Trained by CDT to obtain UK CAA NQE qualification SkyFlight is registered for commercial operations including night flights with the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). SkyFlight caters for small/medium size businesses and individuals not the film industry therefore we can keep costs to a minimum using a state of the art low profile drone for photography and video up to 4K.
The talk of drones flying around delivering products to our doorsteps has been around for some time now and it's been covered here at SkyFlight, but where exactly are we and how long before it becomes a reality?
That's a good question, Amazon has been blazing a trail but even a company such as them has a tough time proving the technology and the whole idea to the various authorities and the general public.
The autonomy and safety of any such system is the sticking point, drones can't currently operate beyond visual line of sight (VLOS) of the operator/pilot or it requires additional permission and a system of "spotters" on route who are in communication with the pilot to go further.
What has to be proved is that a system without pilots being controlled by a computer programme is safe. That said high end drones currently (not the toy market) already have altimeters, GPS and systems that will return them safely to their take-off location without having to be manually flown they can also be programmed with "way points" which basically means the drone can have a pre-planned flight uploaded before take off it will then simply fly automatically to that location and carry out a task, such as stop and take a photo or video, rotate, change height etc then fly on to the next point, so the technology is already there but again this must be conducted within VLOS as described previously.
Canadian Grocer reported earlier this month: Drone Delivery Canada cleared a key regulatory hurdle last month when it received a Compliant UAV Operator Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC), which means the company is one step closer to being able to fly its delivery drones beyond the line of site—a key safety concern. The company described the certificate as the “starting point for the commercialization of drone delivery services in Canada.” If the trial goes well, and Transport Canada approves, DDC hopes to begin commercial operations in 2019, said Di Benedetto.
Progress is relatively slow but Amazon has invested heavily and have already held trials including some here in the UK, the company also has several other support projects in the pipeline including mobile repair and charging facilities on trains and airborne warehouse.
It has been reported today that two swimmers were rescued using a drone dropping a floatation device, the story reported on Reuters at 4:25 am ET tells of the dramatic rescue off an Australian beach.
Lennox Head is a popular beach with surfers and is located south of the city of Brisbane. Lifeguards were busy preparing for a training session on the use of drones to pull swimmers to safety when the real life situation occurred and two swimmers were spotted outside the safety flags in a 3m swell according to a government statement.
Lifeguards quickly launched the drone fitted with a floatation devices and flew it out above the struggling swimmers and released the pod which expands on hitting the water allowing swimmers to hang onto it and swim ashore.
"Never before has a drone fitted with a floatation device been used to rescue swimmers like this" said John Barilaro the deputy premier of New South Wales State.
Australia suffered 291 drownings in the year to June 30th, the government has reportedly spent $427,000 on the trial of drone technology in December. The rescue took just 70 seconds with the swimmers swimming to shore exhausted but unharmed.
Authorities are increasingly seeing the use for drones and this is a great example of forward thinking and investing in the potential for drones.
GoPro announced earlier this month it's intention to exit the drone market and implement restructuring changes to its business after a fourth quarter with poor sales and high operating costs in 2017.
GoPro has revealed that despite the Karma getting to a relatively good market position in 2017 for its price bracket, the competitive challenges and recent "hostile" regulatory changes in Europe and the United States have reduced sales. These hurdles have made "the aerial market untenable" and forced the company to exit the market after selling off the last of the Karma inventory. The company has promised to continue support and service for current Karma customers, but has no plans to manufacture new models in the future.
DJI dominates the market accounting for 2/3. Their products have outperformed, out priced and been faster to market than all their competitors. Their marketing has emphasized integration with prosumer software, GoPro cameras and mounts, and other accessories. They keep on innovating and they are headquartered in Shenzhen where all their suppliers reside, hence their ability to be quick to market.
Parrot SA is a French wireless products manufacturer based in Paris, France. Parrot invented and manufactured the AR.Drone and started their drone division which now represents 1/3 of their business. Parrot in its Q4 2016 report showed a 15% drop in revenue. The company had revenues of €85 million but targeted €100 million. Revenue from drones was €60 million, with €11 million coming from commercial, and €49 million from consumer drones. As a result, Parrot announced plans to reduce its drone workforce by 35%, laying off around 290 people.
