Berkeley Lab

SFA Team Members Get UAS-Certified


Matt explaining the operation of the DJI Phantom 2.

Six LBL researchers—including 4 Watershed Function SFA team members—traveled to Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to take an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) training.

The training course included a classroom briefing and hands-on pilot experience. Course instructor Matt Balderree offered thorough responses to attendee questions, and encouraged teamwork among participants—something which is crucial while conducting UAS operations in the field for reasons of safety, mitigating damage to equipment, and ensuring accurate collection of data.

The final test for pilot proficiency involved doing 2 figure 8’s around two pylons within a virtual rectangular box (10 x 40 meters). The test had to be completed within 2 minutes while maintaining heading in direction of travel.

Congratulations to Sebastien Biraud, Stephen Chan, Baptiste Dafflon, Emmanuel Leger, John Peterson, Craig Ulrich on successfully achieving pilot proficiency! Phil Long, also in attendance, was trained as a UAS observer.


Baptiste Dafflon starting his final flight test! John Peterson is his observer. Matt is checking to make sure his flight path meets the test requirements.