In 2016 Evans launched PropelUAS, a division of the firm that would provide guidance and expertise to organizations around unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) technology. With more than 20 years of consulting experience at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Evans was uniquely suited to help companies navigate airspace regulations and training requirements.
PropelUAS was awarded the Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards in 2018 for its work supporting the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) “Project Lifesaver” program.
The Loudon County Sheriff’s Office “Project Lifesaver” program sought to enhance search and rescue efforts by using drones to electronically locate lost individuals. Their innovative use of drones, however, would require comprehensive training of the technology and accompanying rules and regulations.
“The LCSO procured an expensive piece of technology they weren’t able to fly. They placed trust in PropelUAS to guide them through regulatory hurdles and licensing to put it right into action…,” says Sue Evans, President and Founder of Evans Incorporated.
LCSO team knew that people’s lives would be effected by the outcome of this partnership and that they had to get it right the first time. LCSO had many choices when it came to developing their program and training their pilots, they chose the PropelUAS team because of their experience, knowledge and Human-Centered Approach.
Evans’ Human-Centered Approach
The PropelUAS team took a personalized approach in supporting LCSO. They started by base lining where the client’s current UAS program development was, identified long- and short-term objectives of the agency, and then developed a plan for the LCSO to enact to accomplish those objectives. The PropelUAS team developed agency specific training that included both technical and operational requirements in safety, regulatory and UAS operations efficiency. By understanding how and what LCSO wanted to achieve, the PropelUAS team was able to incorporate their needs and desires into specific scenario based UAS pilot certification training, the training focused on their geographic locations and scenarios that they would be likely to encounter. This allowed LCSO to apply the needed education and skills directly to missions that they would need to accomplish in the field.
The Lasting Impact
Two days after LCSO pilots obtained FAA certification, “Project Lifesaver” rescued a 92-year-old man
who was found within 20 minutes of deploying the drone. Since then, LCSO has located a number of individuals through both Project Lifesaver and regular Search and Rescue operations with the drone in use. The success of the UAS program has opened the door for an expansion of use into other key areas that LCSO encounters on a daily basis, such as accident reconstruction. The PropelUAS team is proud to have been a partner of LCSO in the early development, continued use and the future endeavors of the LCSO UAS program.