Receiving a request to do a drone ‘shoot’ at a new locale is always a challenge. We received a call from a seasoned, and very astute real estate agent who found us on the web. The issue as many UAV pilots know, is what form of certification do you have?
In our case we had successfully migrated to the highest level of certification with Transport Canada which is ‘Complex Restricted’ and further, we were awarded ‘blanket coverage’ for all the Muskoka Lakes Region. For those not aware, blanket coverage can only be gained once Transport Canada feels that you have had enough successful and safe flights for business in specific locations, for specific dates, that they will give you broad access to an area for a much longer period of time.
So…. in this case the request came to do a shoot on Sparrow Lake which was not in our specified area of legal work. So quickly we put together, yet another application, sent it in to Transport Canada and were pleased to receive a quick turnaround on approval.
Next, we had to co-ordinate the weather with the agent and the property owner, ensuring all aspects of the visuals would be in place. In this case, the owners were having a yard sale and rightly so, wanted everything cleared away prior to the shoot.
Rain and wind are the UAV enemies, and we battled both prior to, and just after our shoot. No matter the circumstances, we always learn something new at each customer location. A glitch with the GoPro camera delayed our launch. The data card became slightly unseated in the camera and we could not discern why a beeping sound persisted. You have to be prepared for a myriad of problem solving. There are SO many factors: equipment, safety regulations, emergency details, the angle of the Sun – customers typically have no idea.
This is why Drones (UAV’s) have developed such bad reputations because there are many ‘rogue’ pilots who do not operate within the law, flying ridiculously stupid and reckless operations. Example: you MUST have a certified ‘observer’ working with you to handle safety, payload (camera), and a host of other duties.
In the end we had a great shoot. We went through two batteries (two flights) to get all the coverage we felt we needed, and both agent and the property owners were happy with the results.
Right after we drove away, a howling wind came up which would have prevented our operation. Luck and a little forward planning was on our side.