3D Robotics and their Solo quadcopter was up there (excuse the pun) until their product stumbled and their ambitious inventories didn't move. Like Parrot, 3DR laid off hundreds, had to shut down facilities, and has since been scrambling to keep afloat by refocusing on commercial operations in the prosumer marketplace. In the meantime, consumers can still purchase the Solo and its accompanying gimbal which cost more than $750 to manufacture and ship and once retailed for over $1,400 a savvy shopper can now find it at a significant discount around $500 if you are in the US.
Different countries have varying attitudes towards drone photography, curiously the word photography is rarely mentioned in the same sentence where drones are concerned, yes it's a remote controlled flying aircraft that could be compared with model airplanes and helicopters but it's primary purpose is photography, a flying camera therefore being assigned to designated zones devoid of any photographic interest defeats the point, while this is fine for the model aircraft fraternity who's only interest is in the flying of their aircraft this is not the case for drone photography so the two are entirely different.
It goes without saying that competency, knowledge and consideration should be paramount to the drone operator unfortunately this is not always the case but this minority shouldn't be overstated. Safety is mostly behind restrictive thinking and there is no argument that this is the number one priority. Aircraft operate above us every day from commercial airlines to private airplanes and helicopters all of which would cause a lot more damage than plastic drone weighing little more than a bag of sugar. A decent camera drone will cost in the region of £1000> and is not a toy but a sophisticated piece of technology incorporating GPS positional navigation, computer system and flight monitoring plus an array of additional safety features including collision detection, ground monitoring, altitude sensors, geo-fencing (alerts the operator to NO fly Zones) plus an automatic return to home and landing system should signal loss or low power occur so this equipment should not be compared with the "toy" drone market that have no such features and fly via a low power transmitter or Wi-Fi.
Of course drones shouldn't fly near airports, the whole point of airspace and air traffic control is the separation of aircraft however for the sake of context and the "threat of drones" did you know you are far more likely to be on a plane forced to make an emergency landing or worse due to birds than a drone, this will always be the case however much the drone market grows along with an idiot minority.
Here is an article related to bird strikes and the threat to passenger aircraft from the
In 2014 Spain announced a total ban on drones basically because they had no laws to govern them.
Those looking to use drones for things like aerial photography, surveillance and cartography in Spain now require AESA authorization, but here's the rub: the AESA "cannot issue said authorizations because there is no legal basis to do so. Using drones for carrying out this kind of work with professional or commercial purposes without authorization is therefore illegal and subject to the imposition of the corresponding sanctions." (as reported in Business Insider)
The following is reported by Right Spain.
Ever since Spain’s ruling of drone laws in 2015 kicked in, one can incur a fine of circa €400,000. Why? Spain deem the art of flying a drone to be dangerous, reminiscent of drones used in wars. To protect the nation from any incoming terrorist attack, various military forces are constantly watching the air for any suspicious activity. If your drone shows up, it could put the country on red alert and waste valuable governmental resources in preventing a false attack. And for those who think that Spain’s rules are a case of all bark, no bite: the Spanish government has collected almost €2 million from drone fines alone since 2015.
Flights conducted at low altitude are seen to be high-risk, since someone can be injured by the incoming drone. But also stray too high in the air and the military may be triggered into shooting it out of the air.
You are prohibited from flying the drone above stadiums, on the motorway, above any political building, beaches and cathedrals. Essentially, almost everything is out of bounds. You cannot take flight without having an actual license to use the drone and have to be, at the very least, 18 years of age to be legally able to fly it.
Those who stick to the strict rules and capture something exciting have to be wary of posting it online. If you upload it to video websites with monetisation and ad-revenue – such as Vimeo or YouTube – you are committing a crime. You cannot use the footage for commercial purposes since it officially belongs to the government of Spain. Your monetisation would be claimed immediately and you could risk prosecution if you fail to adhere to the rules. (So the question here is, presumably this applies to the millions of tourists carrying cameras and video recorders?)
So in conclusion until if and when or indeed if ever Spain adopts a more accommodating attitude to drone photography it's probably best to leave your camera drone at home and be wary of any hand held camera photographs or video you publicly post of Spain.
Drones Carrying Defibrillators. (as reported in New Scientist)
Only around one in ten people survives a cardiac arrest outside hospital. A bystander performing chest compressions improves your chances, but a shock from a defibrillator must be applied quickly to restart the heart.
Every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces someone’s chance of survival by 10 per cent. Defibrillators are designed to give spoken instructions so that anyone can use them, and many are available in public places.
