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(Photo by James Evans / University of Alaska Anchorage/ Higher education: Teaching teachers with drones)

ASOG 2020 Focus Area: Education and Training, Professional Development

I know we have a good number of educators in ASOG. This course came across our desk the other day – “Introduction to Youth Training with Aerial Drones and Terrestrial Robots.”  I thought it would be of interest to you or even a Mk-1 ASO looking to share their passion of aerial remote-sensing with their local community. Bottomline, it’s a “Teach the Teacher” course. Here are some of the highlights of the program:

  • Platform - Online self-pace course.
  • Idea Participant - This training is ideally suited for enthusiastic individuals wanting to conduct a successful and engaging STEM program with aerial or terrestrial robots. The course is designed to walk interested individuals through tried and tested programs so it is ideal for individuals who are looking to start or improve on their current STEM or training programs.
  • Content - Fully customized slide deck with 200+ slides developed from the knowledge and experience of over a dozen Flying Labs engaged in different STEM programs all over the globe. Over 15+ fully customized video presentations. Lesson plans, maps, activity sheets, selected readings and links to online resources
  • Time - Takes about 4 hours to complete.
  • Cost - 50 USD.
  • Webpage - Introduction to Youth Training with Aerial Drones and Terrestrial Robots 

So, if you ever wanted to formally or informally, instruct youth or even adults regarding the science of drones and aerial remote sensing, I think this course is a Low Pain – High Gain opportunity to build your own specialized course.

ASOG Desk Editor

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I’m delighted to announce CENTUM Research and Technology is a new ASOG Corporate Supporter. Also, if that was not good enough, two top-guns from CENTUM joined the ASOG community – Hector Estevez Pomar and Hector Coloma.

If you didn’t know, CENTUM research and technology, part of CENTUM group, was founded in 2010 with a clear vision: “Fly with a purpose.”

Their mission is to develop and market aeronautical mission systems in the fields of emergency, security, and defense. At the same time, they are maximizing results in operations like search and rescue, maritime surveillance, firefighting, emergency communications, and border control.

Their products are based on cutting-edge technology developed by a highly qualified engineering team, with a clear purpose, improve people’s lives.

Additionally, they’re manufacturers of Lifeseeker, an innovative airborne system capable of locating people accurately through their mobile phones, in areas with and without network coverage, under adverse weather conditions, and with no mobile APP needed. There are models for drones, helicopters, and fix wings aircraft, and it is easily operated with a very user-friendly interface.

If you want to learn more about CENTUM or Lifeseeker, look up Hector or Hector in the ASOG members directory and reach out or go to the ASOG Supporter page and click the CENTUM logo, it's hyperlinked to their company webpage.

ASOG Desk Editor (Patrick)

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A few months ago we were sitting together and discussed what else is necessary to boost ISR platforms especially in the field of maritime patrol to a new level. We calculated, we made drawings and 3D renderings, simulations and finally we have laminated beautiful forms and put them together. Today it is my pleasure to show you the first picture of the newest member of our SCAR-Pod family.

The new RADAR-Pod.


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ASOG Article of the Month: November 2020

ASOG Author: Gary Micklethwaite

Unless you're Rip Van Winkle waking up from a long slumber, unmanned aerial vehicles have entered the fabric of humanity. However, it's still the Wild-West when it comes to the Five-Ws of integrating this new technology into Aviation. Gary Micklethwaite, with his 30 years of both manned and unmanned aircraft experience, highlights some of his observations concerning the current state-of-play regarding Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. 


We've all heard it. It's the mantra of aviation. Fly the plane, know where you are (and where you're going), and tell someone your intentions. Plan your flight and fly your plan. To do otherwise is tantamount to heresy for aviators.

Given the changing world in which we live (aviation-wise), is aviate, navigate and communicate doable without getting overloaded or task saturated? Does your vehicle even have all the capabilities to be able to do all three of those things? Of course, they can all fly, but with some of the smaller manned and unmanned air vehicles, can they navigate? Can you communicate?

Manned vs. Unmanned

The Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) that I operate professionally does not have a built-in radio, we have to carry around a handheld aviation band radio, and then we can talk to anyone on the frequency. Perhaps that's why we are presently only flying in CYR's???? Ya, Think!!

