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ECE purchases first drone

As technology continues to advance, the utility industry is recognizing the benefit of putting drones to work. Officially called an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), a drone can be remotely operated from the ground and used to capture pictures and video from the air. 

Last year, we formed a committee to explore the potential for drone use at ECE. In May we purchased our first drone. Two of our employees, Jeff Wells and Milt Gunderson, were recently certified UAS commercial pilots through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 107 testing process.

Safety is the most significant benefit we expect from using drones. They can reach places that are difficult and even dangerous to get to. They also provide the advantage of reducing inspection time, which can help cut costs for the cooperative. The detailed images can help us effectively monitor and maintain our system by checking for damage and corrosion, especially in remote areas. 

There are many things to consider when building a UAS program. We are currently developing a policy and setting guidelines for utilizing drones. We will keep you updated as we explore this exciting new technology. 

ECE drone pilots with drone
Jeff Wells and Milt Gunderson show off ECE’s new drone.

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