As many of you know, I entered the commercial UAV/UAS world (better known as drones) several months ago.
The unfortunate thing is, the only media coverage that really is predominant are those incidents that shine some negative light on what can be and is a valuable tool in a variety of disciplines.
This recent incident in West Kelowna B.C., just screams of a UAV pilot that doesn’t appreciate the responsibility, the accountability and the general safety and well being of anyone. Scratch pilot from that previous statement and just add operator. Any reputable UAV pilot knows the restrictions, respects the regulations and in fact is mostly likely a proponent for change. Such as I am. This is an aircraft plain and simple.
So how could this particular situation been different? A UAV/UAS could have been used for pre-evacuation surveillance at the leading edge of the restricted airspace. It could have assisted the various other emergency services on the ground in pre-planning or execution. This task or function could be facilitated either from a commercial entity or that within one of the attending services.
The skies can be friendly, there is room for a UAV/UAS industry to work in conjunction with the already existing commercial flight world and in the assistance of emergency services.
Those individuals conducting stunts like the one highlighted in this article and others I’m sure you can Google, obviously do not adhere to the training, research and for that matter the pre-flight rigor that I put myself through and many others in the industry do as well.
Prior flight day equipment checks, site research, flight plan research, day of flight equipment inspections, site assessment (often including a physical walk about), neighboring property (where applicable) communication, on site communication and training, NOTAMs where needed or required, closest areodrome contact and so on. A long flight, a short flight…safety is always first.
Is there a lot of work that can go into a pre-flight process? Yes. Could all that work be done and no flight takes place? Absolutely. Weather & safety considerations are probably the biggest two obstacles. And of course, pilot mindset. All worth it in the end.
As with all the services I provide, and the advise I give; Plan the Work. Work the Plan.
In the neighborhood for a UAV/UAS Pilot? Do your homework and make sure they have a plan.