Project Title: NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center Unmanned Aerial Systems Training
Principal Investigator(s): Mike Jech, Kimberly Murray, Lisa Conger, Elizabeth Josephson, Jennifer Johnson
Affiliations: NOAA NMFS, Integrated Statistics
Summary: NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) has a small Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, aka “drone”) program (four pilots). We fly a multirotor APH-22 built by Aerial Imaging Solutions (http://aerialimagingsolutions.com) that is battery powered and has a flight time of about 15 minutes. The entire system consists of a base station and the APH-22 and requires two personnel to fly. Our field operations focus on marine species such as schooling fish, whales, and seals that can be imaged from the air. UAS technology is rapidly evolving, and we are constantly upgrading our systems with new sensors and platform modifications. These advancements require testing and evaluation of these new features, and improving our team’s capabilities. Our flights on NERR will help maintain our pilots’ flight skills, and further innovate the UAS research done at the NEFSC and NOAA.