Changing the Light Bulb on a 1,500' Tower - A Drone's-Eye View Videos for Engineers
Back in 2012, I posted a video of the PBS
"Frontline" show (Cell Tower Deaths) that highlighted
the dangers cell tower climber technicians face while working for very low wages.
Other news stories since then have reported on new regulations from OSHA and other
agencies that have helped make the safety issue better, but I haven't seen anything
on whether the pay has gotten any better.
There are lots of videos and photos online of tower climbers all over the world,
but this one showing tower climber Kevin Schmidt making the ascension to the very
top of the now inactive KDLT TV
analog broadcast antenna near Salem, SD, is unique in that the recording was made
from a drone platform. It has more than 12 million views (posted in 2014).
Capturing this kind of video requires a drone with a wireless live feed so the
pilot (Joseph Thorin, of
PrairieAerial) can see exactly what is being
recorded. The concept is called "First-Person View" (FPV) and is nowadays a very
common feature on drones costing less than $200. The
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has enacted
some rather draconian legislation regarding operation of radio controlled (R/C)
aircraft in the past few years, brought on primarily by unscrupulous and/or irresponsible
(aka idiotic) behavior by a relatively small number of users. This is often the
case. Anyone producing a video such as this one needs to possess a commercial drone
license (Remote Piloting Certificate, $150, recurring
every 2 years), which requires passing a written test - but not a piloting proficiency
This archive links to the many video and audio files
been featured on RF Cafe.
RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling
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