can reach 80mph.

Working to Relieve Public Concern About UAS Use in the Law Enforcement Industry

Law enforcement organizations are increasing their use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for rescue missions, disaster response, pursuits, and other activities that are possibly dangerous or difficult to access on foot. Public opinion is playing a large role in the success of these programs.

Most organizations looking to start a UAS program will face challenges, but the challenges regarding perception can be particularly delicate in the law enforcement industry. With widespread public concern about safety and privacy, the industry demands clear and accurate communication about the intended uses of UAS. Furthermore, potential conflicts between federal and state/local laws must be considered.

The following two case studies about police departments beginning to use UAS and the public response highlight some issues law enforcement should consider before taking to the air:

  • Los Angeles’ efforts to launch a UAS program sparked such widespread protests in January that the program is now on hold. A formal opposition group formed specifically to combat alleged infringement of personal privacy, aptly named the “Stop LAPD Spying Coalition”. Sheriff officials told the LA Times[1] that UAS would “only be authorized for use in…extremely dangerous and threatening situations.” The department’s written policy specifically prohibits UAS use for random surveillance missions. Yet critics note that the policy could be changed at any time, that there can be a fine line between surveillance that police deem appropriate or mission-critical and what residents consider obtrusive, and that the department has surveilled residents without public approval in the past. The aggressive opposition indicates a lack of trust between (certain) residents and city officials, or misunderstanding about the intended use of UAS and safeguards in place to ensure public safety and privacy.

An effective communications strategy could resolve these issues.

  • San Diego adopted UAS regulations in April allowing more aggressive local enforcement of existing UAS federal law, including issuing citations and levying fines. The rules didn’t restrict anything that isn’t already illegal under FAA regulations. Critics alleged the regulations didn’t go far enough to ensure residents’ safety and privacy. Yet city officials wanted to avoid interfering with the booming UAS industry and its many benefits, and were also limited in what they could regulate when airspace is largely under federal control. (Some local laws already conflict with Part 107 and other FAA rules; a proposed ordinance in Toms River, NJ that would have severely restricted drone operations was grounded by public opposition, indicating that the public can find laws too lax or too restrictive).

Given the mounting issues with public perception, law enforcement organizations should design an outreach strategy ahead of launching a UAS program. The public must be convinced of law enforcement’s need to use UAS to execute public safety responsibilities, that they will protect residents from related risks, and that law enforcement is complying with all relevant laws (a police UAS violating regulations could certainly damage a community’s trust). Some key things to consider include:

  • Clear definition of the types of missions for which UAS will be used;
  • Statement of the need for UAS (i.e., what UAS can do better than personnel on foot, their greater access and appropriateness for missions that are too dangerous for personnel)—to emphasize collective benefits rather than feeding into public fears;
  • Safeguards in place to ensure public safety and privacy—police policy, state regulations, and whether policy changes require public approval;
  • Overview of existing federal regulations that restrict UAS operations;
  • Overview of any state or municipal laws regarding UAS operations;
  • Branding (visible from the ground), so the public can distinguish police units from hobby, commercial or other UAS, and law enforcement can issue citations for unauthorized units.

The FAA is working to better communicate UAS regulations, which should help quell some fears and possibly prevent the need for state and local UAS-related laws. Some resistance to police UAS programs could be a result of public concern over mission scope and/or a misunderstanding of the regulatory limits placed on UAS at the federal level. As people are generally afraid of the unknown, clear communication is key for gaining public trust and support. As additional federal regulations are released that could authorize more widespread use, ongoing outreach will continue to be important

[1] http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-sheriff-UAS-protest-20170117-story.html

Evans Incorporated, Noblis, and Dynamis to hold Upcoming UAS Panel Discussion

Did you know that latest estimates forecast the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry to be worth $82 Billion over the next 5 years?  However, organizations are struggling to capitalize on this limitless potential, especially if they don’t understand the regulatory boundaries. So what exactly is UAS, and what does it mean for your organization?

If you’re a commercial and public sector manager or executive focused on the use of drones and their potential but unsure of where to start, then look no further! Join three firms specializing in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Solutions, Evans Incorporated, Dynamis, and Noblis, for their upcoming UAS Panel event, Propelling Business and Government to New Heights — Institutionalizing the Full Potential of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) on Thursday, May 25th from 7:30am – 10:00am, at the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce (NOVA Chamber). This panel discussion will help you answer the following questions:

  • What do I need to know to plan how best establish, operate, or scale my drone operations or programs?
  • How can organizations best work with the government to obtain unique authorization or waivers for unmanned operations?
  • What are some of the more creative uses of this technology that have helped these organizations that might benefit others?
  • For companies thinking about starting a new drone program, or early adopters, what observations or advice would you have based on what you have seen and experienced?
  • What do you think will be most critical to monitor over the next 12-18 months for organizations that try to align their own drone operations and investment strategies with the evolving marketplace?

