Hensel Phelps used aerial imagery gathered from drone flights and 3D site surveys to track demolition and other progress on a terminal replacement project at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. The images served to identify site hazards as well, avoiding the necessity of physical inspections.



Hensel Phelps used drone surveying and Propeller’s 3D site surveys to track, map, and measure the project to demolish and replace a terminal at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye Airport. The contractor has embraced virtual reality in managing airport projects, and drone data, marshalled by Propeller’s online processing and presentation platform, became the next step in updating construction status digitally and communicating work plans.

“We started using [drone data] in smaller chunks, really identifying areas we knew we were going to be working in.”

“The initial drone flight, before we started demolition, to map the entire project site was the first time we’d ever flown at the airport job site,” says Carter Johnson, VDC engineer with the Hensel Phelps Pacific office. “Exactly what we used the software for evolved throughout the project.

As we were doing demolition, it was used like a progress tracking tool. We also utilize it to track existing structures. During demolition, manholes and other structures can get covered up. We could go back to a previous survey, and with the northings and eastings from the Propeller drone survey we were able to locate those items.”

Done right the first time

By 6:30 each morning, all the superintendents, field engineers, and foremen on site would meet in front of aerial imagery and brief each other on the day’s work. “We could see real-time how the site’s changed and the different areas people are going to be working on,” said Project Superintendent Brian Holm.