Manned aircraft are the best at doing all three, of course. Manned aircraft (usually) have room for all of the associated beeps and whistles needed to navigate and communicate, even if it's, in the case of smaller ultralight type vehicles, a handheld GPS and a helmet-mounted radio. They can do it all. But what about smaller unmanned vehicles (quadcopters and the like). They are growing in leaps and bounds in popularity, and it seems that everyone and their dog wants to "buy a drone" and go off and fly it. It's the wild west out there.

Rules and Regulations

So, governments worldwide are imposing (rightly so IMHO) rules and regs to operate these vehicles. Up here in Canada, we have two certification levels for small UAVs (NATO Class one, smalls, mini's, and micro's). In other words, less than 15 Kg weight. Transport Canada even went so far as to classify small UAS as anything under 25 kg weight.

We have the basic and advanced certification here, and we have rules about where you can fly based on your certification. There is one more level above that, and that is flight reviewer, but for your average Joe who goes to the local UAV shop to get a new toy, this level usually is not one they aspire.

Basic level operators must fly in uncontrolled airspace only, you must fly more than 100 feet from bystanders, and you must never fly over bystanders. There's no mention of navigating or communicating. I suppose being LOS only is sort of navigating, as you never (or aren't supposed to) lose sight of your vehicle…..No one has ever done that, Right????

For Instance

I have my own small personal quadcopter drone, that's just large enough to require me to hold a license from Transport Canada. I live in a city where my house is on the approach path to the local municipal airport. I can't fly in my backyard because of that. How many people have you heard of, seen, talked to who fly around in their backyard or at a local park, over the local folk festival or little Johnny's soccer game, all the while not knowing that they aren't allowed? I have a theory as to why. They think it's a toy instead of an aviation asset. It's the same as an RC plane or a car to them.

Advanced level operators are allowed to fly less than 100 feet from bystanders and can fly in controlled airspace with ATC approval….Ah, communicating! The third commandment. The most popular way of communicating for this sort of operation is via cell phone to the local ATC to ask them if it's OK to fly, tell them how long you expect to be there, and give them a call back number in case they need to contact you. Communicating….Really?

There are supposed to be rules for flying UAS in and out of controlled airspace in most countries, I can't speak for other countries, but I know we have them in Canada. The problem is that very few people on the operating side know what they are, other than those of us who make a living doing it. Your average "enthusiast" doesn't really know what the rules are or even know that they are required to hold a license. With the "newness" of the regulations, most regulatory agencies are trying to figure out how to apply regulations. Additionally, they don't have enough time to enforce the regulations that are in place.

Reality Is?

However, knowing the rules is slowly becoming a reality as my local AV shop has noticed a marked decrease in drone sales between the 500 grams and 25 kg weight limits. Within those weight limits, you require Transport Canada certification to fly, which is scaring people off.

However, the micro-drone market is booming. You can see them darting around local parks and other areas like dragonflies. Does this pose an airspace control problem? Not really, I guess, but it only takes one 1 pound drone to hit an aircraft on approach to ruin your day. 

I think I am digressing a bit on the subject here, but I wanted to show just how "uncontrolled" things seem to be in the drone hobby world. We have all heard of major international airports being shut down for long periods due to people flying drones too close to the runways, and it continues to get worse. If people don't understand the need to follow the rules-of-the-road when it comes to flying, how can we expect them to be able to Aviate, Navigate, and Communicate properly? 

The Last Point

I know it seems I'm casting a wide net. However, my last point is that I most certainly don't want to imply that ALL drone hobbyists are aviation anarchists. Most are enthusiasts who gladly play by the rules, but those who don't play by the rules may eventually ruin it for those who follow the rules, live by them, and make a living using them. In the end, it's all about educating those who think drones are toys and not an actual flying machine.

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ASOG Article of the Month – November 2020

ASOG Author: Patrick Ryan

ASOGer: Gary Micklethwaite, Dept. Head of Operators at Qinetiq Target Systems Canada for the CAFUAS Program

Last month, I had the great pleasure of virtually cross-talking with a fellow ASOGer and ASOG Author, Gary Micklethwaite. As part of ASOG's effort to advocate, educate, and inform regarding the Airborne Sensor Operator (ASO) profession, I thought it would be great to take a moment to capture his current and past experiences as an ASO. Especially with his background in both manned and unmanned aircrew roles.


What is your job, and how did you end up in this career field/position?

