“It’s very unsexy, simply the way in which we prefer it, really,” joked Brad Hayden, president and CEO of Robotic Skies. Rather than extolling the numerous issues drones can do within the air, Hayden was explaining how his firm works to maintain them aloft.
“Robotic Skies is a upkeep community comprised of Part 145 restore stations,” Hayden stated, referencing the FAA certification governing upkeep requirements. That credential seems to be an vital constructing block for the corporate’s community having the ability to embody 230 on-site upkeep, restore and inspection service stations throughout greater than 50 international locations.
“We give attention to high-end industrial unmanned plane methods,” Hayden stated about his eight-year-old firm. “We have 25 OEMs and varied levels of R&Ds signed up for our providers.”
Robotic Skies’ premise, Hayden continued, “is “to take away the upkeep burden from unmanned plane, producers and operators, and handle your entire upkeep course of for them. We work with them to develop their upkeep program, their technician coaching, their service ranges, their upkeep intervals, after which we implement that within the area by way of our service facilities.” The customer-ROI aim is to have high quality on-sight servicing scale back the down time transport may require and supply a footprint able to scaling as enterprise wants change.
Maintaining the Flight Path
Hayden himself grew up engaged on airplanes in a household enterprise, however Robotic Skies has all the time concerned UAS. “I knew drones had been going to revolutionize aerospace, and so I knew they had been going to wish upkeep, and finally they’re going to wish licensed upkeep.”
The community’s house is a brand new, 7,600-square-foot facility in Salt Lake City. “We have a depot facility, what we name our ‘buyer enablement facility,’ Hayden stated. “I’ve acquired technicians there who work with the OEMs to develop the upkeep packages. We do the preliminary repairs, we change into specialists within the methods, after which we are able to run the repairs by way of our service facilities.”
Growth comes from leveraging that mannequin qualitatively and quantitatively.
“Our restore stations actually have the identical requirements and capabilities of their [manned] plane, electronics technicians, and airframe and powerplant mechanics. We use these Part 145 restore stations as a result of it’s exhausting to get that certification from the FAA, after which it’s important to preserve it. Meaning they get inspected a minimum of annually by their native FAA workplace; generally they bring about in different FAA places of work. So we all know how they do enterprise, how they settle for jobs, how they course of the restore after which how they return that plane to operation. We layer our processes on prime of that. And so we begin with this nice basis for a high quality administration system that we are able to then construct upon.
“What’s vital to recollect is we’ve acquired 5 folks however 1,000 technicians. They mainly signal unique agreements with us. It’s extra of a community enterprise. We make our cash once they make their cash. So it’s not like they’ve to enroll and pay us an enormous charge.”
Hayden recognized some points in UAS upkeep. “Non-standardization of elements is hard. The provide chain could be very immature at this level, and that makes it troublesome for producers. And it makes it troublesome for us, as a result of we now have to attend on elements.
“There are too many choices on the market, if you’ll. You’ve acquired a variety of, let’s say, inexpensive elements that don’t have the pedigree, or the supporting information on efficiency, which makes it actually, actually powerful.
“For the trade at giant, it’s undoubtedly across the rules. Everybody’s attempting to determine how these plane are going to be licensed, if the certification is required and the way they’re going to be built-in. It’s all about integration.”
Hayden serves on the FAA’s Drone Advisory Board. “The key with any aerospace endeavor, and that is aerospace, is it’s important to be concerned within the regulatory course of in case you might help information rules as a lot as attainable. Standards have gotten more and more vital. I work on ASTM committees and trade associations. All these organizations play an element in actually holding this trade collectively and guiding it within the route of enabling operations.”
Hayden’s candy spot? “I might velocity up the method with out sacrificing security. I believe it’s a matter of determining get extra funds, as a result of the FAA is strapped for money, like each different authorities group. I believe that if they’d extra funds, they’d be capable of do the whole lot that trade wants.”
He closed by reiterating his want for standardization. “Right now, we actually don’t have harmonization of requirements around the globe. In most international locations, if you get on an plane to fly someplace, that plane is maintained and operated very equally. We don’t have that [UAS] harmonization but around the globe. Right now, it’s a full-time job protecting observe of how all of the totally different regulatory authorities are approaching unmanned.”
Photos courtesy of Robotic Skies.