EPC-UK Explosives Engineers Sam Skinner and Liam Bermingham are celebrating after completing their fixed wing drone pilot course with flying colours.

A bird’s eye view

Already experienced drone pilots, both Liam and Sam completed their multi rota drone flying training 12 months ago. However, this most recent course, conducted by the Drone Pilot Academy, has prepared them for flying our innovative new fixed wing Wingtra One drone, as Sam explains:

“Our initial training provided us with the knowledge and qualifications we needed to safely and effectively fly a multi rota drone. This latest course focused on the aspects of flying a different type and style of drone.

 

“The Wingtra One is much larger and heavier than standard drones, so there are additional safety concerns to take into consideration, as well as learning the various legislations that cover this class of drone.  Our training was a combination of practical and theoretical lessons, as well as simulation training, which will help to prepare us for any situation that we are likely to face during an operation.

 

“The course was extremely comprehensive and both myself and Liam are proud to have achieved the Certificate of Recommendation for issue of a CAA Standard Permission.”

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Drone evolution

The Wingtra One Professional vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) fixed-wing drone is the latest investment by EPC-UK.  This innovative drone can map large areas with unprecedented image quality and accuracy, and thanks to its VTOL design, it can operate – safely take off, collect data and land – from challenging and limited spaces making it perfect for rough and busy work sites. It also boosts safety by enabling data collection without the danger of climbing stockpiles or walking amongst moving equipment.

In addition to its VTOL capabilities, the drone hosts a 42 mega-pixel camera and includes the technology to geo reference all images in conjunction with a single fixed ground station.  The photographs obtained can then be processed using photogrammetry software to generate fully georeferenced 3D models.  From this, various measurements such as quarry reserve depletion, haul road analysis, gradient analysis, stock-pile surveys, oversize analysis, and bund height analysis can be taken.

A more accurate approach

Liam continues: “There are now three engineers, and a fourth in training, at EPC-UK who can fly the Wingtra One, enabling us to undertake even more quarry mapping surveys to help our customers further optimise their quarrying operations. Complementing our EPC Metrics offering, we can now provide an accurate full 365°quarry mapping service.”

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A fully digital future

Ben Williams, Managing Director of EPC-UK, concludes, “Our investment in the Wingtra One drone is a demonstration of our continued commitment to advancing blasting techniques through the use of technology.  It is allowing us to provide our customers with much faster surveys and more precise results, whilst its VTOL ability is helping to improve productivity and, more importantly, safety.

 

“Sam and Liam are key in enabling us to offer this unique service to our customers and I would like to congratulate them on their achievement. The skills they have gained will prove invaluable to both EPC-UK and our customers, helping us achieve our goal of a ‘fully digital’ quarry.”