NHS England is planning to use drones to assist hazardous area response teams, who deal with medical emergencies involving chemical, biological or nuclear materials. It is also looking at the possibility of using drone technologies to deliver blood and organs for transplant, says Christian Cooper of the National Ambulance Resilience Unit.
Drones aren’t always mentioned in the same breath as saving lives, but a new report from one drone manufacturer says they should be.
Civilian drones have been used to save at least 59 people in 18 different incidents around the world since 2013, DJI, a China-based company that manufacturers popular civilian drones, said in a statement on Tuesday. The company added that 38 of those individuals were saved within in the last 10 months thanks to rescue teams and civilians employing their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to aid people facing life-threatening emergencies.
In 2013, for instance, a drone was used in Canada to spot a man who was lost in a “snowy field,” according to DJI. In June 2015, drones were used to drop life vests and ropes to two teens who were at risk of drowning. They’ve also been used to find a missing heart attack victim and look from above for flooding victims. In January, rescuers employed a heat-sensing drone to find kayakers who went missing and were stranded at night. (by Don ReisingerMarch 14, 2017)
Drones fly over Australia’s beaches hoping to spot sharks and provide swimmers and surfers with rescue equipment more quickly than real-life rescuers.
Manchester fire service uses drone to fight blazes.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has become the UK's first force to have access to drone support around the clock.
A team of trained operators have permission to fly the unmanned aircraft up to 400ft (122m) above ground and 500m (1,640ft) away from the point it is being controlled.
The machine is already equipped with a camera that can see in the dark, and will soon be fitted with a zoom lens to extend its capabilities.
Other fire services have complained of privately-owned drones hindering their efforts, but GMFRS's experience suggests the technology can also prove a boon to emergency responders. (BBC report 2015)
Like everything in life it is the stupid minority who grab the media headlines and the misuse of drones as the technology takes-off (pun intended) is in the sights of the press.The full facts of the below video are not known as apparently neither the shooter or drone pilot have ever come forward, probably because both at best have been stupid and at worst have broken the law.
Putting aside the restrictions on hospitals, prisons, airports etc. and put simply you can't fly a drone within 50m or take-off and land within 30m of people, structures or vessels that are not under the pilots control. The report in the Daily Mirror however doesn't actually ask the question as to whether or not the gentleman discharges his firearm safely and legally. Two wrongs don't make a right.
Intel is leading the way to a new era of drone light shows and sky advertising, will these amazing drones eventually replace fireworks?
Intel "Shooting Star" Drone collectively they become a light show swarm.
“Drone light shows are a new form of night time entertainment,” Natalie Cheung, general manager of Drone Light Shows at Intel, explained. “They are like digital fireworks — where you have controlled flying lights synchronized to music and forming shapes, words, and animations in the sky. This is a completely new form of storytelling. Intel is at the forefront of this innovation. What makes this so exciting is that the entire fleet of 300 drones are all controlled by one pilot. Intel is behind all the hardware, software and animation to make this possible.”
Right now, the technology is still fairly new. Long-term, however, Cheung believes drone light shows could conceivably take over from fireworks. “What’s beneficial about these drone light shows is that the drones are reusable and smoke-free,” she said. “We can also control with more precision than fireworks what we create in the sky, so you have a higher resolution show, and even a 3D volumetric show that fireworks today can’t produce. Another advantage is that fireworks are illegal in some countries, and I see this as a potential opportunity to showcase Intel drone light shows.”
Initially, UberAir will have a pilot to operate the aircraft, but Uber has plans to develop UberAir into a self-driving vehicle, according to LA Times. This move will eventually reduce transportation costs to the price of an UberX car ride. NASA’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) system is currently under design to provide efficient air passenger and cargo transportation in urban areas. Uber’s partnership with NASA will ensure safe, low altitude flights for their vehicles.
Uber is just one of the many Tech companies competing to develop the first viable passenger-carrying sky taxis, whether manned or pilotless, the real question is how long is it before we can really be whizzing over our cities and would you trust one?
The technology is moving at lightening speed as companies fight for our cash. This little baby promises to be more than just a flying camera, with Proprietary Vision Recognition Technology, even kids can fly this pocket drone to capture adventure.
Aerial, Handheld and Mounted shots - All in one intelligent and portable device.
The future of drones is automatous with computers controlling them not pilots, driverless cars are on the horizon so it's a certainty drones will follow if in fact not lead.
The following video is a vision of the future and not yet a reality so don't worry, but it could be, as I have touched on in previous articles the history of remote control and the development of vehicles without pilots has it's roots in the military.
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