​About 300 electric cooperatives are now using drones for some of their field operations, and that number is expected to grow as unmanned aerial vehicles become more sophisticated and capable. That’s why NRECA partnered with a top drone service provider to offer utility-specific training designed to help co-ops get more value from their investments in the technology.

“UAVs are far more than just platforms for visual observation,” says Stanley McHann, NRECA senior research engineer. “We’ve developed a five-day skills assessment designed to measure and strengthen pilot competencies so they can operate their systems safely and efficiently.”

The hands-on course focuses on developing pilot capabilities for operation of a UAV in a complex flight environment. Unmanned aircraft system technology can significantly improve a co-op’s inspection process and improve grid reliability.

NRECA is collaborating with PrecisionHawk, a leader in UAS operations and technology with over a decade’s experience with agricultural, industrial and infrastructure assets, to offer the skills assessments.

The series began in August in Buena Vista, Colorado. Additional five-day courses will be scheduled in other locations, contingent upon interest from co-op and other utility UAS pilots.

For more information, contact McHann at 571-302-0479 or stanley.mchann@nreca.coop.​