Use the Skyward Airspace Map to inspect the flight job area before you deploy to the site. A remote site inspection will make it easier to understand what your customers want, increase your on-site output, and avoid dangerous or costly incidents.
This remote site inspection guide assumes that you have already created an organization in Skyward and that you know how to find and explore the airspace map.
This guide is focused on understanding the ground area at and around the flight job location. Using the Skyward map to determine the airspace above and near the flight job location will be covered in another article.
Begin the remote site inspection by finding the flight job location on the airspace map. Click on the search icon. The Skyward map allows you to find a location using street address; degrees, minutes, seconds; decimal degrees; or UTM:
An overhead remote inspection is the best way for you and your customer to understand what the point-of-interest is and what products are wanted. The customer wants the products that an aerial platform can best produce. It will be difficult, if not impossible to communicate these desires clearly while standing on the ground at the site. Use a flight area to frame the remote inspection.
Explore the map to locate areas which must be avoided during the flight. Sensitive areas such as amusement parks, military installations, or congested areas such as heavily travelled roads must be avoided unless you have explicit permission to fly over those areas. Some areas are especially sensitive. Make sure that you are aware of local or national regulations regarding standoff distances from sensitive areas.
Examine the site for a few minutes to gain useful information. Look at the shadows of familiar objects located near the point-of-interest. Be careful when doing this; the physical map may be composed of photographs taken at different times of the day.
WARNING: Even the most recent aerial imagery of the site may not be up-to-date.
Familiar objects such as street lanes, vehicles, and houses can give a good idea of the scale of structures or open areas at the site.
Examine and compare the shadows of nearby objects. Shadows may indicate the presence of obstructions.
Examine the site to identify possible flight staging areas. The final selection of the takeoff and landing area should be made on site. If the flight job requires overhead imagery of a relatively tall structure, the staging area should be far enough away from the structure to make sure that the visual line-of-sight can be maintained throughout the flight. Flight jobs that cover large areas or multiple points-of-interest may require the flight crew to use multiple staging areas during an operation.
There is no substitute for a careful on-site assessment of the flight job area. A quick but careful remote site inspection will set the stage for a professional on-site assessment and flight job. By understanding in advance what the customer wants, where to fly and where not to fly on-site, and the location of good staging areas, you can maximize the value of the flight operation.