Fly Right! Have a plan.

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 Inspire 1 site photowell 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.



Flavor of the Month Hero

Flavor of the Month Hero

Your business is not an ice cream parlor so stop treating your emergency preparedness priorities like your developing a schedule for the flavor of the month.  Not that there is anything wrong with ice cream parlors or flavor of the month schedules, some of them are quite delicious.  I digress.

I receive many phone calls and emails asking me to conduct a threat risk assessment then when I do and recommend that you may need to focus on natural disaster training and emergencies only to be asked to do active attacker procedures and simulations, I ask why?.  My concern is that the probability of that situation happening to you is low.  High risk, but a very low probability that it’s going to happen to you.  Depending on where you are, as an example earthquakes may be a greater concern, protect in place due to flooding in your area, how about simply a major flood at your workplace.

Don’t get me wrong,  Many establishments unfortunately need to have an active attacker procedure and train frequently for that type of situation.  But if all the data is pointing towards a higher probability of you experiencing a floor or earthquake over an active attacker situation where do you think the higher interest in procedure development and training should go?

This all boils down to your threat risk assessment.  When and if done correctly will give you volumes of information for you to think about.  It will also give you clarity on concerns that you didn’t know or were unsure about.

Some emergencies happen quickly and the cost associated (some immeasurable) can be very high.  Some take some time and may last for days or weeks or even years and the cost and reputation damage may be just as costly or more.  My advice is to really evaluate the information you’re given in your threat risk assessment.  Don’t be the guy/girl that thinks they’re looking like a hero because they arranged for an active attacker mock training exercise only to be the same individual who wasn’t prepared for the flood that’s about to hit you this month…and next.

If you can afford the time to really think it through, do it.  Once you’ve done it and you’ve moved forward, procedures and training are done…do it again.

Plan the Work.  Work the Plan.



So what are you looking for? And why did you lose?

What are we looking for

It used to surprise me, now it doesn’t.  Deserves some context, I know.

So in the past, I would either reach out to organizations to source out work or organizations would reach out to me.  The funny thing is that there were times when the organization who sought me out would end the engagement with “we’re not sure what we need, so we’re going to leave it here for now”.

Really.  So what changed your mind? I gave you enough ammunition to make you rethink the scope of the work?  You didn’t think it was as complicated, expensive or would take up as much or less time than proposed?

Many government departments are currently sitting in a moratorium with respect to hiring consultants.  I get that.  I can appreciate the ideals of saving money.  The unfortunate side of that equation is that some things are just not getting done.  Prime examples are Fire Safety Plans, Emergency Response Plans and the really big one that gets me is training and education is not getting done.

Private corporations are still within reasonable engagement of hiring consultants but they too are limiting what they will get done.  Right down to the bare minimum.  The unfortunate part is the training and education is not as robust or as detailed or in some extreme circumstances even exists.

Businesses/Governments, their employees and their customers are losing out.  Over what?  I know, it’s money.  I get, I make it, I spend it just like many others do.  But there needs to be a balance between what we’re willing to spend operational and capital budgets on and what we should be spending operational and capital budgets on.

In my opinion, the true value of any budget, annual revenue or bonus gained does not exceed the need to be prepared, to have your staff prepared and to have your customers know the comfort or your preparedness.

Maybe we go without some frills once in awhile.

Don’t forget the other side.  Your consultants, well at least I know I do, will work with you to massage the project wants to get you what you really need.  Preparedness is key and working within today’s budgetary confinements is a necessary forum.

Remember; Plan the Work, Work the Plan.