Presently I am the Head of Operators at Qinetiq Target Systems Canada for the CAFUAS Program. I retired from the Canadian Military in 2014 after a 36-year career, of which 30 was spent as a sensor operator. After retirement, I spent five years being bored before applying for this position. I was lucky enough to get hired at the ground floor of a new rotary-wing unmanned system project to help our Military.

What do you like about your job?

What is not to like? I get to operate an unmanned platform AND all the sensors that go on it. I also get to manage a team of like-minded professionals who want to do their best. Sure, there are a few growing pains because of this project's newness, but to be able to continue doing what you love doing after going through retirement is the icing on the cake.

What do you think is the general role of an Airborne Sensor Operator in today's aerial unmanned aircraft sector?

What I like about the role of a sensor operator in the unmanned world is that you can also be the Air Vehicle Operator (AVO). We are cross-trained to do both. Our present team consists mostly of ASO's who have cross-trained into AVO positions. We only have one person who is a pilot from the get-go, who we need to cross-train as an ASO.

What do you look for when hiring an Airborne Sensor Operator?

Cross Training. The good part of having people cross-trained as both AVO and ASO is that having a sensor operation background gives the AVO an insight into where to place the sensors for maximum effect. The crew coordination becomes seamless. Today I get to fly, and I know where the ASO wants me to go. Tomorrow, he gets to fly, and I know that he will place the Air Vehicle where I need him to go to get the best effect from the sensors.

What would you recommend to future ASOs regarding the type of training and education to pursue?

I am rather biased when it comes to this because I will always recommend getting your training and building your experience for free, and that means getting it in the Military. You don't have to do what I did and make a career out of it but get as much professional development as you can before you decide to branch out into another career. It's all of that professional development that I did, which has gotten me to where I am today. Never underestimate the relevance and efficacy of the courses you will receive in your Military career, and while they may seem mundane and without value, they will serve you well down the line.

What are the general trends you see in the aerial unmanned sector or markets?

The unmanned world is the world's Wild-West right now. It's so new that it is still making its way in the aviation market. Regulatory agencies can't keep up with the demand, and the product that the unmanned world is capable of performing is pretty much limitless right now. Search and Rescue, package delivery, heavy construction, visual inspection, traffic control, crop dusting, and even firefighting. Your imagination only limits the jobs that unmanned can do.


If you want to know more about Gary and/or network with him, you can find him in the Members directory. Don’t forget, to send a message, you’ll have to “Friend” first.


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Astrid from AVBuyer shared this article from their Multi-Mission Hub website, i.e., she thought fellow ASOG members would find it informative and interesting.

If you didn’t know, data collection and processing are the most significant net contributor Aerial Work aviation and ASOs provide the agriculture industry, especially when you count the explosion of unmanned aerial services and technology capabilities available to farmers.

How Does Aerial Work Aviation Feed the World?

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ASOG 2020 Focus Area: Professional Development and Training

It’s great to see the ASO training industry sector innovating in new ways. One of ASOG’s company Supporters (ISR Academy) posted a press release highlighting their efforts to expand their courses online.

From an ASOG / ASO advocating perspective, I hope more training companies provide virtual ASO training programs, especially in baseline learning areas (airmanship, aerial-remote sensing, etc., i.e., with a focus on ASOs and other non-pilot crewmembers). The feedback ASOG has received over the years from young and transitioning ASOs is that basic or full certified training programs are few or out of reach for them, i.e., financially, location, time, etc.

Before I forget, if you want to learn more about ISR Academy, Joep Schouren, the ISR Academy Manager, is a core ASOG member….reach out to him in the ASOG members area and hit the “friend” button.

Virtual classroom keeps ISR Academy at the leading edge


ASOG Desk Editor (Patrick)

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It’s with great pleasure to announce a new ASOG Company Supporter – Talos Aviation Group. Talos Aviation Group, LLC (TAG) is a veteran-owned small business providing managed aviation services to the special mission and airborne mapping industries. TAG has two locations within the United States: Tucson, Arizona, and Blackstone, Virginia, to ensure consistent and cost-effective coverage for your mission.

It’s also a super delight to have the President and Co-Founder of TAG as a core ASOG member - Michael Intschert. If you want to know more about TAG, don’t hesitate to reach out to Michael. You can find Michael in the ASOG Members directory.

If you didn’t know, our Company Supporters represent the highest level of commitment to the Airborne Sensor Operators Group (ASOG) programming and advocacy work. ASOG Company Supporters demonstrate their commitment to Airborne Sensor Operators at all stages of their careers and to furthering Aerial Remote-Sensing as a profession.

