The only way is up: Why Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is vital for drone operators

by coptrz on February 22, 2017

Being granted your PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations) from the CAA is a major milestone for any aspiring drone operator. But what comes next? Coptrz puts the spotlight on Continuous Personal Development (CPD), why you should embrace it and what you need to know.

A new wave of entrepreneurs

The skyrocketing growth of the commercial drone market is opening the door to self-employment for more and more people. The figures speak for themselves: in the US, the Federal Aviation Authority processed nearly 24,000 applications from commercial drone operators in the second half of 2016. Likewise, the UK is enjoying an ongoing spike in drone operators with CAA training.

A much-cited 2016 report from PwC projected that the global drone industry will be worth a staggering $127 billion by 2020. The EU (including Britain) and US are widely acknowledged as being the two biggest potential markets for commercial drones.

All told, it’s a remarkably exciting time for to be a UAV operator. But in order to make the most of the drone boom, operators need to be ready.

Why CPD?

As business opportunities increase, so does competition. For some, ambitions don’t become a lasting reality. According to ARPAS (Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems), as quoted in the Financial Times, some 40% of companies granted a commercial UAV license do not seek renewal when it runs out. That figure can be interpreted a number of ways, but the upshot is that many businesses aren’t embracing drone technology in a sustainable way.

Perhaps fledgling operators are dipping their toes into the water rather than fully committing – although with only two hours flight time in the last 3 months to get your PfCO, time commitments shouldn’t be a problem.

In addition, many aspiring drone entrepreneurs stop proactively developing their skills after they’ve got their licence to operate. It’s hard to say if that correlates with the 40% drop-out figure, but clearly a large number of UAV start-ups have only the bare minimum of qualifications.

Amanda from CPD Standards OfficeAs Amanda Rosewarne, Director of CPD accreditation and research at the CPD Standards Office, explains, big ambitions in the commercial drone market need to be backed up by serious skills and knowledge investment – and CPD is a platform to make that happen.

“Those working with drones need to be right at the front end of the game to understand how the commercial use of the technology is developing,” she says.

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Coptrz TV Ep5 – CAA Drone Training & PFCO

by coptrz on February 21, 2017

David: Hello, I’m David Johnson. Welcome to another edition of Coptrz TV. In my hand, I have my PFCO. But what is a PFCO and how can Coptrz help you get yours? I know a man who’s inside who can tell us everything we need to know. Let’s go meet him.

John: Hello, my name is John Moreland. I’m the lead course instructor for Coptrz.

David: What is a PFCO?

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Pix4D helps polar research expedition to push boundaries

by coptrz on February 14, 2017

The challenge

In June 2016, a small team set off from the UK to undertake an ambitious scientific survey of Iceland’s Flaájökull glacier. Their goal was to accurately map how much the glacier moved and melted in a very short period, so they could discover how weather affected its stability. This meant the team had to collect a huge volume of precise data in only three short weeks.

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The project was self-funded by a young team on a shoestring budget, not an academic or specialist organisation. The team thought that drone technology could capture the data, but they didn’t know if it was possible in such a short time with tight cost constraints.

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Meet the COPTRZ team in COPTRZ TV Ep 4

by coptrz on February 8, 2017

Transcription

David: Hello, I’m David Johnson and welcome to another edition of Coptrz TV. Today, we’re here at Coptrz HQ.

Sam: Hi, my name’s Sam and I am the Drone Ninja here at Coptrz. If you call us up, chances are I’ll be the first person that you speak to and I’ll be able to give you advice on training, software and kit as well. If you’re looking to build up a drone business, I’ll be able to put you in the right direction, or if you’re just looking at upgrading something you’ve got already, I’ll be able to give you some advice on that as well.

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From steelworks to skies: how Lee Bullock’s making the most of the drone boom

by coptrz on February 7, 2017

When Lee Bullock was made redundant from his job at a steel plant, he decided to build a career in one of the UK’s most exciting and fast-growing sectors – drone piloting.

Taking control

For Lee Bullock, founder of Middlesbrough-based drone company Aerial Aspect, learning to fly a drone was pretty simple compared to the skills he needed for his hobby – flying model helicopters. “Now, those are tricky,” he says. “So when I decided to learn to fly a drone, I just made sure the controls were configured the way I liked them, and I was off.”

Of course, there’s a lot more to flying drones than that – you need to be fully trained and accredited, for a start. Lee is one of the 2,400 drone pilots in the UK who hold a permit from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which is legally required for everyone who wants to make a living flying drones. And while most drone pilots operate in the areas of film and photography, Lee has bigger ambitions. He’s just completed a course in specialised drone software Pix4D with Coptrz, the world’s only personal training and development drone company. This drone mapping software uses images filmed by the drone to create everything from maps to surveys.

“Using this software, drones can be used in sectors ranging from agriculture to mining,” says Lee. “It’s a great way to survey land – surveyors no longer need to be out in the field. It saves a huge amount of time and money and is much better in terms of safety, as well – you don’t need to have a guy on a rope to look at the structure of a chimney stack, for example. Of course, you still need those surveyors – but they’re looking through a screen rather than having to be up there, so it’s much better in terms of health and safety.”

