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Drone Program Management


Drone Program Management

The commercial use of drones continues to expand across a number of industries—from transportation, to energy and infrastructure, to manufacturing, construction, and agriculture. Drones offer a tool to access and assess physical conditions, minimize risks, and enhance employee efficiency during job tasks that are otherwise:

  • Routine/time consuming
  • Difficult to accomplish (i.e., have a high safety risk)
  • Challenging to reach/excessively large
  • Time-sensitive


Effectively Managing Risks

Kestrel works closely with client teams to create a sound Business Continuity Program that:

  • Broadens the scope of issues beyond mere emergency response
  • Relies on a systematic approach to identify and critically evaluate risks/opportunities
  • Ensures that all involved parties understand who makes decisions, how those decisions are implemented, and what the roles and responsibilities of participants are when an incident occurs
  • Allows companies to budget for and secure the necessary resources to support critical business activities before, during, and after a major crisis event
  • Helps the company stay in business through a time of crisis and/or significant changes

When implemented appropriately, using drones often results in a solution that is:

  • Faster – Significantly reduce manhours to complete work (e.g., inspections, audits, monitoring) and without requiring plant shutdown
  • Safer – Eliminate the need for humans to complete high-risk activities (e.g., climbing towers, entering confined spaces, inspecting disaster zones)
  • More accurate – Gather comprehensive and reliable data with less room for human error



Drone technology is evolving rapidly, but the industry is in its infancy. That creates many questions regarding regulations, equipment, applicability, and how drones can best help meet an organization’s specific goals.

  • Drones capture huge amounts of data (pictures, videos, flight logs), and all data created are discoverable. Record retention laws are forthcoming for drone footage and vary by state. How should data be managed and turned into insights and actions?
  • Laws and regulations are constantly evolving. Pilots can unknowingly (and easily) violate FAA regulations. How can companies keep current on regulatory changes and remain compliant?
  • Most companies operating drones are young and inexperienced, but the industry is growing quickly (commercial and recreational). The number of licensed pilots is increasing, and businesses are creating new content/software/procedures daily. How do companies keep up?
  • Specialized expertise is required to develop and operate a successful drone program—in airspace knowledge and IT development skills. How do companies ensure they have the right resources?


Drone Program Strategy

Kestrel’s experienced consultants help companies work through these challenges, determine applicability based on needs, and then develop the most appropriate strategy and implementation process. Our objective is to help companies answer the difficult questions about designing and implementing a drone program to ensure it brings sustained value to the overall business. These decision-point questions may include the following:

  • Hire pilots or train existing employees?
  • What size unmanned aircraft to use?
  • Use drones as a temporary solution or as permanent business process?
  • Outsource or fully staff a drone program?


Kestrel Services

Kestrel’s drone program management services include the following:

  • Drone program strategy and design
  • Management systems structure
  • Gap analysis
  • Program management
    1. Document management
    2. Data management (images, videos, logs)
    3. Operating standards
    4. Emergency procedures
    5. Training program management
    6. Pilot licensing and skills tracking
    7. Equipment maintenance management
  • Training on FAA part 107 regulations
  • Software needs analysis/recommendations
  • Coaching on writing waivers and authorizations to the FAA