by Greg Barnes
In the government of Guam, there is no bigger friend to the drone industry than Senator James Moylan.
In October 2019, Senator Moylan solely sponsored and introduced Guam Senate Bill 217-35, which sought to provide “the enticement and potential establishment of a commercial drone industry on Guam.” Part of that enticement was to give local drone companies certain tax breaks and potential benefits awarded by Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA).
Bill 217-35, now Public Law 35-118, was signed into law in December 2020 by Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. More information, specifically relating to qualifying certificates to drone companies, is available in Title 12 of the Guam Code Annotated, Chapter 58, § 58104(s), which can be found on pages 8-9 of this document.
To thank the senator, and to update him on the current state of the drone industry on island, Guam-based drone professionals invited Senator Moylan to a brief meeting at the office and headquarters of Bella Wings Aviation (BWA) within Tumon Sands Plaza.
When Senator Moylan arrived, the participants thanked him for his participation in the growth of this industry and asked if they might take a moment to share our perspectives and updates from this exciting and growing industry.
Each of the companies represented at the meeting highlighted their recent work for the senator, so that he might know what his bill has helped accomplish.
BWA had on display just a few of the 200 light show drones they purchased and hope to use many times in the future, both here on Guam and in other nations such as Palau and perhaps even the Bahamas, from where Pearla just returned after having made a presentation to the people of Nassau about drones. Charlie also gave a glimpse into the world of FPV drones and life-saving technology such as search-and-rescue, made possible with some of the drones in their fleet which can drop objects such as life rings from a drone to a distressed swimmer below. Bella Wings even showed the senator the latest addition to their fleet, which they dub Bella 1: a large quadcopter/fixed-wing VTOL hybrid capable of being used for long-range surveillance.
Dong and Greg also spoke to the senator about their work at 2cofly, a Guam-based drone company which provides services that supplement the work of construction companies. With photogrammetry, 2cofly is able to create incredibly detailed 2D and 3D maps and models, which can help construction companies spot differences between as-designed vs. as-built, fixing problems early on in the building phase before it gets too late. With their aerial magnetometer, 2cofly can perform an aeromagnetic survey of surface and sub-surface ferrous anomalies and locate potential unexploded ordinances (UXOs). With drone-
mounted LiDAR technology, 2cofly can scan an area with lasers capable of piercing through vegetation and reaching all the way down to the ground, creating Digital Elevation, Surface, or Terrain Models (DEMs, DSMs, and DTMs), useful to engineers and construction companies in knowing very precise, detailed information about terrain, and even useful for calculating risk of flooding. (Read about 2cofly’s two LiDAR operations in Palau here and here.)
Teddy of Drone Optics Guam also spoke a bit about his company. Drone Optics is Guam’s only DJI Authorized Retailer, as well as a DJI Authorized repairer, where locals can take their drone for repair without having to send their drone off-island. Teddy has a deep knowledge of various types of drones from different manufacturers and can recommend (and, in many cases, sells) a drone for any particular use case. In addition, Drone Optics has provided services with many local Guam-based companies and government agencies. One such
public corporation Teddy has collaborated with is Guam Power Authority (GPA), which hired Drone Optics to run the pilot program for their drone department. Part of that contract was for Drone Optics to provide high-resolution analysis of all of GPA’s assets for their power substations, including scanning of every pole and every line — from the substation, all the way to the end of the line. This 3D mapping data was then integrated into GPA’s GIS system.
Senator Moylan was gracious enough not only to listen and even decline some phone calls that came his way, but also to take some photos with the group, including some in which he held some equipment integral to our operations. The senator came into that meeting with an appreciation of the drone industry on Guam. But when he left, he had a deeper understanding of the different local drone companies and a greater knowledge of what services they offer to the companies and the people of Guam.
“This meeting was extremely helpful in understanding where the drone industry is going to go,” said Senator Moylan. “We want to support local businesses, and we see the importance of having drones for the safety of the people, plus everything else that they can do for businesses moving forward. We’re looking forward to the education that you’ll be providing for students on Guam that want to get in this industry, and by having it here, they can have a career here instead of leaving Guam. We have a beautiful island that we could do a lot more things with, and this industry will really help us grow.”
Senator, from the drone industry on Guam which you helped pioneer, thank you. We look forward to growing this industry, educating students, and serving local businesses, all right here at home.
Drone services currently available locally:
2cofly Construction/development - orthomosaic mapping (photogrammetry), topographic mapping (LiDAR), inspection, aeromagnetic mapping (UXO)
Bella Wings Aviation Drone Light Show, drone delivery, search & rescue, inspection, long-range missions
Drone Optics Drone service provider, authorized DJI reseller, drone repair and maintenance provider
KLARA M Aerial imagery (photography & videography)
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