Aerial Work, Survey, and Reconnaissance

Using aeroplanes, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and balloons, areas of land and sea can be assessed from height, and data can be collected. Commonly this process is used for surveying the ground ahead of activities such as civil engineering – laying underground water pipes or electricity lines, or even for mining and archaeological purposes. Sometimes, aerial survey work is used to assess large areas of vegetation or collecting data for flood defence and natural resource.

Government and military forces also utilise aerial work, survey, and reconnaissance for operations such as border patrol/control, maritime patrol, and environmental monitoring.

Aircraft are often modified from their original manufacturer’s build to successfully carry out reconnaissance and surveying.

Where does it happen?

All over the globe. Below are some examples of manned aircraft that may be used for surveillance:

  • Beechcraft – King Air 350ER
  • Britten-Norman – Defender 2000
  • Pilatus – PC-6 Porter, PC-12 NGX Spectre
  • Cessna – C-208 Caravan, Citation CJ4
  • Viking Air – Series 400 Twin Otter
  • Tecnam – P2012 Sentinel SMP
  • Diamond – DA62/DA42 MPP

Unmanned aircraft may include the RQ-11 Raven B or RQ-7 Shadow. Specialised drones can be fitted with extra equipment for thermal (heat) imaging, laser beam radar (firing laser beams at an object to determine distance and shape) and other functions.

How can you get involved?

There are varying aviation roles. You may want to become a pilot in which case you will need to start with a pilot’s licence. You could also become an observer, or a drone pilot operating from the ground.

Good to know…

  • Aerial survey work may be required at any time of the day or night.
  • Dependant on the task required by the company, you may operate as a single pilot or as part of a multi crew operation.