Electrical Connection - Page 5

Complying with FAA Rules for Commercial Drones Certification

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By Jim Curran, Executive Vice President, Electrical Connection

Drones - Phantom 3When you consider the technology that goes into commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones, you can understand why the Electrical Connection partnership is taking a leading role in training for UAV certification.  UAVs are essentially flying robots that integrate wireless communications and controls. Training in advanced manufacturing that relies on robotics, process controls and wireless communications has long been a staple of the Electrical Industry Training Center.

The training center is operated by the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1.  UAV onboard cameras and other data-gathering and inspection sensors provide IBEW/NECA members a powerful tool that is safe and effective.  UAV technologies can be used for thermal imaging to detect electrical infrastructure hot spots in buildings, three-dimensional mapping of topography for precision planning of electrical installations and construction project monitoring of progress and site assets.  The construction industry is predicted to lead the commercial UAV market with the 10 largest construction firms worldwide already deploying or experimenting with UAVs.

With that in mind, the Electrical Connection hosted an Oct. 28, 2016 informational session on UAV certification at the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center in St. Louis.  Working with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) – Gateway Chapter and UAViation, IBEW/NECA is developing the region’s first-ever curriculum for commercial UAV certification.   This summer, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) created a certification process covering the operation of commercial drones which took effect on Aug. 29, 2016.  The number of commercial UAVs will grow from 600,000 units in 2016 to 2.7 million by 2020.  The new FAA rules are designed to minimize risks to other aircraft, people and property on the ground.  Annual worldwide UAV production is predicted to rise from $4 billion to more than $14 billion by 2026.

Certification at the training center will be open to all industries using commercial UAVs.  This includes first responders, real estate firms, agriculture, media and film makers, civil engineering civic entities and others.  For example, agriculture and land management enterprises might use UAVs equipped with special sensors to analyze crop health or water quality.  First responders may use UAV’s equipped with thermal sensors to detect human heat signatures in search and rescue operations.

The new FAA small UAV regulations are outlined in a 624-page rule book and include a number of limitations for commercial UAV use.  For example, the maximum weight limit for a commercial drone is 55 pounds and it’s limited to altitudes of 400 feet with a few exceptions.  Drones may also not be flown out of visual contact.

IBEW/NECA electrical and communication training spans more than 70 years and has been continuously adapted to new technologies like UAVs.  Training was refined at the dawn of the Information Age and for data storage, building automation, wireless integrated communications, electric vehicles and robotics.  It is the prime reason why the Electrical Connection partners with visionary organizations like AUVSI-Gateway Chapter so our workforce is always prepared to safely and proficiently install the technologies we will rely on in the future.  Learn more at www.electricalconnection.org.

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Northwest R1 School District Unveils New Scoreboard Donated by the Electrical Connection

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There was a little added excitement to “Friday Night Lights” on August 26, 2016 in the Northwest R1 School District as the high school unveiled a brand new digital scoreboard made possible through donations from the Electrical Connection and other district partnerships.   The scoreboard includes a state-of-the-art video screen and was installed by Piros Signs, Inc. with assistance from Five Star Electric and electricians from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1.   IBEW partners with the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) to form the Electrical Connection.

“The new scoreboard and video screen make our football games and other sports much more memorable for our students and parents,” said Northwest R1 School District Superintendent Dr. Paul Ziegler. “The Electrical Connection IBEW/NECA partnership has been a great supporter of our school and community.  We are grateful for their generous donation and the reliability of their services.”

Members of the Electrical Connection partnership have proficiently installed a number of electrical improvements to schools in the district including new gymnasiums and library renovations at Murphy and Brennan Woods Elementary schools, as well as a variety of other projects.  In addition to Five Star Electric, local IBEW/NECA contractors who have served the district include Sachs Electric Co., Eckelkamp Electric, and several other IBEW/NECA electrical contractors over the years.  IBEW offers an electrical contractor hotline to help customers find reliable and quality electrical service providers at 314-932-6526.

Members of the Electrical Connection provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  The Electrical Connection offers the largest data base of Missouri’s most reliable and proficient electrical contractors at www.electricalconnection.org.  Or you can call the IBEW electrical contractor hotline at 314-932-6526.

Cutline for image:  At the August 26, 2016 dedication of the new Northwest R1 High School digital scoreboard were, left to right, David Brand Jr. Piros Signs, Inc.; Chuck DeMoulin, IBEW Local 1 business representative; Dr. Paul Ziegler, superintendent, Northwest R1 School District; Frank Jacobs, business manager, IBEW Local 1; Tim Green, IBEW/NECA director of governmental affairs; and Billy Winkler, owner, Five Star Electric

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