My role spotting-what an exciting but extremely important job. As we arrive at the destination I am looking all around, checking for any obvious hazards. It makes it easier if you know what is where, how far away, and how high everything is. Once I'm informed by the leading project Pilot of the take-off/landing area, my work begins. I put the landing pad down, with N-E-S-W in the correct position. There has to be a second landing pad for emergencies, normally set-up in the opposite corner of the site.
Preparing the drone - the technical bit. I have to make sure the equipment is in good working order. The drone shell is inspected for cracks and abnormalities, insuring all screws are secure is also part of the process. Batteries must be fully charged with no cell bulges or irregularities. The camera gimbal guard is removed, then I give the lens a thorough clean. The SD card - cannot forget that little but very important item! So the SD card is in, batteries are good, now for the blades. After no visible splits or chips, they are clipped on, checking they are locked into position and spinning freely.
I have to record the battery charge percentage and usage cycle, take-off/ landing times, and the total flight time, with my assistance the leading Pilot is free to focus on client requirements. Now the hard part, when the drone is in operation I assist the pilot in making sure the appropriate distances are kept in check. The well-known 50-meter rule is key here. An extra eye to watch out for people at ground point and birds in the sky is a real asset to the drone operator. Communication is key, it takes time to develop but soon becomes second nature.
Once all media is completed, the drone has landed and systems are shut-down, I provide the Pilot with my gathered flight information, which is then uploaded to our main database. I give a helping hand in packing all the equipment and a closures check-list is followed to ensure all items are together. Now all back into the carrier until our next job!
I would imagine that most people are not aware that the job of a spotter even exists, but it's actually a very important, exciting, skilled job, that I love!
I hope you enjoyed the read, want to learn more about the UAV world, check out our other posts :)