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Night Time Drone Flight with KPUB

by Aaron Yates

Kerrville Public Utility Board (or KPUB) is the electric service utility for all of the City of Kerrville and much of Kerr County. I went into their office to ask some questions in regards to a completely different project, but after speaking with some of their engineers and telling them about the drone services we offer, suddenly I had a new client and a new set of projects to look forward to. This is how it always happens in a small town, am I right?

Grover at KPUB is in charge of designing the street lamp coverage and oversees the replacement of old street lamps with new high-powered LED lamps. The reasoning for replacing these guys is that the old ones are inefficient and they “leak” light upward causing light pollution. But to really show people the difference in the two bulbs, we needed some aerial imagery taken at night.

Under the FAA rules for drone pilots known as Part 107, we are not allowed to fly after sunset or before dawn, so this was a problem. But with the help of J. Rupprecht, attorney at law, I was able to secure a waiver for night operations. Part of the requirement is to install a blinking strobe that’s visible for up to three miles at night. I purchased and installed the NASS DS-30 on my DJI Inspire 1 Pro with X5 camera, and we were ready to fly!

If you or someone you know could use a professional, licensed, and insured drone pilot for commercial operations, please give us a call or an email — aaron@kerrvillephoto.com and 830-214-7635.

Here are the results of those KPUB night flights.