Logging with Drones

(KPTV image)

BANKS, OR (KPTV) - It’s a difficult and dangerous job, but new technology is helping take off some of the load for loggers.

As a fifth generation logger, Mark Standley Jr. knows you can’t get the job done without sometimes sweat, blood and tears.

“The rigging crew work hard every day and come to work in conditions rain, snow, sleet,” he said.

But what if something could help take off a little bit of the load for loggers? At the Banks company, Bighorn Logging, that something is technology.

Standley and his team use a drone to carry rope across large canyons, something historically done by loggers on foot.

“I always stood at the back of a ridge and wondered if I could shoot a bow and arrow across the canyon, so I didn’t have to walk across it,” Standley said.

Tim Ruyle is a two-decade logger at Bighorn, turned certified drone pilot.

“We have to string cable across canyons and draws so we can put a carriage, a motorized wrench on a line and then a rigging guy will go out and put logs and pick it up to that cable and ship it to the landing,” Ruyle said.

“If anybody was going to do it, I knew Tim could do it,” said Standley.

Work that used to take a day to a day and a half is now only taking minutes.

“The amount of miles we’ve saved and injuries, I can just imagine broken legs and stuff we’ve saved,” said Ruyle. “We’ll fly over timber that will roll and instead of someone climbing over it, now we just fly it.”

Standley's dad is the brains behind the drone, forming the company Pacific UAV Technology

“A lot of work,” said Standley. “Very expensive.”

Standley said it took his dad two and a half years to perfect it.

“These are all custom built,” said Standley.

Now, logging companies can buy them.

“I can say I can put it in the back of a pick up, I can beat it up driving down a logging road, pull it out and we can fly 3500 feet, put it back in and go down the road,” said Standley. “I want to be able to tell a customer that and stand behind it.”

And Standley said it’s not hard standing behind something that’s saving loggers often grueling, dangerous work.

“If we get nothing out of this but save some people injuries and hard work, it’s worth it,” he said.

The plan is for the drone to help more than just loggers. They’re hoping it can help string hose to firefighters and also help with search and rescue, by flying out a life-saving buoy or small life boat to someone in the ocean.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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