Frequently Asked Questions
An overview of UAV's and AgSky's operations
What does UAV mean?
UAV stands for “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle”, and is considered to be any type of flying craft that operates either by remote control (RC) or computerized auto-pilot. Sizes of UAV’s may range from a few grams to many kilograms and can be several meters long.
UAV’s are commonly referred to as “drones”, and may be either fixed-wing (like a traditional airplane) or multi-rotor (similar to a helicopter). Typically, UAV’s are outfitted with an array of sensors, cameras, radio links, and on-board computers.
Are UAVs safe?
While there are risks with any type of motorized flying vehicle, AgSky Technologies Inc. takes safety very seriously and adheres strictly to several sets of safety principles, including those set out in Transport Canada’s aviation regulations. Pre-flight checklists are used to ensure all electronic and mechanical systems are working correctly prior to the launch of any mission.
Every flight plan is carefully reviewed in detail to ensure correct altitudes are maintained and no obstacles are crossed. AgSky also keeps a second trained Operations Manager on-site to assist with spotting for other aircraft or dangers that may enter a flight zone.
While landowners are encouraged to attend a flight operation, general public are discouraged from spectating, and no one is permitted to be within an active flight zone.
What are some specific safety precautions?
Our drones are operated entirely by auto-pilot, thereby eliminating pilot error and allowing more focus on surroundings and keeping aware of potential hazards. If a drone should inadvertently deviate from a flight plan, a secondary fail-safe system overrides and returns the drone immediately to the landing zone.
In addition to always keeping the drone in direct visual line-of-sight, a radio link is maintained with the ground control station allowing an emergency Mission Abort at the press of a button. Flight logs are also archived of every mission and regularly analyzed to identify any potential issues that may not have been visible in the field.
What licensing is required for UAVs?
Transport Canada has a specific set of rules and regulations in regards to UAVs, in addition to general aviation laws. Special Flight Operation Certificates (SFOCs) are required for any commercial drone mission, and AgSky Technologies is fully compliant. Depending on the location of a proposed mission, flights may be delayed until all paperwork and SFOCs are obtained. AgSky cannot and will not run any flight mission without the needed paperwork, so please contact us ahead of time if you have a specific timeframe for your imaging.
For more info, visit Transport Canada’s UAV website.
At what altitude do you fly?
While drones in general can fly to considerable heights (sometimes in excess of 5,000 feet), AgSky limits flight plans to approximately 300ft (or 100m). Not only does this provide excellent image quality, but keeps our flight plan fully compliant with Transport Canada regulations and avoids interference with other aircraft that may happen to be in the area. It is also a safety precaution, as this means the drone will always be visually tracked.
What weather can UAVs operate in?
Ideal weather conditions should be bright, sunny daytime, with minimal wind and moderate temperature, as this will provide the best possible images in the shortest amount of time. AgSky’s eBee Ag drone is capable of flying in winds up to 45km/h and cloudy days, although flight time will be decreased due to higher battery usage.
AgSky will not operate outside of daylight hours, during rain or snowfall, and in temperatures below -5 degrees Celsius. Light snow on the ground is acceptable in most cases.
Are indoor-flights possible?
No, AgSky is specialized in outdoor, crop field imaging and does not conduct flight missions in arenas or other large venues.
What kind of camera and imaging are you using?
We use a specially-modified Canon S110 NIR digital camera with 12.0 Megapixel resolution. Images are captured in a RAW format for maximum quality and flexibility, and then are post-processed into whatever format the customer requires.
More information on AgSky’s equipment is available for review.
How is AgSky Technologies Inc. insured?
We carry and maintain business liability coverage well in excess of Transport Canada’s minimum requirements to ensure adequate coverage in the unlikely event of an accident or claim.
Can AgSky be hired to perform surveillance missions?
We cannot be contracted to fly over property without the owners AND occupant’s written prior consent. Again, as AgSky is specialized to the agriculture sector, security missions such as these are usually referred to other companies.
How much does a Crop Assessment flight mission cost?
Since we offer a complex service based on many variables, prices can range considerably. Please call or email us for a free consultation and quote.