In the rush to be out in front with the next new technology for saving trees, arborists and their assistants have been flying the blimp of a drone over neighborhoods tree service. While some localities have embraced this latest innovation, some are still hesitant about whether or not it is a wise decision. That’s because the public may not always see aerial shots of tree care services or arborists at work.
But, as you might imagine, there are certain people who are definitely pro-drone technology. At an April 29th meeting in Dallas, Texas, drone enthusiasts gathered to discuss the future of aerial tree care. “The UAV has changed the way we do business,” said Amy Keating, a member of the North American Society of Arboriculture. “Now arborists can get to know clients more and show them more, which leads to better referrals and higher tree trimming fees.” Drilling down a tree to the necessary depth to make a proper pruning cut can take an average of two or three hours, sometimes longer. With a drone overhead, tree care professionals can get right to business and not have to worry about anything else.
Drones For Tree Trimming
However, some states are concerned about drone use and are attempting to set up guidelines. According to a report from the National Science Foundation, several states are investigating the potential danger posed by unsupervised drone flights. Those states include Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Even though the science behind using these aerial crafts isn’t fully understood, some officials believe that it could pose a danger to pilots, wildlife and people on the ground. In one case, officials discovered that drones had been placed too close to an endangered species of birds. The agency removed the drones and plans to issue a rule for operators.
In an effort to curb the problem, many arborists recommend getting drone insurance coverage. It’s important to note that not all insurance providers will cover aerial work. In some cases, companies may only insure arborists who are using traditional methods, such as stringing branches or hand trimming trees. If an arborist uses one of these methods, he or she should be sure to get extra drone insurance to cover the cost if a drone is damaged during the operation.
Some tree care professionals argue that using drones poses a danger not just because of possible damage to the aircraft, but also because of safety issues. Overhead piloting has become more difficult, which makes it more likely that a remote-control craft will malfunction. Drones aren’t as agile as airplanes and don’t have the same safety features as fixed wings, which means they pose a greater risk of crashing or malfunctioning. Using a drone instead of a piloted aircraft puts arborists at greater risk.
However, many tree care professionals say that if an arborist chooses to use a drone, he or she must make sure the clientele that will be using the equipment understands the potential danger. The clients should also know about the liability of using aerial technology. “You can get a ticket from the Federal Aviation Administration for every time an unmanned aerial vehicle crashes into a building,” said J. Stephen Lanning, author of How to Get Rich With Trees. “But the problem is, people don’t know anything about it. They just heard about it in a tree care industry magazine.”