News & Events

National Aviation Day 2020: Take a Look from Our View

SAM utilizes both manned and unmanned aircraft to provide the most advanced geospatial services to markets across the United States. On this National Aviation Day, we celebrate the newest addition to our manned aerial fleet, our Cessna Grand Caravan EX with dual-sensor port, and those who operate it.

Between June and August 2020, our Cessna, equipped with a REIGL VQ-1560 II LiDAR sensor and oblique camera array, has successfully flown 25 projects in 12 states for multiple market segments. Ownership of both the aircraft and sensor has given SAM greater ability for rapid deployment to critical sites.

The Cessna’s unique size, weight, and ability to reverse thrust give it short field capabilities which means SAM can fly to more airports nationwide. The turboprop engine is powerful in the air and more reliable between flights, which decreases the flight time needed on projects and downtime between project sites.

SAM was able to choose the Cessna’s distinctive tail number, N194SM. The first number, 1, denotes that it is SAM’s first fixed-wing aircraft. The other two numbers are a nod to 1994, SAM’s founding year. The final two letters, S and M, stand for Surveying and Mapping.

Dan Gingrich, SAM’s Pilot, says “SAM bought the absolute best fixed-wing aircraft for capturing the kind of data clients want. By investing in the best flight deck, the newest model, and by removing the cargo pod for geospatial equipment, SAM has opened the Cessna up to a higher level of performance and value. We made a fast airplane faster and lighter, which makes completing jobs and downtime shorter. When you have your own pilot, and your own plane, you have fewer issues and get results faster.” In addition to the pilot, SAM’s manned aerial team includes: Craig Sweitzer, Geospatial Acquisition Manager, Claude Marty, Senior Sensor Operator, Mayra Tomayo, Sensor Operator, and John Tobeck, Sensor Operator.

With the combination of the Cessna and the REIGL VQ-1560 II LiDAR sensor, SAM is able to provide clients more accurate, denser data collection in larger areas and hard to reach locations in less time than other scanning methods.

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