ASOG Desk Editor (Patrick)

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I just wanted to share a good source that connects with ASOG. I find it highly informative regarding aviation, history, military and my interest in space. Many of you probably know of this magazine or webpage, but if not, you might find it interesting:” Air & Space Smithsonian.”

The magazine is a top leader in his field and is supported by the world famous and well-known Smithsonian Museum of Washington D.C.

Who knows, maybe in the future Air & Space will be an ASOG Supporter :)

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ASOG September 2020 Poll & Quiz Post Report

ASOG 2020 Focus Areas: General


Aircraft, Equipment, and Systems - What triggers your need or want to buy new equipment or technology?

  • There are enough advancements and new features over my current gear. - 40%
  • Cost of maintaining current gear is forcing the issue. - 0%
  • Manufacturer/supplier has stopped supporting current gear or will soon stop supporting it. - 40%
  • Expansion of current business or addition of new business requires technologies not currently in toolkit. - 20%
  • Productivity gains – improved efficiency for current aircrew or ability to reduce crew size. - 0%
  • When the financing is right (cash on hand, favorable interest rates, or special offer from manufacturer). 0%

Career Management – In your professional opinion, which one of the hard skills below would you rank as No. 8 (Last) for an ASO or Aircrew Member?

  • Clear communication - 0%
  • Situational awareness - 0%
  • Teamwork - 0%
  • Decisiveness & Quick thinking - 0%
  • The ability to remain calm - 0%
  • Leadership - 25%
  • The ability to understand technical information - 0%
  • Mathematics & Creative skills combined - 75%



Sensor Knowledge – Thermographic sensors usually detect radiation in which class of the Electro-Magnetic Spectrum?

  • Near infrared - 0%
  • Mid infrared - 75% (Correct)
  • Far infrared - 0%
  • Other - 25%

Radio & Communication Operations - Are ASO’s (Civil-Commercial Aircrew) required to pass an ICAO Aviation English proficiency test to fly and operate international?

  • No - 50% (Correct)
  • Yes - 0%
  • Not Sure - 50%


ASOG Desk Editor (Patrick)

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ASOG Article of the Month – October 2020

ASOG Author: Gareth Davies

We've all heard it at some time, "It's not my job!" and we all have cringed when we've heard it. Gareth Davies gives a great professional and funny experience on how he dealt with one such moment.

"It's not my job" has become a commonly used response in the workplace and even in the aviation & remote-sensing world. Sure, this attitude may help someone avoid doing extra work, but it can be full of pitfalls. Applying the attitude "it's not my job" can result in many negative results, i.e., limited career advancement, isolation, or losing a job. You don't want to be labelled as someone unwilling to go above and beyond the bottom line. Not to say, it could also get you branded as lazy, incompetent, and unaccommodating (say goodbye to your Pub invite).

Here's one of my personal experiences that highlights the pitfall of saying, "That's not my job" and how someone can reverse course.

Contract Change - European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), Main Control Room (MCR) circa A.D 1986


For those following ASOG, you will know I was a Network Controller in the MCR of ESOC. Due to the nature of the E.U., it's founding of ESA, and subsequently, the requirement for 'geographical distribution' of funding, there would be contract changes within ESOC's various departments. This time it was Software Support.

When it comes to contract changes in the ESA, Contractors had to re-apply for their jobs (even if they are/were doing a good job) or return to their companies. So, at the end of the day, the ESOC staff was in a flux state, i.e., friends left, and potential new ones arrived.

In this particular case, a batch of Oxbridge grads (Oxbridge-Oxford/Cambridge University graduates) full of themselves and their abilities swagger in on the first day of the new contract. You have all met the types, mostly well-meaning, just need the edges rounded off.

On this first day, we hear a tentative knock on the MCR door and in walks our new Software guy. We make the standard introductions, and he asked what he could do for us (outside of Launches, the MCR was controlled by Network 1 who, beyond day hours, was in charge of the MCR and all the operational control rooms, a.k.a. Shift Co-ord. and that was his call sign. Network 2 [me] was known as Network). Our responses were yes, we do have a little thing that he could help us.

What Time is It?


