SSC Grounds has started using drones, officially called unmanned aircraft system (UAS) flights, to obtain different and better views of various areas on campus.

Prior to flying on campus, Grounds needed permission from the Federal Aviation Administration, Easterwood Air Traffic Control, and Texas A&M University. Paperwork for each was completed along with documents created by Horticulture Supervisor Neil Fletcher to construct the plan. The documents covered details such as standard operating procedures, in-flight emergency plan, pedestrian plan, and boundaries for flight.

The first flight was at the Jack K. Williams Administration Building to inspect the gutters. This was a quick flight and saved our Maintenance Department much time by not having to rent a lift to inspect the gutters. The first flight took aerial photos of the front lawn at J.K. as well.

The second flight was at the George Bush Library to take an aerial photo of the fountain flower bed before construction began. Additional flights of this area will be scheduled to document construction as well as a final photo of the finished product and of the pond area.

Safety Manager Ronald Kleppel observed the first flight at the Bush Library. Neil Fletcher remarked, “I was glad to hear Ronald’s feedback regarding the operation. He said it was well organized and the job was well done.”

Neil has puzt a lot of time and effort into these flights but says it’s all worth it. “I am glad to be doing this for SSC. I would like to give credit to Brandon Morgan, Phillip Zellner, and Richard Gentry for asking me to do this and providing the opportunity,” he states.

Thanks for your work on this project, Neil! We are looking forward to seeing more aerial photos of campus.

Information submitted by Neil Fletcher, Horticulture Supervisor, Grounds Management

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