Drones are more popular than ever as companies leverage their aerial advantages to perform tasks that are either impractical or unsafe for people, such as site surveys, equipment monitoring, aerial photography and inspections.
While drone use in commercial and industrial applications continues to increase, there’s also increased competition for limited airspace. As a result, pilots and crews are turning to wireless headset technology to help improve upon and streamline operations.
Maximizing Return on Your Drone Investment
No matter the application, drones require a significant investment in equipment and training before, during, and after that first flight. According to a recent Goldman Sachs report, growth of drone use in construction alone will top $11 billion in the next several years.
That investment pays off with every successful mission. Drones allow companies to monitor job progress and perform inspections from a unique vantage point that helps deliver results on time and under budget. So keeping your UAV flying safely and efficiently becomes the best way to realize the benefits of your investment.
Drone training programs also help employers maximize benefits and mitigate risks. Pilot certification programs, operational waivers, and continuous training are now common components of a successful drone program.
Communication Challenges for Pilots and Ground Crews
The key to avoiding in-flight problems is communication between the pilot and ground crew. While the remote pilot has ultimate responsibility for both the aircraft and flight operations, the ground crew is often required to monitor the aircraft’s sensors and payload. They also help to maintain visual line of sight when the pilot cannot, or when using first-person view to adjust the position of the aircraft. These control efforts require precision teamwork and effective communication.
With the attention of both the pilot and ground crew focused on individual tasks, it’s easy to see how a close call due to missed or misunderstood messages can quickly lead to expensive and potentially disastrous consequences.
Identifying potential issues and avoiding close encounters before they become unrecoverable problems protects the aircraft, property, the jobsite, and the mission. But in order to establish the time to react effectively, crews require instant, two-way communication. Messages must be heard clearly and immediately, without delays or other interruptions. Especially when operating in urban environments and over busy work zones crowded with obstacles that include equipment, structures and utilities.
In situations where expensive assets are at risk and project delays are unacceptable, crews need a communication solution that facilitates effortless team communication and coordination to ensure mission success.
Using Wireless Headsets for Safe Drone Operation
The most effective wireless communication headsets allow drone pilots and crews to communicate instantly in a two-way conversational style without delays or button mashing. The ability to talk hands-free lets everyone maintain focus on the aircraft and the mission as they work together.
A portable wireless headset system provides a number of advantages that enable instant and safe communication between the pilot and crew during flight operations:
- Full-duplex communication – Instant, simultaneous conversation allows for immediate feedback without push-to-talk delays that may compromise mission success and safety.
- Hands-free operation –The pilot does not need to take a hand off the aircraft controller to initiate or maintain contact with crew members.
- Situational awareness – Look for technology (sometimes called Listen-Through) that allows both the pilot and ground crew to hear environmental sound at a user-adjustable volume level. Pilots should be able to hear alarms, vehicle traffic and converse with people without headsets while maintaining continuous communication with ground crew members.
- Focus and concentration – Reduced background noise and clear audio remove barriers to effective communication and improves the ground crew’s ability to concentrate on the safe operation of the aircraft.
- Extended range – An operational range of up to 1,600 feet from the ComHub allows personnel to maintain physical spacing as the aircraft moves through the operating area, all while maintaining continuous, two-way communication.
- Two-way radio integration – Connect a portable radio to a single headset for private push-to-talk communication. Connect it to the system’s ComHub to enable PTT for all ground crew members.
Drone Operations Training With Wireless Headsets
The same wireless advantages that improve safety and response times during drone operations also provide a mobile educational environment. Crews training with wireless headsets enjoy a “field classroom” where students can hear their instructor clearly at all times. Two-way, instant communication allows for real-time Q&A sessions, providing a conduit for continuous feedback and improvement.
Getting the quickest return on your drone investment means prioritizing training, safety and operational efficiency. Wireless communication headsets allow crews to operate their aircraft with more confidence, complete missions with fewer incidents, and ensure that regulations and safety procedures are more than just talk.
Learn more about how Sonetics Wireless Communication Systems can help your drone pilots and ground crew communicate more effectively.