We explain that as shift workers, we counted our days as days-on, days-off, and holiday/vacation days, and that often did not know where we were in the calendar month. I was forever getting in trouble for forgetting birthdays. You would clock November 3 and tell yourself you must buy your mother a birthday card for the 24th. The next thing you mentally clock is December 2 and the ensuing grief. Ordinary office day workers can, with four weekends in a month, subconsciously figure out where they are within the month. Not us in the MCR. Often, during the winter months, it was dark when you arrived and dark when you left. Then suddenly, it was April.

We explained this problem to our new, eager to please (we thought) young man, and asked him to take a feed from the Atomic Clock we knew ESOC had and give us a day/date time stamp that would appear on our consoles screens when we logged-in, i.e., help us with our orientation to time.

After explaining our problem or request, Our Oxbridge chap said, "he was not here to do things like that." However, we in the MCR knew that was precisely what he was here for. Most people think that mission operations are high tech. (It is not) and off he went with the attitude of "It's not my job!"

Time for additional schooling


After this blow-off, we decided to make a point with our new and young Oxbridge grad Software chap. We sat down and concocted an attention-getting lesson for him.

Gary (Network 1/shift co-ord.) said he would cook a chicken for his family, then boil and bake the bones. On my jogging runs, I was to collect some shiny stones and a few wood pigeon feathers. Gary added some shells from his daughter's collection, and I put in some marbles (not from my head). We put all these items in our scrabble bag, which at the time was a turquoise/purple Seagram's Seven Canadian whisky bag, and waited for the right day to execute our lesson or plan.

On a crystal clear and bright January day (which was part of our plan, i.e., the effect of transiting from light to dark), Gary and I were on the morning shift together. We knew our new Software chap was coming to the MCR on this day.

You Are Cleared for Launch!


At 11:55, when everyone in the Control Centre went to the canteen for lunch, we executed our plan. We dimmed all the room lights and the monitor screens to a minimum, moved the control chairs (high backed) and arranged them in a circle next to the main door, rigged the main door to lock when it was opened and then closed to control the parameter, lay the Seagram Seven bag in the middle of our circle. At 12:00, we called our young chap to the Control Centre to help us with a problem.

As he opened the door, we closed our eyes because it was bright, having been in the dimmed MCR for 5 hrs or so. As the MCR door locked behind our young chap, Gary and I started dancing around the bag, making Indian sounds. After some seconds (this whole incident took about 15 seconds), Gary took the bag and threw all of its contents into the air. Shells, bones, marbles, stones, and feathers clattered and floated all over the consoles and then the floor.

Gary asked, "what do you think, Gareth?" I said, "4.2." Gary followed up with, "What about the wishbones position to the feathers?" I yelled out, "Aw Shit, I missed that; it's 4.8." Gary finished with "and the shells to the marbles." I concluded with "OK, it's 5.1."

At this point, our young man had regained his sight, purveyed all around him, which was a sight and gasped as you can imagine. He shrieked, "What on earth are you doing?"

Our response was (as if we had just noticed his presence), "Oh hello, we're just deciding what version number you are going to load in the MCR next because clearly, you haven't got a F'ing Clue!" As you can imagine, he turned and left.

After our young chap rapidly left, we execute the last part of our brilliant plan, i.e., destroy the evidence. Like two 10-year olds that could not stop giggling, we rushed to the hidden door in the back wall where the cleaning staff had their vacuum cleaner. If anyone or the Ops Director had seen the MCR in this state, all hell would have broken out. However, by 13:00, all was tidy, and Gary and I clocked-off our shift to celebrate our performance with a couple of beers.

Mission Complete


Eight or so days later, Gary and I were on the morning shift again. I logged on, and I told Gary to log on. Low and behold, a new line on the screen, day/date, and time stamp!

Shortly after seeing the new stamp, we heard a knock at the door and in walked our young Oxbridge Software chap. "Well," he said, "got that wrong. It is exactly why I am here. You scared the living daylights out of me. Thank you!"

Since that moment, our young Software chap became part of the MCR Ops team. When he was there, he brought his family and friends to view ESOC and the MCR, plus he always came on our shift and, like any fully integrated teammate, got the full Monty. In the end, we always got the support (yesterday) when we needed it.


Bottom line


If you hear yourself saying, "It’s not my job,“ stop—it’s only going to set you up for some pitfall. It transmits the message that you’re not willing to go above and beyond or worst yet you’re incompetent. However, to keep things in balance, don’t go to the extreme end of the spectrum and be the task Pack Mule either. 

