Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Mt. Mantalingahan’s eye in the sky
by: Michael John Cantuba

 

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The Conservation International (CI) (a Non-Government Organization) one of the members of Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape (MMPL) – Protected Area Management Board introduced the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), a miniature aircraft made from light materials and is capable of flying 800 meters in altitude and 15 kilometers away from its home coordinates. It is equipped with audio and visual recorder, transmitter and GPS receiver, hence the UAV can be controlled (e.g. flown by a pilot at a ground control station) or can be flown autonomously base on pre-programmed flight plans or more complex dynamic automation systems.

With the introduction of this UAV, the DENR and CI conducted an initial training on mission planning and simulator flying of UAV in 2015 then a follow through training at Maruyog Ridge Convention Center, Brooke’s Point, Palawan last March 1 to 6, 2016. Two trainees from CENRO Quezon, Michael John D. Cantuba and Arnold Peter Aurino, and four employees from CENRO Brooke’s Point, Herman A. Paraiso, Jimbo D. Lopez, Arman Quitano, Menelaus Rey Duller, and John Mark Bacan, participated in the learning event. The training was headed by the Program Director of CI, Ms. Jeanne Tabangay, together with MMPL PASu, Pablo L. Cruz, and Forester III Franklin Aquino of CENRO Brooke’s Point. The resource persons were Tim Sabino and Nicko L. Lasaca of Sky Eye. With the five-day training, the participants learned the vital procedures of mission planning including the input of coordinates and altitudes as waypoints for the plane’s route. Participants learned how to fly the UAV manually via RC or Remote control, but they still need further practice on simulator. Also, they learned how to set up the visual recorder, an antenna for transmitting of signal.

Also known as drone, the UAV is a very promising technology especially in the field of Environmental Protection. It can enter areas that man might find harsh or impenetrable. Surveillance, area patrolling, and monitoring would be much easier, accurate, and instant. With further improvement/development, the technology will surely be of great service to forest protection activities.