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Keystone is an industry leader in the safe and legal use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, UAV, Drone) as an inspection, remote sensing and mapping tool. In early 2015, Keystone became one of the select companies in the US to be given permission by the FAA to legally fly UAS for Aerial Survey applications, under Keystone’s Section 333 Exemption and blanket Certificate of Authorization (COA). As of September 2016, Keystone has transitioned smoothly into operations as a Part 107 UAS flyer with a team of UAS pilots and aircraft prepared for taking advantage of the more expansive areas open to UAS operations. Keystone has successfully applied for Class B, C and D Airspace Authorizations from the FAA and a Nighttime Flight Waiver. Keystone is experienced working with the FAA to gain access to difficult locations and can support night inspection using its thermal cameras.

Keystone’s long-term membership in ASPRS and MAPPS, coupled with membership in the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), demonstrates Keystone’s commitment to spreading the word about the safe use of UAS in the National Airspace. Below are more specific details about Keystone’s UAS division and the markets Keystone is pursuing.

Benefits of UAS

Why use Drones? Keystone has developed several use cases for UAS.
  1. Safety
    UAS are great for projects that are too dangerous for humans to go (whether into a storm, under a bridge or deep inside a dam).
  2. Cost-effective solution
    UAS are perfect for missions where a manned aircraft are just too expensive like small areas that need mapping or inspection with a high level of detail. The area and total job cost are just too small to justify mobilizing an aircraft, but a drone could be the perfect solution. Instead of a small project, maybe a job is expensive because it is remote and inaccessible to traditional aircraft. Hawaii, Iceland, Guam, Bermuda, Greenland are all examples of remote locations difficult to get to for small mapping aircraft, but perfect for a small UAS.
  3. Time sensitive capture
    Projects where “When?” is more important than accuracy or coverage, UAS can almost guarantee capture (needing only a cloud ceiling of 700ft and no precipitation). Rapid response, disaster recover, monthly inventory, construction monitoring and as-built are time sensitive uses that aircraft cannot always meet.
  4. Environmentally friendly solution
    With the increased emphasis on carbon emissions and reducing the effects of harmful gases on the environment, UAS use is the environmentally conscious data acquisition method. Reducing emissions and noise pollution by using battery powered and quiet UAS will increasingly be seen as the preferred method for all airborne data acquisition needs.