So, next time a crewmember or teammate requests your support, ask yourself: Should I help my team mate or Check-Six for the rest of my life!

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Outstanding, It’s fantastic to have another company recognize ASOG and the ASO profession. I’m delighted to announce Nova Systems Europe is now an ASOG Supporter. Like I’ve said before, without firms like Nova Systems Europe, our birds would just be general aviation aircraft.

If you didn’t know, Nova Systems Europe is part of the wider Nova Systems group based in Australia and has a long pedigree of delivering high profile, complex projects and programs across UK Government, Defense and the Civil aerospace markets. Operating from their List X approved facilities in Bristol UK and with other offices throughout the UK and Norway, Nova Systems employs a wide variety of both Fixed Wig and Rotary EASA Test Pilots, FTE’s and other security cleared specialists in the provision of Flight test and simulation, Integrated Test, Evaluation & Acceptance planning, Capability Management and the delivery of P3M services.

Through their sister company in the UK, GVH Aerospace Ltd, they can also offer EASA approved Aerospace Design capability. Nova Systems Europe dedicated Flight Test aircraft have already achieved clearance to fit and trial a variety of ISR systems (EO systems and LiDAR for example) as well as being able to fit a range of other novel sensing technologies under our EASA Specialist Operator approval. This combined with design approvals allows for rapid prototyping of emerging technologies with fast turnaround turnkey solutions. The ability to go from a low Technology readiness level concept to a fully certified aircraft approval quickly and efficiently has been regularly been achieved through our trials, evaluation and acceptance programs for multiple government, MOD and civil aerospace clients.

If you would like to know more about what Nova do or how they can help you and your business then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Andy Watson (Core ASOG member since July 2018) at or look them up on the “ASOG Supporter” page.

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ASOG Members – We Need Your Feedback!

ASOG 2020 Focus Area: General Management

ASOG Members,

Like all healthy organizations, stepping back and reviewing what works or what is useful and what is not is essential to being a significant professional association.

In October, we plan to run a mini-poll campaign all month regarding ASOG focus areas and how to run the group, i.e., what we should concentrate on vs. wasting our time and limited resources regarding presenting/sharing information.

So, if you have some time in October, please take part in the Poll ( POLL ). If you want to go beyond completing the Poll questions and want to say more regarding what would be useful, reach out to me…brainstorming is a great TTP.

Thanks. Everyone!

Best Regards,


ASOG Managing Director

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Finally – A Chance to ASOG Network In-Person!

ASOG 2020 Focus Area: Networking

(ASOG Members: Left Front – Thomas Unger; Left Back – Patrick Ryan; Right Front – Georg DeCock; Right Back – Manuel Hellerschmid)

Since C-19 kicked-in this year, ASOG in-person networking events came to a screaming stop! However, last week four members had a spontaneous opportunity to meet for lunch at a local airfield cafe in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. Georg flew in from France to engage the folks at Airborne Technologies (ABT), and I drove in from my Alpine-Command-Post (ACP = Home Office) to meet Georg, Thomas, and Manuel at ABT.

Like always, it was beyond fun to see ASOG members in person and having a relaxing personal and professional rendezvous. I’m looking forward to many more in different locations of the world between other ASOG members when the time comes.

Speaking of that, one of ASOGs focus areas is to get members to meet in person an network. So, if a cluster of members live in/near a particular place like Perth, Australia, Wash D.C. USA, London UK, Paris, France, etc., it would be great to organize a simple (IAW local C-19 rules) lunch, dinner, or happy hour rendezvous. If you are interested in setting up such an ASOG RZ in your backyard. Let me know and I’ll help you organize it.

More too follow….


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New ASOG Company Supporter - Eagle Copters

It’s great to have another company recognize ASOG and the ASO profession…Plus, who manage the platforms we fly. I’m happy to announce Eagle Copters out of Canada is now an ASOG Supporter. Without firms like Eagle Copters, our birds would just be general aviation aircraft.

If you didn’t know, Eagle Copters provides their global customer base with an unparalleled range of helicopters, helicopter support and customization solutions. Historically specializing in Bell medium utility helicopters and headquartered in Calgary, Canada, Eagle has been providing complete fleet management support to operators since 1975. Since then, they have cultivated an international network of affiliates within North America, South America, and Australia.

If you want to engage Eagle Copters, reach out to Chris Wehbe (Eagle Copters). Chris just joined the group this month…look him up in the Members/Network area and welcome him.


