Newcrest survey technician first certified drone pilot

Youth & Careers

LOUIS Wanpis, 24, is the first Papua New Guinean to become a certified unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) pilot.
Wanpis, from Masahet Island, in the Lihir group, was recently certified by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) which regulates the Newcrest-managed Kunaye International airport on Lihir, New Ireland.
He has been a survey technician with Newcrest Lihir (Lihir Gold Limited) since 2016, attached with the survey team in the projects and engineering department.
Wanpis and five others in the engineering and survey teams completed an Australian and PNG CASA-certified course to fly drones in April.
The drones take synchronised images that are used to make aerial maps.
Surveyors extract three-dimensional data from drone flights for production and planning needs. Drones are also used to do land/air surveys and land use mapping for social performance departments.
As part of his training, Wanpis learnt to keep strict accurate logbooks of flights and maintenance records of his drone and its accessories such as batteries and props.

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