The Future in the Skies
Updated: Dec 21, 2020
"It's a bird!"
"It's a plane!"
No, actually, it's a drone. And it can do a ton of game-changing, innovative things.
Courtesy of visionaries Charlie Hermosa and Pearla Cordero, co-founders of Bella Wings Aviation (BWA), we get to experience the future of drone technology, today, right here in Guam.
Bella Wings Aviation promises six different uses - each one exciting - of drones on Guam. Those uses are:
Touch-free delivery service
Search & Rescue (SAR)
Drone Light Show (coming soon)
Aerial advertising, and
Video production services
Anyone can promise these capabilities, but can they follow through? Charlie can deliver, literally! He has not only a passion for aviation, but a background in supply chain, logistics, and efficiency regarding cargo management.
A former Marine Officer, Charlie began to notice drones by reading about their different uses within the military. Not long after, he saw companies like Amazon, Google, and Uber looking into drones for their use. By observing their successes and failures, and by drawing from his own past business experience, Charlie refined his vision of what this business should be. He envisioned how much drones could contribute to the island and said, "I basically thought there was no reason why we couldn't bring that technology here to Guam." Being a go-getter, Charlie went ahead and drew up the plans.
The technical expertise behind the operations
Pearla wanted to be a pilot ever since she was a young girl. Her love of aviation is evident by looking at just a handful of her many accomplishments - from her time as a flight attendant, later fulfilling her childhood dream of getting her pilot's license, and now being the President of Women in Aviation International Guam. She, like Charlie, is also a driven entrepreneur, having run two Guam-based companies.
If you ask Pearla why she's involved in the business, the excitement in her comes out. "Drones have so much opportunity, it's insane," she effused.
"You can't even imagine how much diversity it has, and the capabilities and advantages a drone brings the world. It's just crazy. It's going to be the wave of the future, and you don't want to lose your opportunity."
Charlie and Pearla are a perfect fit, in a number of different ways. They are partners, both in life and business. Their strengths either mirror or complement the strengths of the other. And their noticeable characteristics - background, work experience, entrepreneurship, dreams and passions, love for others - meld together each of those qualities.
Bella Wings Aviation couldn't have been started by two more fitting entrepreneurs.
The first of Bella Wings' uses of drones is a touch-free delivery service.
But what exactly does "touch-free" mean?
It means, for the customers, there is no touch required. A drone will come and release a package the moment the box touches the ground, and not a moment sooner. The customer doesn't even need to be close to it. "Touch-free" also means that in many cases, Bella Wings employees won't even have to handle the box; a restaurant worker, for example, could attach an order directly to the drone, and the next person to touch it would be the customer.
And, in some cases, "touch-free" could even mean that, for most or all of the delivery, a computer will fly a drone autonomously, with little to no human intervention. Bella Wings is working with Zing Drones and other companies to implement this autonomous flight technology in the future.
Why choose Bella Wings Aviation when there are many other existing delivery companies on Guam?
A number of reasons.
Drones can easily go anywhere on island, and much faster than trucks. Also, who'd rather wait in line when a drone could deliver a package directly to the customer? The drone won't get lost either. Before they deliver, Bella Wings will pinpoint the recipient's precise location on the GPS, and print and give a unique "April tag" (like a QR code) specific to that customer and their location. The customer will place the tag on the ground outside their home. As the drone approaches the general area, it will see and decode the April tag, instantly recognizing whether the tag matches the recipient of the package. If it does, the box will be delivered - to the exact location, every time, without getting lost.
And customers who don't want a home delivery can opt to have their package delivered to a Valqari smart mailbox station nearby that Bella Wings is bringing to island, and simply input a numeric code or scan a barcode on their phone, to receive their package automatically.
24/7 accessible, no more line to wait in, no more lost or stolen packages. It's also easy to understand, especially during this time of social distancing, the importance of having a minimal number of people handle a package.
But another reason to choose a drone delivery is the "wow-factor." A birthday gift, say, to a friend could be made even more special by a drone delivery! And, if you take into account the cost of fuel and maintenance, plus delivery speed, believe it or not, drones are actually more cost-effective than traditional ground-based delivery services, and future technology will only make it more efficient.
Bella Wings is also planning to use their drones for commercial inspections.
