Unmanned Aerial Systems

Mesa Associates, Inc. has been providing engineering services to the electric utility industry for 30 years. As part of our industry technology leadership, we began unmanned aerial system (UAS) operation under the 333 exception in August 2015. We currently operate under the FAA Part 107 program to provide the electric utility industry with unparalleled utility experienced pilots. The use of UAS provides numerous advantages over traditional methods, including cost, safety, and improved quality.

T&D Assets

  • Inspections
  • Surveying
  • Storm Response Assessment
  • Thermal Imaging for Predictive Maintenance
  • Vegetation Assessment

Generation Facilities

  • Dam & Gate Inspections
  • Penstock Inspections
  • Stack Inspections


  • High Resolution Camera (Photos & Video)
  • Infrared



  • Mapping & Location Ties to Data
  • Quality of Inspection Data
  • Better Views of Insulators, Cross Arms, Hardware, Pole Deterioration, etc.
  • Response Time to Storm Events


  • Inspection Time
  • Cost of Manned Aircraft
  • Environmental Impact
  • Exposure to Live Circuits
  • Risk to Personnel
  • Working at Heights


  • Approved by FAA for UAS Operation
  • Extensive Experience in Electric Utility Industry
  • Flight Plans and Risk Assessment Performed Prior to Flight
  • Fully Trained and Licensed Pilots

UAS Share Program

What is a UAS Share Program?

The UAS Share Program makes Mesa’s fleet of UAS and payloads available to its members, with Mesa handling all aspects of operation, services, and maintenance. Mesa offers a member-to-UAS ratio that ensures the proper UAS equipment from our fleet will be available when required to meet the needs of members. Because technology is rapidly changing, Mesa regularly adds new UAS into our fleet, as well as adding new payload capabilities to our existing inventory as technology improves.

What are the Program Benefits

The major benefit of Mesa’s UAS Share Program is that Members have UAS resources available when needed, including highly qualified operators, for a fraction of the cost to operate and maintain independently. Mesa pays all expenditures associated with the operation and maintenance of the UAS. Benefits realized by members include:

UAS Obligation
  • Insurance
  • Operating Permits
  • Regulations
  • Software Fees
  • Pilots/Training
  • Maintenance
  • Modern Equipment
Fulfillment and Service Provided by Mesa
  • $5M per aircraft ($10M aggregate)
  • Up-to-date FAA Certification
  • Knowledge of Federal, state, and Local Regulations
  • Maintain Current Software Releases an Renewals
  • Pilots are Certified and Received Ongoing Training
  • Sufficient Batteries are Always Charged and Maintained
  • Retain Up-to-date Systems and Payloads
  • Members have Access to Maintenance-free Equipment

How does the Program Work?

Membership: Members pay an annual subscription fee based on the anticipated level of usage. Annual membership fees are less than the cost to insure one UAS!

Usage: Members notify Mesa on an as-needed basis with details of the desired scope of UAS services and schedule. Mesa determines the appropriate UAS and payload to complete the task based on the Member’s requirements and provides the pilot to fly the UAS mission.

Cost: Members are only billed for the hourly pilot rate and travel expenses. Members are not charged usage fees for the UAS or payload.