KubrickabrdToday, we’re talking about the exciting world of flight logbooks.

On the surface, there’s nothing exciting about logging data, but what if there was a way where all of that mundane work could be automated and all you have to do is show up and fly.  It may not be that simple, but as today’s guest on the Drone Radio Show points out, there is now a platform that could make your drone administration and FAA compliance a whole lot easier.

Eric Kubicka is a Sen­ior Partner of Drone Logbook, a software company that provides a cloud based platform to manage flights, documentation, incidents, maintenance and inventory. Their system enables commercial UAV companies to comply with regulatory requirements and manage operations.  He’s here to talk about Drone Logbook, the ways in which the platform can streamline the compliance process and how the UAV administrators can better manage their service.

Before we hear from Eric, Tim Trott, a commercial pilot and drone pilot and a certified instructor gives us a pilot’s perspective of why drone logbooks are important.  Tim has authored two books, “The Droner’s Guide: From Beginner to Professional” and “UAS Operations:  Preparing to meet the anticipated FAA knowledge test requirements for UAS Operations and/or Pilot UAS Rating”.  

  • [02:18] Flight Log.  Tim Trott, pilot, instructor and author talks about the importance of having good flights logs if you’re a pilot.
  • [06:05] Introduction to Drone Log Book.  Eric Kubicka of Drone Log Book introduces the company and the services that Drone Log Book provides to help commercial drone operations save time in complying with reporting requirements.
  • [06:54] Requirements. Commercial drone operators are required to report certain flight information monthly to the FAA as part of their Section 333 exemption.  Operators must report, even if they do not register a flight during the month.
  • [08:15] How Drone Log Book Works.  Eric describes how Drone Log Book uses the log files of the drones to populate much of the data needed for flight logs.  Operators can download the data directly from the UAV or onto an SD card, which can then be uploaded to the web-based Drone Log Book.
  • [10:43] Mission Planning.  Drone Log Book can be used to help pilots in mission planning.  The system can be used to allocate drones, pilots and create the mission plan for UAV flights.
  • [11:43] Non-U.S. Reporting Requirements. Other countries are not required to report monthly, but they are required to maintain logs for auditing purposes.
  • ]10:40] Usage.  Drone Log Book has more than 4,000 users so far.  About 40% of the users are U.S. operators.  DJI represents the most prevalent drone manufacturer.
  • [13:48] Customer Feedback.  Eric talks about some of the feedback provided by current users, most of which are pleased with the system, and would like additional processes, like pre-flight and mission planning to be enhanced.
  • [15:00] Challenges.  As Eric explains, the hardest part so far is making sure they don’t get ahead of the user’s learning curve.  The strategy is to roll out enhancements periodically as users become familiar with the system
  • [16:03] Web Based System.  Eric provides a little more insight into how the web-based system works and how log files can be automatically uploaded. 
  • [17:08] The Company.  Drone Log Book is a Swiss company based in Geneva and Portland.
  • [17:28] Drone Log Book Vision.  Eric describes the vision for Drone Log Book is to the tool to process documentation that will save operators time.
  • [18:05] More about Eric Kubicka.  Eric has been involved in the drone industry for a couple of years, previously running a UAS career site.  His knowledge with documentation systems and regulatory requirements lead him to creating Drone Log Book.  He doesn’t fly drones. His primary interest is in data systems and looking at how data can be collected, compiled and managed to achieve greater efficiencies.
  • [19:37] Reporting Options. Eric runs through some of the reporting capabilities of Drone Log Book.  Data can be stratified to allow drone operators to view status and history of incidents, battery performance, loss of signal, distance and height flown and other indicators.  Anything that is part of the telemetry of the drone can be compiled and reported.  The reporting options give drone operators a way to monitor compliance of their pilots.
  • [22:19] Non-Commericial Users.  Not many non-commercial users use the system, since there are no reporting requirements for hobbyists.  There is value for those hobbyists that want to maintain a record of flights and want to analyze the data compiled.
  • [22:49] Pricing.  Eric discusses the various options for pricing for the hobbyists and commercial drone pilots.  There are several different plans up to $19.95 per month.
  • [24:28]

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