Drones UAV’s and UVV’s All the Hype
Aerial and maritime unmanned systems, drones or UAV’s/UUV’s are growing in the number of applied uses commercially, industrial and in defence.
I have been very fortunate in my life to work with some of the most unique and innovative technologies and their applications, of all time. I would credit that to my interests and passions coupled with my formal education. Unmanned systems, optical systems, and infrared sensor systems are among my favorite, and are coming together to solve real problems.
Some aerial uses of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAV’s, that I am extremely familiar with are 3D-surveying and geographical mapping, agricultural monitoring in crops and animals, law enforcement surveillance, thermal sensor drones used in rescue, as well as agricultural monitoring again, storm tracking, unmanned cargo transport, shipping and delivery, disaster relief, inspection, and of course aerial photography and videography. Did you know Google even has an internet boosting drone since the acquisition of Titan Aerospace? There are so many other applications and positive uses as well.
In maritime use, unmanned underwater vehicles or UUV’s are typically used in commercial diving, deep water monitoring, testing, surveillance and environmental uses such as coral reef restoration.
Real World Applications of the Future
I am particularly interested in amphibious drones or unmanned vehicles capable of both aerial and water for a very important reason. One of the most interesting applications today is that of pollution control. In China, there are drones that can release chemicals that in polluted areas will reduce PM2.5.
One issue locally to us here in Martin County, Florida, but received international attention, has been that of the polluted Indian River Lagoon due mostly to agricultural runoff. Runoff from agricultural land can carry large amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus can cause algal blooms in waterways that can be toxic to humans, livestock, and fish. Sediment can clog fish gills, smother plants and can reduce light penetration in the water. Without light, aquatic plants on the river bed cannot survive. Aquatic plants are important for commercial and recreational fishing as they provide a habitat and food source for fish. In 2012 the Treasure coast experienced a wave of extremely uncommon shark attacks that were a direct cause of the algae blooms. The algae blooms impacted the seagrass, effecting the fish population, which resulted in irregular behavior in several different species of sharks. **See my full paper for further information**
So, as you can see reducing agricultural runoff is extremely important for many reasons. I am following research in autonomous drones that can be designed with autonomous biosensors as well as thermal, optical and video sensors. This will give researchers new ways of monitoring all of the many intertwined canals and waterways that make up South Florida’s East Coast. In addition, water testing kits can be fitted onto these special unmanned systems. The ability to be aerial or underwater will allow for more efficient means for monitoring and combating runoff all the way from the source to the coast.
For more on this topic subscribe, and we will keep you posted. Full paper available upon request.
OEM vs MRO
It is no secret that OEM’s have upset the MRO market by providing full life cycle maintenance, repair, overhaul and engineering on the aircraft, engines and systems that they manufacture. In the past, OEM’s would pass the aftermarket to MRO’s and that is simply how the business went on. But now OEM’s see great benefit by entering the aftermarket and services business by offering their clients a one-stop shop for their OEM aircrafts and parts.
What was once a symbiotic relationship between OEM and MRO, has now reached a competitive ground.
MRO Leader Lufthansa Technik
There are a couple of ways MRO’s are remaining competitive in today’s market. One model MRO, Lufthansa Technik, continues to compete in today’s market against OEM’s and other MRO’s by staying innovative. Lufthansa utilizes the most innovative technologies, which happen to be some of the most effective technologies in aftermarket services. In addition, Lufthansa stays ahead of the game with best and secure IT practices. If that wasn’t appealing enough, they offer creative packages that are appealing to the customer financially. Lufthansa is even sustainable and socially responsible. One of the most important services that Lufthansa offers is engineering services and capabilities. This is a key factor in remaining competitive against the OEM’s.
Ultimately the customer will drive the business to either OEM’s or MRO’s. But one important factor that cannot be ignored is certification. OEM’s easily outweigh certifications in comparison to MRO’s. Customer convenience and turn around time is also a driving force. This all seems obvious, but if your current contract is ending soon, before making any quick decisions, do some research before deciding which way to go since you will be locked into that contract. Marquis Performance Group can advise you along the way and help you make the best decision for your feet.
Factors to Consider if You Decide to Choose an MRO.
There are several important factors that you must consider if you do choose to work with an MRO. The most important are certifications. It is extremely important to know what agencies that MRO is certified with, and what certs they have. Check for certifications like these: FAA, EASA, CAAC, CAA, as well as other countries, and AS 9100, AS 9100:2003, AS 9110B, ISO 9001:2008, the Aviation Suppliers Association, and Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association, and others.
In addition, understanding that having capabilities to perform A, B, C, and D checks is essential, because if you end up having to go back to the OEM anyway, you may be wasting your money.
Another factor is the in-house capabilities of that MRO. Make sure the MRO can handle all of your needs in-house, because I will repeat it again, if they end up sending your project back to the OEM anyway, or having to contract out to another MRO, you may be wasting your money, and surely increasing costs and delaying deliverables, which means your aircraft isn’t flying or making any revenue.
I mentioned innovation earlier. Make sure you see what kinds of technologies the MRO is using. Make sure they are the most effective and efficient technologies and processes, because again, that can cost you more than time and money, but also safety.
Facilities and staff are also a key factor. Make sure the facilities are clean, organized, and can house the work and loads. If you have large aircraft, make sure that MRO can support not just your aircraft, but others as well, because after all, you aren’t the only client. Meet the staff and understand if the MRO has the staffing capabilities to handle the work. Risks cannot be managed, and mistakes are made when staff is light. In addition, deliverables are delayed. Research the staff turnover as well. If an MRO seems to have a lot of turnover, you may want to question why.
Lastly, make sure the pricing and rates make sense to your needs. Always question if rates seem to be too low.
Contact Marquis Performance Group today to schedule a consultation. We are at your service and look forward to advising you on your aftermarket needs.