Drone businesses readying for take-off from accredited courses

Drone parade: Students in the first North-West Coast drone operators course take to the Sheffield Recreation Ground for their first taste of practical flying. Picture: Flick + Dave Photography

Drone businesses are readying for take-off in the state in part due to a training school on the North-West Coast.

Local entrepreneur Andrew Davies ran his first certified drone operators course in Sheffield last year, and has been inundated with enquiries for his next courses.

Among those wanting to become licensed drone operators are real estate agents, wedding photographers, miners and police.

Some want to set up business and others want to add to the services they offer. One graduate has set up a small business offering drone inspection of mine stopes.

Mr Davies, who trained seven people in what is thought to be Tasmania’s first accredited drone operator course, said he loved helping people and wanted to share what he knew.

“I’m helping people into the industry, giving people more opportunity,” he said.

Commenting on the increased presence of drones in towns and cities, Mr Davies said it was difficult for police to enforce possible drone crimes, such as filming people at home. 

“You have to get permission to fly on private property,” he said.

“There’s nothing stopping anyone getting a drone and flying anywhere. Unless it crashes you can’t get data from it. But there are basic CASA drone laws, like you can’t fly within 30 metres of people and you can’t fly at night or beyond the visual line of sight.”

Mr Davies said agencies were trying to adapt. For example, airports already had ‘geo-fencing’ which meant a drone trying to launch within 3.3 nautical miles of an airport wouldn’t take off.

“It’s a data fence. It blocks a certain geographical location.”

Geo-fencing was used for VIP visits in cities, or for areas around police stations, for example, but private properties couldn’t yet set them up.



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