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Haag 3D is proud to announce it has received FAA approval to use small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) (commonly called “drones” or "quadcopters")!

Haag 3D Solutions received a Section 333 exemption from the FAA which can be used nationwide on the DJI Phantom 3, DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ and DJI Phantom 2 series of aircraft.

Haag 3D Solution's approved applications include mapping, inspection and photography of landfills, mining facilities, utilities, oil and gas facilities, agriculture, construction sites, forensic engineering assignments, damage assessments and fire investigations.

“Receiving our FAA approval is an exciting advancement for Haag,” said Kevin Kianka, P.E., Haag’s Director of Building Infor­mation Modeling. “The combination of aircraft with our existing compliment of photographic and 3D imaging tools allows us to quickly and efficiently document elevated areas and supplement detail on complicated projects.  This approval opens the application of our 3D imaging technologies to additional projects and clients where costs or logistics previously prevented it.”

How could a UAS work for you?

Unmanned Aircraft Systems can...

  • Photograph a landfill from above
  • Map a surface mining facility
  • Track above ground and surface utility lines
  • View accident scenes
  • Document dangerous or difficult to reach areas of a building or property
  • Map oil and gas facilities
  • Photograph large agricultural areas
  • Document construction progress
  • Document forensic/damage sites
  • Document and assess fire damage
  • View and record historical buildings/areas

To discuss Unmanned Aircraft System applications or projects, please call 281-313-9700 and ask for Kevin Kianka.

Rules for using Unmanned Aircraft Systems:

There's a lot of news and excitement about UAS right now, but there are some rules and limitations which apply to all commercial Section 333 UAS use:

  • Model types are limited per exemption approval and may not exceed 55 lbs., including payload
  • May not use to film for motion pictures or television
  • Speed may not exceed 87 knots or 100 mph
  • Must be flown at an altitude no more than 400 ft. above ground level
  • The operator must maintain a visual line of sight at all times
  • All operators must use a "visual observer", a second person who also keeps a visual line of site on the UA at all times. The two parties must be able to communicate verbally at all times.
  • Any UAS which has undergone maintenance must undergo a new functional flight test.
  • The operator must maintain and inspect the UAS to ensure safe operating condition.
  • Preflight inspections required.
  • Comply with all manufacturer safety requirements.
  • Primary operator must hold either an airline transport, commercial, private, recreational, or sport pilot certificate, plus a valid US driver's license.
  • Operator must demonstrate safe use and knowledge.
  • All operations must be conducted under visual meteorological conditions; UAS may not be flown at night.
  • UAS may not be flown within 5 nautical miles of an airport reference point without airport management written approval.
  • The UA may not be operated less than 500 feet below or less than 2,000 feet horizontally from a cloud or when visibility is less than 3 statute miles from the Primary Operator. 
  • If the UAS loses communications or loses its GPS signal, the UA must return to a pre-determined location within the private or controlled-access property.19. 
  • The PIC must abort the flight in the event of unpredicted obstacles or emergencies.
  • There must be enough available power for the UA to conduct the intended operation and to operate after that for at least five minutes or with the reserve power recommended by the manufacturer if greater.
  • Must be conducted in accordance with Air Traffic Organization (ATO) Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA).
  • All aircraft must be IDed by serial number and other required markings.
  • Documents ensuring safe operation must be available at all times.
  • The UA must remain clear and give way to all manned aviation operations and activities at all times.
  • The UAS may not be operated from any moving device or vehicle.
  • All flight operations must be conducted at least 500 feet from all non-participating persons, vessels, vehicles, and structures unless:
    • A. Barriers or structures are present that sufficiently protect non-participating persons from the UA and/or debris in the event of an accident. The operator must ensure that nonparticipating persons remain under such protection. If a situation arises where nonparticipating persons leave such protection and are within 500 feet of the UA, flight operations must cease immediately in a manner ensuring the safety of non-participating persons; and
    • B. The owner/controller of any vessels, vehicles or structures has granted permission for operating closer to those objects and the PIC has made a safety assessment of the risk of operating closer to those objects and determined that it does not present an undue hazard.
  • All operations shall be conducted over private or controlled-access property with permission from the property owner/controller or authorized representative.
  • Permission from property owner/controller or authorized representative will be obtained for each flight to be conducted.
  • Any incident, accident, or flight operation that transgresses the lateral or vertical boundaries of the operational area as defined by the applicable COA must be reported to the FAA's UAS Integration Office within 24 hours. Accidents must be reported to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as well.

Since 2013, Haag 3D Solutions has been researching and testing a variety of UAS, using a variety of aircraft, sensors and software.  Specializing in imaging and documentation services, Haag 3D Solutions has focused on the sensors and processing software that will allow our staff and clients to utilize quality data obtained from nearly any aircraft system. Using photogrammetric and point cloud software, Haag can provide precise and measureable data that can be utilized in a variety of applications.  The use of UAS brings another exciting level of technology to the 3D Documentation world.

Kevin Kianka, P.E., Director of Haag BIM/Modeling Program

Kevin Kianka, P.E., serves as the Director of BIM/Modeling Program for Haag 3D Solutions, overseeing the office production of deliverables for clients, in addition to serving as a Project Manager on multiple projects. He recently spearheaded the effort to petition for and obtain Haag’s FAA Section 333 ExemptionSee his profile and contact information here.