Drone Program

Drones are no longer a birthday present for a teenager with a knack for technology. Electric utilities like Cherryland see drone technology as another tool in the reliability tool chest.

Flying With The Co-op

Cherryland has always led the way in reliability and technology. In 2018, we continued to lead with start of the co-op’s drone program. Through training offered by Northwestern Michigan College, a handful of engineers, lineworkers, and operations staff became licensed drone pilots. Using drones offers the co-op efficient and cost-effective ways to improve outage response, as well as infrastructure and right-of-way maintenance.

Facts About Our Drone Program

Cherryland’s drone pilots are trained through Northwestern Michigan College’s (NMC) Unmanned Aerial Systems program.

To fly a drone, every co-op pilot must be licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Each co-op drone is registered with the FAA. They are also marked with a FAA registration number on their exterior.

Co-op pilots must maintain visual line-of-sight while flying. They can only fly during the day and when there is at least three nautical miles of visibility.

A pilot must avoid flying a drone higher than 400 feet, within 500 feet of clouds, and in controlled airspace (i.e. airports).

If a pilot wants to fly over people, they must get their permission first. The drones must also weigh less than 55 lbs.