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Drone technology helps

By STAFF REPORT
On April 14, 2016
Courtesy photo John Frazier prepares to test out his drone to see how high it can go.

Courtesy photo
John Frazier prepares to test out his drone to see how
high it can go.

John Frazier, operator/manager of the Mt. Olive Waterworks System in Grambling, Louisiana, has come up with a new way to inspect the 130 feet overhead water tower storage tank.  By using a drone Frazier can see rust spots, corrosion, cracks, water leaks, or any other potential problems that may occur. 

“In the past, we have had to employ a person from a water tank service company to physically climb the 130 ft. tank, to walk around the tank catwalk to inspect the tank,” Frazier said. 

“With drones, we can more efficiently and safely handle this task. We can now fly the drone around the tank at a closer distance to inspect it, without the expense or endangering human life,” he said. 

Though drones have received quite a bit of negative publicity, Frazier wanted to shed some light on the positive aspects for the use of his drone. 

Frazier said, “Drones can be used for aerial photography, surveillance for fire, traffic, flooding, crop monitoring, videoing events from above ground and so many other things.”

The drone Frazier uses is a Qx2 with a Gopro action video camera unit.  It is equipped with four 1100 KV brushless out runner motors, four 10 amp brushless ESC, 3000 MAH 3s 11.1v  20C Li-po batteries.  It is also equipped with a GPS system and with three flight modes: Smart mode, Ap mode, and Stability mode.  The camera unit can record video or take snap shots.

 “Although there are many different types of drones, the Qx2 works well for inspecting the water system’s overhead tank,” Frazier said.  

The drone software is Firmware 3.0 that has the option for upgrading using a desktop computer, laptop or IPad.  The radio control unit that controls the drone is a DSM Spectrum 8-channel, 2.4 GHz transmitter that has a return home switch. 

Frazier has been designing, building and flying R/C (radio-control) type aircraft for many years.  

He is a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and possesses a license that allows him to fly R/C aircraft and drones.  According to Frazier, there are some specific guidelines a drone pilot should adhere to such as, not flying above 400 ft. ground level, and not flying within three miles of an airport without notifying the airport operators, just to name a few. Frazier said he lives by these rules.

Mt. Olive community water tower stands 130 feet high. The John Frazier drone makes it easier to check for leaks and other touble.

Mt. Olive community water tower stands 130 feet high. The John
Frazier drone makes it easier to check for leaks and other touble.

He is a graduate of the Grambling State University labortatory schools and the university, receiving a bachalor’s degree. He also earned a vocational technical and industrial education master’s certifcate from the state of Louisiana Department of Education to teach in the system for a life time. 

Frazier continued his studies at Northwestern State University and Grambling State to complete a master’s degree.

His first job was an indutrial engineer at General Motors in Flint, Michigan engine division. Frazier returned to Grambling and pursued a teching career at the Louisiana Technical College-Ruston Campus and Grambling State University’s Department of Engineering Technicology.

Frazier said that he has been toying with the idea of using his drone to also aid in locating other possible problems in the water system such as leaking water lines, by flying over them and looking for green grass spots or the movement of water.  The camera system on his drone also has the capability of sending live video via Wi-Fi to Frazier’s cell phone enabling him to view live video on his cell phone while the drone is in flight.  

The video file may be downloaded to any computer for viewing later as well.

So if you see something that appears to be a UFO hovering in the sky around the Mt. Olive area of Grambling, no need to fear they are not aliens, only one of Frazier’s drones.

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