ASOG Desk Editor (Patrick)

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ASOG Article of the Month – September 2020

ASOG Author: Bernhard Eckhardt

You might not want to hear it; English is the de facto language for Aviation – and - flying aircraft has no margin for error. Should aircrew members whose mother tongue is not English have a good grasp of Aviation English?

Bernhard Eckhardt, a professional language trainer, answers this critical question & more regarding the importance of “Aviation English” in the Aircrew & Airborne Sensor Operator profession.


If you didn’t know, English is the official language of Aviation, so for anyone aspiring to become an aircrew member, it’s essential to have a high standard of English. A number of years ago, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) set Language Proficiency requirements for specific aviation career fields, especially for those career fields that fly internationally, i.e., passing an exam and receiving a certificate of proficiency.

Besides the technical aspect of having a good grasp of Aviation English, the feet-on-the-ramp answer is that it can save your life (plus many others) and make your professional aircrew life better. It all comes down to communication or, better yet, avoiding miscommunication.

Miscommunicating can be Deadly!

Miscommunication has been an important factor in many aviation accidents. The ICAO has acknowledged that "communications, or the lack thereof, has been shown by many accident investigations to play a significant role." For example:

Tenerife - 27 March 1977

On March 27, 1977, two Boeing 747 passenger jets, operating KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Flight 1736, collided on the runway at Los Rodeos Airport on the Spanish island of Tenerife. It had resulted in 583 fatalities. Investigators emphasized mutual misunderstanding in radio communications between the KLM crew and ATC. (

Charkhi Dadri – 12 November 1996

On 12 November 1996, Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 763, a Boeing 747 en route from Delhi, India, to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907, an  Ilyushin Il-76 en route from Chimkent, Kazakhstan, to Delhi, collided over the village of Charkhi Dadri, around 100 km west of Delhi. The crash killed all 349 people on board both planes.  The ultimate cause was held to be the failure of Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907's pilot to follow ATC instructions, whether due to cloud turbulence or due to communication problems. (

Because of this, communication or miscommunicating is not a trivial thing in aviation. Besides this, it could make a big difference in many aspects of your down-to-earth professional ASO or aircrew career.

Miscommunicating can be Costly!

Besides the deadly effect of miscommunication, there are many other good or practical reasons to have a grasp of Aviation English or, better yet, having a certificate of proficiency.  Not having a functional understanding of Aviation English can affect you (or your employers) time, effort, and money. The following are a few good reasons why it’s important:

Expands training opportunities

Knowing Aviation English expands the type and availability of general and specialized training provided by institutions, manufacturers, and training organizations worldwide. Again, since English is the de facto aviation language, most aviation and other training opportunities are provided in English.

Expands job opportunities

Knowing Aviation English increases your chances of getting an excellent job in a multinational firm within your home country or of finding work overseas. If you scan many job postings related to aviation from around the world, you’ll see the posting in English, or there is a requirement for the candidate to have a good grasp of English.

Increases professional knowledge

Many Flight, Operational and Technical Manuals are written in English. Having the ability to read English will open the door to new sources of information, mitigate making financial errors because you didn’t comprehend the bottom-line, or worst yet, causing an accident because you couldn’t understand the “Caution, Warning, Note” section of a manual.

Increases effectiveness when traveling

Because English is the official language of 53 countries and is used as a lingua franca (a mutually known language) by people from all around the world. This means that whether you’re working in Vienna, or conducting flight operations in Brazil, having a good handle of English can help you effectively communicate with people from all over the world, especially around airfields and locations that cater to international travelers.   

Without saying – It increases your 360-degree effectiveness in the workplace. Having a good grasp of English and Aviation English gives you another tool in your Flight-Bag to avoid being part of an aviation accident, plus it can put you ahead of your peers and your bank account.


Now that you see the benefits, the next question is how you add this skill to your personal and professional kit. As an aircrew member, your goal is to study for and take the ICAO Aviation English exam. With that said, studying for and taking the Aviation English exam has specific standards that are different than just taking an introductory English course and passing with a letter grade. So getting the right training is critical.

In my next article, I’ll highlight everything you need to know when it comes to studying and taking the ICAO Aviation English exam, i.e., standards, proficiency levels, and more….

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LiDAR Solutions - advice needed

Posted By: Andy Watson

Hello ASOG members,

I am in the process of scoping LiDAR options for a potential customer that fulfill the below requirements.

