Hi Guys and Girls.
We have all heard the terms 'Drone', 'UAV', 'Remotely piloted aircraft', and we have all seen the news articles and whoo haa that seems to follow them. I am here to help dispell some myths and maybe help explain what all this means to us as photographers, and hopefully shed some light on the business opportunities that Drones can provide.
First of all, cards on the table, I am a commercial pilot and Instructor and I also run a business that trains people to become drone pilots. And I have to say, the bulk of my clients are photographers. Some pro's, some amateurs with an idea, but all are cashing in on this new and exiting industry.
Gone are the days of needing a choppa or small aeroplane to get those aerial shots. Recent advancements in flight control systems, electronics, aerodynamics and construction techniques has meant we now have a huge light UAV industry with many manufacturers mass producing craft that only a decade ago were the stuff of science fiction.
A UAV is classified as an 'Unmanned Aerial Vehicle'. All the other terms, Drone, RPA etc are all the same thing, there is no difference.
Flying a modern UAV is child's play, and Im not exaggerating. It really is very easy to operate these things. The flight control systems take care of all the 'piloting while you just 'direct' it where to go. You can even just dot out points on google earth on your iPad and the machine will fly to all those points Automatically!!
The basic types will lift a go pro camera and carry it for around 20 minutes before the battery runs flat, dont worry, if you run the battery down, it will land automatically without crashing! ( if only my aeroplane would do that)
Many real estate, wedding, cinema, media photographers are adding a small UAV to the kit bag to give them that 'eye in the sky' ability. Medium level UAV's will easily lift small DSLR's like the Nx5 or even the Canon 5D, mounted in a fully controllable gimbal. The opportunities are endless, and its an emerging market place at the moment which means all the certified operators are having all the work to themselves.
So how do you become a UAV pilot?
You need to obtain certification through CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority).
To do this you will need to pass a written exam, get a radio licence and log some flying time on a UAV (your own).
A good entry level UAV like this http://www.dji.com/product/phantom-2 will set you back about $1500, and is enough to get started and earning an income.
We do courses that will set you back between $1600-$4500 depending on how serious you want to get into it.
CASA have fees of about $3000, so all up, your into the market for around $8000.
Obviously if you want to get more serious, the cost of the UAV's goes up and you can get some serious gear flying around and lifting cinema quality video cameras.
Now is the time to get into this new and very exiting Industry. Its in the middle of an explosion, and the next few years are going to see some very exiting careers popping up.
So have a look around the internet and see for yourself, this is some cool and exiting stuff that YOU can get into Today!!!
Check out our website at http://totalrpa.com.au/ for more info.
Feel free to send me a PM if you have any questions.
Thanks to Rick for letting me have a chat to you all and I love the site.!!