Town of Summerville Drones are operated by FAA-certified and licensed operators. The Town has three operators. They are the only personnel authorized to operate the drones.
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UAS stands for Unmanned Aerial System, which is more commonly known as a drone. Essentially, a drone is an aerial device equipped with an onboard computer that can be operated remotely by a pilot on the ground using a handheld controller. Small drones weigh less than 55 pounds, are battery-operated, have several rotors like a helicopter, and are equipped with a video camera.
The Town of Summerville's Drone Program follows 14 CFR Part 107 which strictly prohibits Drone operators from intentionally recording or transmitting images of any location where a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as private backyards or inside private buildings, except where authorized by a warrant issued by a judge or in emergency situations. Reasonable precautions can include, for example, deactivating or turning imaging devices away from such areas or persons during Drone operations.
In addition to the training and study required to maintain an FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot License, all Town of Summerville Drone Pilots must complete 1.5 hours of supervised flight time with an established FAA Certified Pilot before their first mission. Additionally, pilots will train regularly in a variety of locations and settings to ensure operational efficiency. All training is documented, and the records are maintained by the Town of Summerville and are subject to review by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Yes. For the sake of transparency, a list of all Drone missions will be made publicly available on the Town of Summerville's website.
Government agencies (including Federal, State, and tribal), law enforcement, and public safety entities have two options for operating drones under 55 pounds.
No, our FLIR thermal cameras cannot see through walls, at least not like in the movies. Walls are generally thick enough—and insulated enough—to block any infrared radiation from the other side. If you point a thermal camera at a wall, it will detect heat from the wall, not what’s behind it.
All drone pilots are subject to FAA regulations related to airspace use, and all must have a valid "Part 107" Remote Pilot License.