UAV Flight Mission
- Coordinates: Not posted
- Airspace Classification: G
- Flight Difficulty Level: Intermediate
- Obstacles: Trees, Topography
- Hazards: Manned Aircraft, Livestock, Vegetation, Wildlife, Meteorological Conditions
The subject property is located outside the 9.0 Km radius of the Kamloops – CYKA – FSS, Clearwater and Shuswap aerodromes. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle / Drone flight missions were conducted following protocols for Class G airspace as outlined in the Canadian Aviation Regulations to fly at this location. Please reference the Canadian Aviation Regulations and see our UAV Regulations page for more information.
Flight Planning and Safety
Unmanned aerial vehicle flight missions at this location require special considerations. Permission was granted by the rancher to conduct unmanned aerial vehicle flights. Standard safety considerations included pre-planning, special flight mission parameters in regards to flying near livestock, monitoring for manned aircraft and the general public and additional visual observers.
Left is an aerial photograph of the cattle located using our unmanned aerial vehicle. The cattle were located within the first 45 minutes of the flight mission.
Time was spent scanning roads and trails, water sources and all other areas within this heavily forested area.
It was a perfect day to conduct a UAV flight mission with sunny skies and winds below 10 km/h. The chill of winter could be felt at this elevation.
We had a great command centre set-up, including a large monitor to which we broadcast live video feed directly from the UAV. The setup included the pilot, two visual observers and a person watching the monitor to locate the cattle. We were fortunate that the cattle were located within 500 metres of the command centre; this enabled us to retain visual line of sight (VLOS) of the UAV without having to move to another location.
Once we located the cattle, we checked the surrounding area for the easiest point to access, recorded the GPS location, counted the cattle and checked their condition.
The flight mission took a total of two (2) hours to complete. As you can see in the video, the forest is very dense in this area. According to the ranchers, they would have spent a full 8 hour day driving, riding ATV’s and walking around the range land looking for the cattle. The UAV turned out to be a great time saver!
UAV Flight Mission Notes
The primary limitation during this UAV flight mission was visual line of site. We had to keep the UAV within 500 metres of the command centre to maintain VLOS. Other safety concerns included tall vegetation (obstacles) and variable elevation terrain. The flight mission went very well with the two additional support personnel; a total of four people working on the mission.
We completed a detailed safety meeting prior to conducting the flight mission. This included a review of the technical aspects of the UAV and it’s operating limitations. We also had a discussion on the use of the UAV around the livestock, and set pre-defined parameters for elevation. Once we located the cattle, the ranchers made the final decision on an elevation to fly above the cattle to not cause the cattle any stress.
Meteorological conditions were favorable during all flight missions. Wind speeds did not exceed 10 km/h, based on readings from our portable weather station. This UAV flight mission was conducted successfully, and without incident.
About the Ranchers
Steve and Ashley MacDougall and Kent Wallace run farms and ranches in the North Thompson River valley, north of Kamloops. They manage many head of cattle and also grow crops when they aren’t chasing cattle.
Special thanks to Steve and Ashley MacDougall and Kent Wallace for giving Firefox the opportunity to work with them to complete this agricultural livestock tracking UAV flight mission.