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Your Questions Answered

All the facts about Phoenix Air Unmanned, LLC


PAU is based in Cartersville, Georgia, USA

Phoenix Air Unmanned, LLC is located at the Cartersville-Bartow County Airport. Our offices are 45 minutes NW of downtown Atlanta. Whether we utilize our airport, ATL, or our operations vehicles - we're capable of servicing the entire United States for LiDAR survey and mapping.

Powerline Drone Inspection Company Phoenix Air Unmanned
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Questions & Answers

What makes Phoenix Air Unmanned, LLC unique?

We are a quality drone operator focused on all aspects of unmanned aircraft flight. With founders who are prior service, we have built our business upon a structure similar to military aviation. We have identified the most talented individuals in sensor technology, maintenance, aviation dispatch, and pilots who are capable of delivering a superior product to our customers.  


What sets Phoenix Air Unmanned apart from other drone companies?

  • We are not an organization staffing unqualified operators under one umbrella. Our pilots are certificated manned aviators who complete qualification training and proficiency checks.

  • Our equipment is a step above commercial-off-the-shelf - with the ability to integrate multiple payloads.

  • We are IS-BAO registered – placing a key emphasis on aviation safety in all things we do.

  • We are not hobbyists who became commercial drone operators.

  • We employ experts in image capture and the sensors we fly are second to none.

  • We have a history of operations to include 15,000 miles of powerline inspections.

What regulations does Phoenix Air Unmanned operate under?

We operate under both CFR Part 107 and Part 91. Part 91 provides us the operational authority to fly unmanned aircraft above 55 pounds. 

We have authorizations to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) of the PIC for powerline and linear infrastructure inspections. 

Why does Phoenix Air Unmanned being founded by a manned aviation company matter to PAU customers?

Operating drones under aviation standards provides increased safety to every project. Our organizational structure mirrors a Part 135 certificated manned aviation provider. We invoke standards in all areas to include maintenance, qualifications, training, pilot proficiency, aerial operations and more. We frequently hear from customers they are unable to maintain proficiency with their own platforms. Our programs are designed to keep all our pilots qualified and proficient.

What industries does Phoenix Air Unmanned serve and what services do you offer?

We serve many industries, including land development, civil engineering and the public sector. Our services range from aerial mapping and surveying to drone photography and videography. We also provide services such as drone inspections and data collection.

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General | LiDAR | Inspections

Is drone LiDAR right for my project?

Phoenix Air Unmanned staff are passionate about LiDAR and feel drone acquisition bridges a gap between small site traditional survey techniques and multi-thousand acre projects. Our customers are now going after larger projects and growing their business after hiring PAU for LiDAR data acquisition flights. We have found that drone LiDAR services are the preferred choice for projects with poor ground access, a need for high point density, and complex airspace. 

What can I do with LiDAR data?

LiDAR provides powerful insights for civil engineering, research, and mapping by producing digital twins with points densities exceeding 1,000 points per square meter. The datasets are a single point in time capture that can be used for feature extraction or a baseline upon which future change can be compared. Clients have used our data to measure wall lean, road deformation, powerline sag, watershed streamlines, and vegetation risk to infrastructure.

How do LiDAR sensors operate, and what can be achieved with the elevation data they generate?

LiDAR sensors employ laser-emitted light energy to scan the terrain and calculate varying distances, ultimately generating a comprehensive dataset of elevation information. This data can then be utilized to create detailed maps and three-dimensional models of both natural landscapes and artificial structures

What key specification can be achieved with UAS based LiDAR cloud points?

From UAS based LiDAR applications, the resulting point cloud can deliver a density of 100-500 points per square meter, with a vertical elevation accuracy ranging between 2 and 3 centimeters

What LiDAR acquisition product offerings does Phoenix Air Unmanned deliver?

1. Digital Elevation Models (DEMs): These are 3D representations of a terrain's surface, sans any objects like buildings or trees. DEMs are crucial for understanding natural landforms, watershed analysis, and geological studies.​

2. Digital Surface Models (DSMs): In contrast to DEMs, DSMs include trees, buildings, and other surface objects. These are used in urban planning, line-of-sight analysis, and for assessing natural and man-made features.

3. Topographic Maps: Enhanced with LiDAR data, these maps provide highly accurate contours and detailed surface information, useful for civil engineering, infrastructure planning, and environmental management.

How much does a Drone LiDAR survey cost?

1. The cost of a drone LiDAR survey can vary widely based on several factors. These factors include the size of the area to be surveyed, the level of detail required, the complexity of the terrain, the specific technology and equipment used, Additionally, local regulations, travel expenses, and data processing requirements can contribute to the overall cost.

2. Small to Medium-Sized Areas: For smaller projects covering a few hectares or acres, costs can range from a few thousand to several thousand dollars.

3. Large Areas or Complex Terrain: Projects covering larger areas or involving complex terrain (such as dense forests or steep mountains) may cost tens of thousands of dollars or more.

Can Phoenix Air Unmanned process LiDAR data?

Yes, we offer data processing services as part of our comprehensive solutions. After collecting LiDAR data using our drones, we utilize specialized software and expertise to process and analyze the data. This processing stage involves converting raw point cloud data into usable and meaningful information, such as 3D maps, topographic models, or specific insights relevant to the client's needs. The processed data is then presented in a format that is accessible and actionable for the client, facilitating decision-making and further analysis.

Do you offer more than LiDAR survey and inspections?

Yes. We have multiple payload mounting capabilities that meet the needs of multiple industries and use cases. 

What is the maximum acreage for a LiDAR project?

Phoenix Air Unmanned has operational experience completing single flight missions to multi-month projects. In a single day, we are able to acquire LiDAR data of up to 700 acres or 35 linear miles under Part 107.