This unique event will provide participants with the opportunity to talk and network face-to-face with a cross-section of industry representatives about ongoing regulatory, security, operational, and technological changes driving the integration of drones into the National Airspace System (NAS), your businesses, and our economy.

Registration is limited — click here for more information and register by May 18th to secure your spot!

Evans to attend the AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2017 Conference (May 9-11)

Evans Incorporated is excited to attend the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) XPONENTIAL 2017 conference, May 9-11 in Dallas, Texas.  This is the largest Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) conference in the United States and we are eager to exhibit our CAARMA UAS Solutions Suite.  Come visit us in booth 3159 – we welcome everyone in attendance to swing by to hear how we deliver ROI – Real Operational Impact®.

In this emerging market, large and small companies are rushing to capitalize on new technologies and the growing demand for UAS services. We are excited to be at the forefront of this trend, supporting the Federal government with the implementation of UAS regulations over the past year.

Evans has supported the aviation industry for 23 years, providing full-service support in the areas of air traffic control, pilot training, unmanned systems, flight planning, technical operations, human factors analysis, business integration, strategic planning, and aviation program management. The Evans aviation team includes UAS experts, pilots, and personnel who have been air traffic controllers. Altogether, Evans’ staff combines over 40 years of operational aviation expertise that is relevant to UAS.

Evans brings its proprietary CAARMA Solutions to organizations in the aviation industry to assist in the integration of new capabilities, services and products. Evans’ CAARMA Solutions, the approach that is foundational to everything Evans does, are proven to have saved their customers over $10M on one project alone, through improved decision making and cost avoidance measures.

During this conference, we will be looking for companies and organizations that want help envisioning how drones can be used in their business model.  We provide support with organizational design and managing change in your organization as you adopt a drone program.  We will help you design your drone program, train your pilots, assist with FAA’s required applications, and get you flying.

-Greg Caramanica, Business Development Manager, Unmanned Systems

Drones over Spring Break – Did you check your airspace?

Luckily, I was able to take some time with my family this past weekend to enjoy some time at the beach. Spring Break is a popular time to hit the beaches and the proliferation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (aka drones) adds a new dimension to the experience. For some, there is a strong temptation to bring their drones with them on Spring Break, as it may be their first real opportunity to get it out in the open after the winter – perhaps receiving it as a gift for Christmas only a few months ago.

The utility of drones and their video capability could be both useful and entertaining during Spring Break. I remember seeing a video of someone launching a UAS off the beach at Fort Lauderdale, flying the drone out to a cruise ship, circling the cruise ship, and returning to the beach. At the time, I thought the concept was amazing and the video seemed professional – something you only used to be able to shoot from helicopters. As I researched the cruise ship I was about to board in a few months, the video helped me to visualize the experience ahead of time. I can imagine other uses of drones for entertainment purposes on Spring Break, like recording video of sunrises or sunsets, dolphin watching, and other shots from an elevated perspective.

If you are planning on flying a drone at Spring Break (or already did), did you check your airspace? Yes, the Federal Aviation Administration considers all drones to be aircraft.  As a result, you are required to register your drone with the FAA and fly responsibly. This means that you have to be aware of your proximity to an airport before flying for fun (and whether you are in controlled airspace if flying drones for business). If flying for fun, FAA’s B4UFly app will let you know if you are within 5 miles of an airport, where you are required to notify the air traffic control tower of your planned flight. If you are further than 5 miles from an airport, you are generally allowed to fly under 400 feet without notifying air traffic control. There also may be local laws in your State or Municipality regarding the use of drones on public property.

Are you making money flying your drone? If so, you are flying for business and your operation is covered under Part 107 of the FAA Reauthorization Act (14 CFR Part 107), which requires you to attain authorization prior to flight in controlled airspace. So, you must also be aware of whether you are in controlled airspace and the specific rules for drone flight in that classification of airspace (things not provided by the B4UFly app).

And even when you do register your drone with the FAA and appropriately notify air traffic control or gain authorization to fly, there are still other restrictions that you will need to obey. For instance, you are not permitted to fly over people, at night, in a “swarm,” or beyond visual line of sight. If you’d like to attain a waiver for any of these restrictions, you will have to request it through the FAA, which may take a fair amount of paperwork and numerous weeks, or even months.

Remember, if you are flying your drone, you are required to give way to manned aircraft. But, there may also be other unmanned aircraft that you need to look out for. Be safe and diligent in your piloting and check your airspace!

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