After 2 Years, It's Time To Run This UAS Cover Story

By Luke Geiver | July 01, 2016

Call us intuitive or lucky for waiting two years to run this issue’s cover story.  Either way, we are happy we held off on telling the story of SkySkopes, a small unmanned aircraft systems service provider from North Dakota, after we first visited its meager office in 2014. The company epitomizes what it means to be a sUAS service provider today and what it has taken thousands of companies to do on their way to commercial relevance. Standing on the SkySkopes UAS airfield for the cover shoot, we smiled in disbelief as a convoy of vehicles pulled up, parked in a long row and began unloading ground control equipment, UAVs and other high-end systems for the photos we were about to capture. The company, founded by Matt Dunlevy, has come a long way since 2014 when it was only he and a few interns. If you want to learn what small UAS teams have been through—to get clients, make payroll, amass a pilot pool, acquire a 333, get more clients, and prepare for life after the release of Part 107—check out the photos (some of them two years old by now) and story, “Flying Past The UAS Startup Stage,” on page 22.

On the large UAV scene, we had the opportunity to go behind the scenes of General Atomics, pilot training facilities. The globally-recognized major UAS manufacturer is experiencing a massive demand for its systems and the qualified pilots and operators to go with it. G.A.’s new pilot-training facility is impressive and will train pilots for operations around the world, as “Large UAV Pilot Training Taking Off,” reveals on page 30.

Intel Corp., another globally recognized brand, also gave us a full-access look into its overall UAS efforts. Anil Nanduri, general manager for Intel’s newly formed UAS team, explained the genesis of Intel’s recent launch into UAS. Our talks included details on Intel’s acquisition of a commercial-grade UAV maker, its partnership with a recreation-style UAV distributor and the project Nanduri told us was epic—a multi-UAV flight sequence set to orchestral music that in a very impressive, beautiful and Guinness Book of World Record’s type-of-way helps to show why Intel believes it has a very big place in the UAS world.

It might not be readily apparent how every long-tenured UAS-related firm has shaped or will alter the greater UAS industry and the industry’s place among end-user budgets, but after reading about Flying Cam’s accomplishments—starting in the 80s—we hope you won’t argue with our choice of words in describing the story. The Belgium company has won multiple academy awards for its work utilizing UAVs on films ranging from the James Bond movie “Skyfall” to the Harry Potter series. The team was truly a pioneer in many ways and has helped build the bridge of trust between the major motion picture industry and UAS firms even before the first 333 exempt UAS companies did so back in 2014. The best part about the Flying Cam story for all of us not on their staff is related to the bigger element of the UAS industry that was revealed in this issue. The time for pioneers, startups or major UAS players to succeed, gain recognition or simply build their accounts receivables has never been better.

Luke Geiver
Editor, UAS Magazine