Rapid Aerial Response – Early Answers Provide Great Results on Hurricane Losses

Team Complete prepares for aerial assessments at the Mexico Beach boatyard 3 days after Hurricane Michael landfall.
Team Complete prepares for aerial assessments at the Mexico Beach boat ramp 3 days after Hurricane Michael landfall.

Complete spent the 2019 off season becoming more prepared than ever to provide for our clients. We invested in acquiring airspace authorizations in every coastal area across the Southeastern United States fulfilling the requests of the  FAA. Our job is to keep our clients ahead and not to be requesting air space authorization after a catastrophe. When it is time to get to work we send engineers, flood plain managers, meteorologists, general contractors and a fleet of drones, just like we did after Hurricane Michael.  Our job is to be the eyes and ears that our insurance company, property management and facility manager clients count on for a plan

Hurricane Michael and its Cat-5 winds completely devastated the area just 100 miles to our East, and we were there, surprised by Hurricane Michael only because he was late to the game. John Minor has been studying weather for the past 25 years and knows how rare it is for a hurricane to hit in near mid-October. Two of our  licensed FAA 107 Pilots on the team were in Amarillo, Texas investigating hail damage and we had to reset quickly.  

Blown off roof in Panama City, FL from Hurricane Michael - Drone image by Complete
Blown off roof in Panama City, FL from Hurricane Michael – Drone image by Complete

What Michael taught us is that – although we were licensed, trained, and otherwise prepared – we were lucky. Due to the impact of the Hurricane on Tyndall AFB (the nearest restricted airspace) normal military activity was halted, and airspace in the nearby towns of Panama City, Mexico Beach, and Port St. Joe, among others, were open for all those performing critical aerial assessments and S.A.R. (search & rescue). As one would imagine, the airspace at 400 feet AGL and below was quite busy, and it took teamwork (and a willingness to yield) to safely pull off all planned flights. We were tasked by a large insurer with providing aerial assessments on more than 300 properties, a job we completed in the span of a few weeks. If the hurricane had hit a populated area near a Class B or C airport, for example, the process of applying and receiving approval for an airspace authorization may have taken weeks or more. We needed to be able to fly now, and luckily we could.

For the 2019 season we did the only thing we could do that will guarantee us the ability to get in the air before, during, and after the next big wind event – we successfully applied – and received clearance – for every airport within 100 miles of the coast in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

This was possible in large part to FAA’s new DroneZone Portal, along with the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) which are excellent, efficient tools that the FAA recently implemented, allowing users to acquire much quicker authorizations . If the wind comes your way we are prepared, ready, and authorized to deploy our team of trained SUAS pilots. 

If you manage or work for an entity that houses or employs a large amount of people in a large amount of units or buildings, then you have the greatest potential for a BIG problem that will need immediate attention should the Saharan gusts come your way. Cities, schools, condominiums, you name it – Complete has surveyed it, and also provided building consulting, appraisal, and now engineering services to resolve it. If you want to be ahead of the curve, have us fly your property beforehand. A storm may not hit your place this year, the next, or ever, but better safe than sorry, as they say – and there is no more clear and undeniable way to depict the overall scope of damage to a large property than side-by-side before & after aerial images. We are here for you.

Complete is a licensed general contracting and forensic engineering firm who employs more than a half dozen FAA Part 107 licensed remote pilots who have surveyed over 1,000 properties damaged by wind, hail, flood, fire, and otherwise. If you are in need of aerial assessment before and/or immediately following a loss call us at 850-932-8720 or email John Minor or Matt Miller directly at john@teamcomplete.com or matt@teamcomplete.com

Team Complete camped at the Mexico Beach marina in the weeks following Michael. This photo was taken a football throw away from where we set up camp.
Mexico Beach Early On Post Michael – Image by CGC