This would be a great benefit to telecommunications companies which want to look over their lines and towers. Things relating to power, such as power grids, power cables along the road, windmills and solar farms - drones can check all these things which otherwise wouldn't easily be seen from above. Even things like roofs on buildings can be checked with a drone equipped with a special infrared camera. If a roof doesn't have a constant heat signature from end to end, (meaning the temperature varies in different parts of the roof), that could signal that there is required maintenance. A drone could pinpoint the source of the issue, and then a repair person would know exactly where to patch it up. Real estate companies could contract Bella Wings to check residential roofs for their own clientele's peace of mind.
Search & Rescue (SAR)
That same infrared camera can be used in life-saving ways in search and rescue.
Imagine someone is drowning in the ocean or lost in the jungle. A drone equipped with that infrared camera would not only be able to see what we see in terms of visible colors, but it can also see heat. Ocean: blue... but with a red spot. That red spot is probably the body heat of our distressed swimmer. That drone can then fly over and release a safety vest or life ring to help the swimmer stay afloat until help arrives. Or, in some cases, the vest or life ring may even already be attached to a line connected to shore or a rescue boat, which can then reel the distressed swimmer in.
Flying over the jungle, the drone may not be able to see the ground due to thick plant life or the time of night. If the thermal camera sees heat but can't tell whether it comes from a person or animal, the drone can release chem lights (akin to glow sticks) to alert rescuers on the ground to places of interest where they should search. The drone would also be able to lower helpful items such as first-aid kits, forms of communication such as radios or phones, and even food and water.
Drone Light Shows
Bella Wings is also planning on using drones for more light-hearted pleasures such as drone light shows.
Pearla is especially excited about this. "I'm always about experience," she glows. "I'm always about feel-good moments - moments that will never be taken away from you."
Attend a drone light show, and you'll experience one of those unforgettable moments. Drone light shows are already popular in Asia, and even Disney has their own. On Guam, Bella Wings can develop drone light shows for any number of functions: company parties, hotels, events, etc. Compared to fireworks, drones offer safety, can be reset quickly, and are incredibly cost-effective, since they can be reused any number of times. Bella Wings is starting with a fleet of 25 drones for the light shows, but will expand to 50-100 for a more immersive experience.
Aerial advertising is another space Bella Wings is entering. Charlie and Pearla got the idea by chance one morning when they were in Tumon. They looked up and saw a large number of people quarantined in their hotels, sitting on their balconies to enjoy the view, perhaps also longing to be home.
Charlie and Pearla thought, "wouldn't it be nice to bring them a sign to cheer them up?"
Out of that heart-tugging moment came the idea to use drones - yes, for advertising, but also just to make people feel good. A drone could easily pull a banner from behind, much like an airplane can, but drones can also do something an airplane cannot: hover, with a banner hanging underneath.
Drones have other advantages over airplanes as well, such as safety, the ability to fly much lower, and operate much cheaper than an airplane.
Bella Wings is also offering video production services.
While the company will specialize in the aforementioned uses of drones, they don't want to lose the opportunity to work with customers who ask for drone video. That's why Bella Wings partnered up with Guam-based marketing firm KLARA M for video production services. KLARA M is a leading drone media company, having done work for businesses anywhere from startups to global powerhouses. They have a unique 0-crash record with a blanket area Class D authorization (107.41) which includes a Daylight Waiver (107.29) provision to operate at night. They have been in business since 2018 and have built an impressive clientele list, and are now only accepting a limited number of clients per year.
It is so exciting to see these incredible uses of drones coming to Guam. But it's not just those experiences that Bella Wings Aviation is bringing to Guam.
As Charlie says, "We want to create an industry where we can develop people, hire people, create jobs. Pilots, technical people, maintenance people - an array of different jobs. The focus of this is to be able to create jobs and really bring the market to a higher level. That's the core of what we want to do - we want to be able to create this market and this industry to be able to hire people who have a passion for aviation or for drones."
Charlie also says, its about logistics, but more than that, it's about people. It's about jobs. As Pearla says, it's about girls with dreams. It's about serving others. It's about those "feel-good moments." All of the above, on Guam, with Bella Wings Aviation.
Official Launch Video | Bella Wings Aviation | Produced by KLARA M
Article written by
Creative Director, Copywriter
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