Solusia Air receives FAA exemption for commercial operations

By Patrick C. Miller | April 02, 2015

Solusia Air LLC has received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to perform asset audits and safety inspections for wireless and utility infrastructure firms using unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

Based in Atlanta, Solusia Air is an affiliate of Solusia Services LLC. It began the application process in 2014 and received a Section 333 commercial exemption from the FAA. Under the agency’s current policy, UAS operators following FAA parameters are allowed to fly UAS commercially until a regulatory structure is implemented.

According to Solusia, utility companies will benefit from UAS inspections by obtaining high-definition photo and video data for inspection of substation infrastructure, IR inspections, 3D imaging and point cloud/photogrammetry of utility towers and transmission lines and wind turbine inspections.

The Aibot X6 UAS manufactured by Leica Geosystems Inc. will be used to conduct the audits and inspections. The FAA granted the approval to use UAS noting that Solusia Air's training and flight safety procedures constituted minimal risk and that the operation is in the interest of the public.

"The FAA exemption means wireless and utility companies now have a more efficient, safer method for performing audits and safety inspections of infrastructure assets," said Chris Moccia, Solusia Air CEO. "Leica is a proven global leader in optics, lasers, GIS software, modeling and 3D spatial solutions and we are thrilled to be partnered with them in this innovative endeavor."

Solusia Air provides UAS services for wireless carriers and tower operators that include high-definition photo and video inspection, asset audits, RF microwave path validation, intermodulation/interference identification, wildlife species identification and safety assessments.

"The FAA is under a lot of pressure to streamline the approval process and finalize the regulatory structure for unmanned aircraft systems,” said Bryan Baker, North American UAS sales manager and pilot for Leica Geosystems. “This is the first step to getting companies through the process faster so that they can take advantage of this revolutionary technology."

Moccia said wireless infrastructure is in a continuous, dynamic lifecycle.

"As new technologies are deployed to keep up with the growing demand for mobile data and high-speed connections, towers need to be audited to document and verify existing configurations and equipment inventories,” he explained. “With UAS solutions, this auditing process can now include timely online retrieval of data and images that customers need to make strategic planning, construction and maintenance decisions."

Solusia Air LLC is a professional services firm using UAS technologies to provide asset audits and safety inspections for wireless carriers, tower owners and utilities.


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