November 6, 2014 8:39 pm
Updated: November 7, 2014 10:42 am

Rise of the drones: Taking companies to new heights


REGINA – The technology around unmanned aerial devices (UAV) continues to become more sophisticated and is being adopted by a number of Canadian organizations for a variety of uses.

Jack Tunnicliffe owns and operates Regina-based Java Post Production.

He always dreamt of being a pilot growing up, and is now living out that childhood dream, though slightly differently than he’d imagined.

Just like a traditional aviation pilot, he’s taken the training and he logs his flights, but it’s not an airplane he’s flying but a drone.

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“This kind of device has opened up a wealth of opportunities for us,” Tunnicliffe explained while describing the use of an UAV in his company’s productions.

The images captured are second to none and all possible thanks to a revolving camera attached to a hexactoper and operated by remote control.

Tunnicliffe added that after every shoot he can’t wait to watch the footage.

“We can skim down low into wheat fields, just inches about the surface, which you can’t do with a helicopter because of the turbulence of the blades blows everything down,” he explained.  “You can only get down so low, so we can skim right across things.”

Scott Comfort, aka ‘The Drone Man,’ is a realtor for Remax in Yorkton.

He uses a cheaper model UAV to help drive sales by offering his clients photos and videos of a bird’s eye view of properties.

“You can get a good oversight of the entire field all at once or flights over land you can’t get access over, like land or water.” he explained.  “You can get a good view that you wouldn’t be able to get even if you walked it yourself.”

The prices of UAVS have dropped drastically in recent years, becoming more accessible for businesses. However, if you’re using one for work or research you need to apply for a special flight operations certificate from Transport Canada.

353 certificates were issued by the Canadian regulator in 2011, and as of September 15 of this year, over a 1,000 were approved.

The regulator issues the certificate on a case by case basis, something aviation lawyer with Pitblado Law, Joe Barnsley, doesn’t believe is keeping up with the rapidly developing industry.

“It’s not to the point where traditional aviation is where all the rules are set out and you know where you’re going. It’s a bit of a moving target,” he added.

Director of general civil aviation with Transport Canada, Martin Eley said that the regulator acknowledges the need for more rules, but explained it would be premature to set anything in stone quite yet.

“The big challenge with UAVS is the rapid rate in which they are evolving,” he added.  “How do you define regulations that cover it but not have them get out of date before you publish them?”

Barnsley added that as more and more people apply for certificates, growing wait times are inevitable and he doesn’t believe case by case guidelines will continue to work. However, he doesn’t want to see a complete crack down on operator’s freedoms.

“We’re just starting, and when it gets going it’s going to gallop and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

You currently can face penalties for flying a UAV without a certificate if it’s required with the maximum fine of $5,000 for an individual or $25,000 for a corporation.

However, Eley stressed that before it would penalize anyone it would ensure people are aware of the rules.

Transport Canada has also recently launched a public safety campaign to educate both businesses and people flying UAVs for recreation about their responsibilities operating the devices.

Part three of ‘Rise of the Drones’ airs Friday and will explore the recreational uses of drones and how the technology is being developed for the future.




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