How quickly can you get to my project?

PAU has multiple pilots and aircraft available and can frequently complete projects within less than two weeks of first call. Additionally, we have deployed a team across state lines and delivered data to clients within 72 hours for rapid response projects.

How does the acquisition of LiDAR data through UAS compare to other aerial survey techniques?

There is no more cost effective solution when conducting a large area survey than drone LiDAR data flights. When contrasted with alternative aerial survey techniques, the acquisition of LiDAR data through UAS provides the most accurate detailed application.

How can surveyors use Phoenix Air Unmanned for aerial drone LiDAR capture?

  1. 1. Topographic Mapping: Drone LiDAR is extensively used for creating detailed topographic maps. It can penetrate vegetation to measure the ground surface, making it ideal for surveying forested or densely vegetated areas.

  2. 2. Infrastructure Planning and Monitoring: Surveyors use drone LiDAR to assess land for infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, and buildings. It's also used for monitoring the progress of construction projects and inspecting infrastructure for maintenance purposes.

  3. 3. Environmental Studies and Conservation: Environmental surveyors use LiDAR to study natural landscapes, assess erosion, monitor changes in vegetation, and plan conservation efforts. It's especially useful in sensitive ecological areas where minimal human intrusion is desired.

  4. 4. Forestry Management: In forestry, drone LiDAR helps in assessing forest density, tree heights, biomass estimations, and in planning logging activities in a sustainable manner.

  5. Flood Risk Assessment: By providing accurate elevation data, drone LiDAR aids in creating flood models and assessing water flow patterns, which is critical for flood risk management and mitigation planning.

What are capabilities of LiDAR precision, and how is it applied in mapping and modeling?

1. Increased Accessibility and Reach: Drones can access difficult or hazardous terrain with ease, such as steep mountainous areas, dense forests, or disaster zones, where traditional survey methods might be challenging or risky.

2. High-Resolution Data: Drone-mounted LiDAR systems can fly close to the ground, enabling them to capture high-resolution data with greater detail compared to manned aircraft or satellite-based methods.

Cost-Effectiveness: Operating drones for LiDAR surveys is generally more cost-effective than using manned aircraft, especially for small to medium-sized areas. It reduces the need for expensive piloted flights and can be deployed quickly with fewer logistical requirements.

3. Time Efficiency: Drones can cover areas much faster than ground-based survey teams, significantly reducing the time required for data collection. This is particularly beneficial for projects with tight deadlines or in emergency situations.

4. Safety: Using drones minimizes the need for human surveyors to physically access potentially dangerous or inaccessible areas, thereby enhancing safety.


5. Versatility: Drones equipped with LiDAR can be used for a wide range of applications, from environmental monitoring and forestry management to urban planning and archaeological surveys.

6. Reduced Environmental Impact: Drone operations generally have a lower environmental footprint compared to traditional survey methods. They are quieter, less intrusive, and less likely to disturb wildlife or the natural environment.

7. Flexibility in Data Collection: Drones can be easily re-deployed to collect additional data, adjust flight paths, or focus on specific areas of interest, offering greater flexibility than fixed-wing aircraft or ground surveys.

Improved Canopy Penetration: LiDAR mounted on drones is particularly effective in penetrating vegetation canopies to capture ground-level data, which is crucial in forestry and ecological studies.

8. Real-Time Data Processing: Some drone LiDAR systems offer real-time data processing capabilities, allowing for immediate analysis and decision-making in the field. Integration with Other Sensors: Drones can carry not only LiDAR sensors but also other types of sensors such as cameras and thermal imagers, allowing for the collection of multi-dimensional data in a single flight.


What are the benefits of using drones for utility inspections?

Utilizing drones for utility inspections can provide several advantages over traditional inspection methods. Drones can provide safer, faster, and more cost-effective inspections, as they can access difficult-to-reach areas with minimal risk to personnel. Additionally, drones can capture high-resolution imagery and video footage to provide an enhanced level of detail for inspections.

What safety precautions are taken when using drones for utility inspections?

When using drones for utility inspections, safety should always be the top priority. Before each flight, our operators perform daily briefings, weather analysis, mission plan reviews, flight risk assessments, and pre-flight safety checks to ensure that the drone and operator are ready to fly. Additionally, operators always fly within the rules and regulations and follow any applicable aviation or local laws.

How many miles of utilities can be inspected in a day?

The exact number of miles that can be inspected in a day will depend on payload, operating environment, as well as weather conditions. Generally, our drones can cover up to 10 miles in a single flight and average 45 miles per day. PAU has inspected 134 miles in a single day - flown BVLOS under our nationwide FAA waiver.

What payload options are available for drone utility inspections?

Drones used for utility inspections can be outfitted with a variety of payloads, such as high-resolution cameras, thermal imaging sensors, LiDAR sensors, and more. Depending on the type of inspection being conducted, the appropriate payload can be selected to suit the needs of the project.

How is imagery from drone utility inspections delivered to the customer?

Imagery from drone utility inspections is typically delivered to customers electronically in a variety of formats, including high-resolution digital photos and video footage, as well as 3D models and point clouds. Depending on the customer's requirements, the imagery can be delivered through a secure file transfer protocol site, an online cloud storage platform, or on a physical storage device such as a USB hard drive.

Does PAU have authority to fly beyond visual line of sight BVLOS?

Yes, PAU can operate BVLOS for transmission line inspection. Our FAA waiver scales to all Department of Energy recognized Utilities in the United States.

The primary benefit of BVLOS is greater efficiency - leading to reduced cost. The PAU BVLOS waiver for utility inspections does not require a visual observer. Under BVLOS waivers, PAU averages 45 miles of inspections a day.

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