The dream wishlist is:

  • Rotary Platform mounted (Medium, twin-engine)
  • Will be Rear Hardpoint Mount (Probably Meeker)
  • Sub 20kg
  • Delivers 25ppsm density from 500ft / 60kts (300m lateral offset) from the powerline
  • Weatherproof (I understand this may prove difficult)
  • Primary use- Powerline /Vegetation and /or structural mapping.

I am familiar and have experience of operating the Reigl VP-1 and Vux 240 for powerline survey missions but I want to ensure that we scope all suitable options available to us before we consider which systems to potentially flight test.

If anyone has any suggestions, experience, or recommendations that fulfill the above LiDAR requirements then I'd be really grateful if you could make contact.

Kind regards, Andy Watson

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ASOG August 2020 Poll & Quiz Post Report

ASOG 2020 Focus Areas: General

Again, very interesting response to August ASOG Poll & Quiz. I really enjoyed seeing how individuals responded to what they thought was the number 1 hard skill an Aircrew or Airborne Sensor Operator should'll be surprised...check it out!

Like last month and for professional fun, take the September Poll & Quiz. Also, if you have a question you want to see how others respond to it, send it to me and I’ll added to the next Poll & Quiz (


Training & Education – As an Airborne Sensor Operator or Aircrew Member, I am satisfied with the investment my employer makes in my training and education.

Strongly Disagree                                    0%

Disagree                                                 25%

Neutral/Neither agree nor disagree            50%

Agree                                                     25%

Strongly Agree                                         0%


Professional Development – What prevents you from taking part in professional development activities, e.g., training events, conferences, networking events etc.)?

Time                                                    50%

Money                                                  25%

Other (tell us in the remarks section)       25%


Career Management – In your professional opinion, which one of the hard skills below would you rank as No. 1 (First) for an ASO or Aircrew Member?

Clear communication                                                   25%

Situational awareness                                                  50%

Teamwork                                                                  0%

Decisiveness & Quick thinking                                       0%

The ability to remain calm                                            0%

Leadership                                                                  0%

The ability to understand technical information               25%

Mathematics & Creative skills combined                         0%

Other (tell us in the remarks section)                            0%


(Linked-In) Career Management - In your professional opinion, which one of the hard skills below would you rank as No. 1 (First) for an Aircrew Member?

Decisiveness & Quick thinking                                  18%

Situational awareness                                              35%

Teamwork                                                              18%

Clear communication                                               29%



Airmanship Knowledge – What does “Sterile Cockpit Rule” mean?

During all phases of flight, only activities required for the safe operation of the aircraft may be carried out, and all non-essential activities in the cockpit are forbidden.  0%

During critical phases of flight, only activities required for the safe operation of the aircraft may be carried out, and all non-essential activities in the cockpit are forbidden.  83% (Correct)

During critical phases of flight, only activities required for the safe operation of the aircraft may be carried out, and all non-essential activities in the cockpit are limited.  17%


Sensor Knowledge – Which system is NOT an EO/IR sensor?

WESCAM MX-15                              0%

FLIR Star SAFIRE 380-HDc               0%

RIEGL VQ-1560i                              75% (Correct)

CONTROP iSky-50HD                       25%


Instructor Knowledge – What is NOT an obstacle to Learning During Flight Instruction?

Impatience to proceed to more interesting operations                     0%

Worry or lack of interest                                                              0%

Physical discomfort, illness, fatigue, and dehydration                      0%

Feeling of unbiased treatment                                                      75% (Correct)

Anxiety                                                                                      25%


ASOG Desk Editor (Patrick)

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AS350 - The Flying Laboratory

Dear ASOG-Members,

for those who haven't had the chance to see this article on LinkedIn I'd like to post this here as well.

Katrin already postet a video of our Flying Laboratory - I will sum up and add some technical data additionally.

We have put 8 different sensors on 3 external support structures, took care that only one operator can control the sensors and covered the modification under one single EASA STC for AS350B2 and B3.

Thanks to our partners Trakka Systems, RIEGL and Norsk Elektro Optik (HySpex by neo) we have been able to create a great tool for:

- inspection of powerlines and Oil & Gas pipelines
- Train track inspection
- Forrest/Fire growth assessment
- Agricultural/Farming assessment
- Urban growth assessment
- Archeological surveys

Enjoy reading and please let us know if you need any further information!

All the best,




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