Twenty-two cooperative employees recently completed the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) certification course conducted by Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. The two-day course assisted individuals in gaining the Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) part 107 UAS certification which allows them to legally fly drones for commercial purposes. All participants successfully passed the accompanying exam.
Cooperatives sending participants were: the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC), Springfield; Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative, Mattoon; Corn Belt Energy Corporation, Bloomington; Dairyland Power Cooperative, La Crosse, Wis.; Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association, Murphysboro; Illinois Electric Cooperative, Winchester; M.J.M. Electric Cooperative, Inc., Carlinville; Monroe County Electric Co-Operative, Inc., Waterloo; Norris Electric Cooperative, Newton; Prairie Power, Inc., Springfield; Rock Energy Cooperative, Janesville, Wis.; Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative Co., Auburn; SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative, Inc., Carrier Mills; and Spoon River Electric Cooperative, Canton.
In addition to the course, individuals wanting to receive hands-on experience flying a UAS attended a flying course conducted by Dan Gerard, AIEC chief technology officer. Held at the headquarters of SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative, Inc., participants spent the day practicing their flying using a flight simulator, micro drone and drones from AIEC and Southern Illinois Electric Cooperative.
Electric cooperatives across the country have found that the use of a UAS can help streamline inspection and identify necessary repair or the cause of an outage along miles of electric lines in a fraction of the time it takes to send a crew, ultimately helping to speed up restoration efforts.