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Helios Visions Becomes First Drone Services Company in Chicago Approved to Fly Drones Over People

BY Isabella Lee
5 November 2019

Helios Visions recently became the first drone services company in Chicago, IL approved to fly drones over people. The approval comes from the FAA in the form of a Part 107.39 waiver, which allows approved companies the proper authority to safely operate drones over people.

Helios Visions Flying Over People Waiver Drone with Parachute

Image Source: Helios Visions

Helios Visions’ announcement of receiving the waiver coincides with the first National Drone Safety Awareness Week (#droneweek), hosted by the FAA and stakeholders from November 4-10, 2019. During Drone Week, the FAA and its stakeholders help educate the public about drone safety by sharing stories, hosting events, and kicking off new safety initiatives. Each day of the week has been assigned a category in which to highlight drone safety efforts. Today’s theme is Business – Photography, Real Estate, Insurance.

Drone Safety Awareness Week - Business

Helios Visions is a fully insured and safety-oriented advanced drone services company. Their recent waiver highlights how drones are being used in commercial real estate and the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry. With drones, Helios Visions is able to collect geospatial data for its clients. This method of aerial data collection leads to increased accuracy in reporting, improved safety conditions, lowered costs, and increasing efficiency.

With this waiver, Helios Visions can meet increasing customer demands within our architecture engineering and construction projects, along with our commercial real estate and development applications.

— Ted Parisot, Co-Founder and CMO, Helios Visions

Drone Parachutes Provide Additional Level of Safety for Operations Over People

Helios Visions utilizes the ParaZero parachute to safely operate over people. Utilizing a ParaZero parachute that complies with ASTM F3322-18 (specifications for UAS deployable parachutes), Helios Visions’ operations exceed industry standards while complimenting its risk management philosophy.

We are thrilled that leading companies like Helios Visions are able to use our product to increase their safe and legal flight envelope. This waiver will allow Helios Visions to operate with an increased level of safety and efficiency.

— Avi Lozowick, Vice President, Policy and Strategy, ParaZero

Helios Visions isn’t the first company to leverage parachute systems to increase the safety of their drone operations. Equipping drones with parachutes has become a common staple among companies seeking out waivers to operate outside the restrictions of Part 107.

For example, in June of 2019, Hensel Phelps Construction Company of Washington, D.C. was granted permission by the FAA to fly over people using a drone equipped with a parachute. Hensel Phelps has witnessed first-hand the benefits of using drone technology on construction sites, utilizing drones to manage and audit project schedules, communicate site logistics, improve inspections, and even enhance team safety.

FAA-Drone-Waiver-Hensel-Phelps

Image Source: Hensel Phelps

The first-ever FAA waiver for sustained operations over people with a parachute system was granted to North Dakota operator, Botlink, on September 29, 2018. Botlink utilized the waiver to perform missions for local law enforcement as well as to generate media content as part of the UAS Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP) lead by the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

How Helios Visions Uses Drones in Construction and Commercial Real Estate

Helios Visions specializes in drone mapping, aerial data collection, & building facade inspection. They help clients gain access to real-time job site insights to make data-based decisions that reduce project costs and simplify project planning and management.

With the waiver to fly over people and a Part 107.29 waiver (the ability to operate a drone at night), Helios Visions has the ability to conduct a wider range of operations than other drone services companies do.

At Helios Visions we believe in providing timely and comprehensive services but hold safety and accountability above all our principles. Obtaining FAA waivers to properly conduct our business, is just one of our business pillars.

—Helios Visions’ Chief Financial Officer, Calvin Gin.

Some of their recent projects include creating orthomosaic maps of an under-construction Sawmill Station in Morton Grove, IL and capturing aerial photos and video to document construction progress at a new market center in Westmont, IL. Watch the drone flyover video for the Westmont Market Center jobsite below.

ICI - Market Centre - Westmont, Illinois

For more information on how drones are being used on job sites, check out our in-depth post on drone use in construction. Plus, we want to hear from you. What do you think of Helios Visions’ work using drones in the commercial real estate and AEC industry? Let us know in this thread on our community forum.

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