At the Drone Nerds ElevateUAV Summit in Miami today, DRONELIFE had the opportunity to meet Adam Bilmes, Co-Founder and Director of Business Development, about the U.S.-based manufacturer’s new IF 800 TOMCAT.
The IF 800 TOMCAT pays tribute by name to the retired F14 fighter jet. Also like the jet, the IF 800 TOMCAT is designed to be a workhorse. The drone’s robust ergonomics, hot-swappable batteries, and more than 40 minute flight time is a tool to be used 8 hours a day.
Simple and Safe Data Acquisition
One of the features that differentiates the IF 800 from competitors is the quality of their integrations with UI and UX design. “Inspire Ground Control provides a UX that an operator can be comfortable in, which reduces the risk of making a mistake,” says Bilmes. “We’ve modified the front end to make the aircraft simpler and safer to use.”
The IF 800 is integrated with the Workswell WIRIS Enterprise camera, an EO/IR Thermal and Optical payload, the Sony A7R, and an extensive range of LiDAR solutions under 3 kg. Based on Ardupilot, the IF 800 is an open source platform, enabling integration of third party payloads.
RTK and PPK options for surveyors along with automatic geotagging make the IF 800 ideal for geospatial work and asset inspection. Inspired Flight is also seeing interest from law enforcement and government agencies. “We’re seeing a lot more interest from law enforcement with the Workswell payload – IF 800 is a compact, portable aircraft,” says Bilmes. “The modularity and open source architecture make the IF 800 a great fit for many government and defense applications.”
Manufactured in the U.S., Built to Last
Inspired Flight has been a U.S. drone manufacturer since their inception in 2017, and is both Blue sUAS and NDAA compliant. (The new IF 800 is expected to be Blue sUAS compliant as of Q3 2023.) The company has worked to build out their California facilities to ensure a strong supply chain and reliable customer fulfillment. “It’s not sexy – but our supply chain and manufacturing capabilities are a key point of Inspired Flight’s success,” says Bilmes. The company is poised to increase manufacturing by at least 4x this year, and are able to serve a rapidly growing customer base. “We’ve made the transition from direct sales to a distributor network, so there is always inventory available for customers. We’re offering 3 -4 week lead times, which outperforms many manufacturers. All of our critical components are coming from North America.”
Unusual in the industry, Inspired Flight offers a 3 year warranty on their aircraft. They also take support seriously.
“Our dealers and resellers are fully trained – but we have two teams backing that up. Our customer support is available 7 days a week, when you call Inspired Flight, you talk to a qualified person right away. Our flight operations team travels around the country, supporting our customers to make sure that their projects go well. We also offer our Inspired Care program: that includes training, the extended warranty, maintenance checks, priority support, and more.”
In functionality, the new IF 800 TOMCAT stacks up well against other medium-lift UAS like the DJI M300 or Freefly Astro. “With 250% more flight time and 50% more left than its predecessor… the IF800 is Inspired Flight’s best system yet,” says the company.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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