Making a new start

Drone pilot is Lee’s second career. His background is in steelmaking and chemistry. He was process controller at the SSI Redcar steel plant, which had the biggest blast furnace in Europe before it was shut down in 2015, following huge falls in the price of steel. When SSI went into liquidation, Lee found himself out of a job. And with some important decisions to make.

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“I’d already developed an interest in film editing and I’d been flying model helicopters for years, so I decided to put the two things together,” he says. “Luckily, the government provided funding to help people who lost their jobs at Redcar get back into work. I put together a business plan and was lucky enough to get some of that funding to set up and buy the equipment I needed.

Taking advantage of industry potential

Originally, Lee planned to specialise in aerial film and photography, and his first assignments were creating films for local businesses. But he soon realised the huge potential drones have for changing the way industry works. “The opportunities are massive,” he says. “So now we’re moving towards those. We want to work with the best companies out there. We believe that once industry realises how much time and money we can save, we’ll see a huge boom and a need for skilled drone pilots. We’re working very hard to raise awareness of what drone pilots can bring to industry. And where one goes, the others tend to follow.”

Training is another aspect of Lee’s business: he’s now a flight assessor for Coptrz, helping to ensure that new pilots are safe to fly and hopes to soon train to be able to deliver the courses that enable pilots to be accredited by the CAA. “Good training is absolutely vital,” he says. “One of the biggest challenges we face is educating the public and businesses that you should only hire someone who is fully trained and has the right permits – not your mate who got a drone for Christmas!”

Opportunity knocks

His advice for someone thinking about getting into the industry is simple: “Don’t be afraid to ask – the worst that anyone can say is No. I’ve had a huge amount of help from companies like Coptrz. You’d be surprised at what happens when you ask! And do your research. Make sure that the training provider you have is the absolute best. It’s estimated that in 2025, the UK drone industry will be worth £4bn. There’s an incredible opportunity here.”

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Lee’s tips and take-outs

  • Professionalism and legality in the drone pilot world is all. There are a lot of cowboys out there, so stand out from the crowd by ensuing you have the right accreditation.
  • There’s a lot of help available when starting a new business, from government grants to industry insiders who want to share their skills.
  • Don’t be afraid to take advantage of all the support you can get.
  • Look for areas where drones are being under-used – that’s where the business potential lies.
  • Stay ahead of the curve with regular training in new software packages to develop your skills and increase your business’s reach.
  • Be ready to educate businesses about what drones can do for them, and how they can save money and time.

Thinking about how you can make the most of the drone boom? Explore our website now for training, drones and loads more useful tips.

Set a course: Mapping the future of commercial drones

by coptrz on February 1, 2017

Commercial drones are big business. No two ways about it (in any direction). With more applications than ever for business, and global legislation moving it all on the right path — the way to industry expansion looks far less cloudy.

So does the future of professional drone piloting look like? What likely industry questions will arise? And how are manufacturers going to get on board and ride the opportunities?

dronesshow

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Coptrz TV Ep3 – DJI Inspire 2 Flight Test

by coptrz on January 31, 2017

Hello there. I’m David Johnson, and welcome to another edition of Coptrz TV. It really is me, look. But we’re outside today and it’s blooming freezing, so we thought we’d put the Inspire 2 through its flight test. Bearing in mind, we did the original review of the DJI Inspire 2 just a couple of episodes ago. If you didn’t see that, you can watch it now by clicking this link, just here. And the second one we did was for the two camera options, that was the X4S and the X5S. And now, of course, this week, we’re going to put it through its paces.

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Local industry to big business: How to make money from Drones

by coptrz on January 25, 2017

We’ve all heard that drones are here to stay (as oxymoronic as that sounds). You’ve no doubt also heard that business owners are no longer rolling into a sci-fi-mind-blown, eyes-glazed ball when the benefits of drones to their business are mentioned.

So, with plenty of anecdotes from those who are making serious money from corporate contracts, and those who are making good money from smaller projects, just how easy is it to start small and earn big in commercial drones?

Here, we’re going to look at the bigger picture, and the smaller picture, the industries where anyone can start building a presence, and outline the steps to start getting the cash rolling in.

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World’s first continuous personal development drone training company gains Civil Aviation Authority accreditation

by coptrz on

Coptrz, the world’s first and only company offering continuous personal development to drone pilots, has been awarded the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) National Qualified Entity (NQE) status.

This entitles the company to deliver CAA-approved training to potential drone pilots, including both a theory and a practical test.

Only drone pilots with a CAA-certified qualification may obtain the Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) from the CAA which enables them to work as professional drone pilots.

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Coptrz TV Ep2 – DJI Inspire 2 Camera Options X4S & X5S

by coptrz on January 24, 2017


Video Transcription

Hello, I’m David Johnson and on the last edition of Coptrz TV, we looked at the new DJI Inspire 2 drone, and I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a very grown up and developed version of the old Inspire 1. By the way, if you missed the first edition, you can click here to watch it now.

As with the craft itself, video and image capture have also advanced in the two years since the original release. With the Inspire 2, there’s two camera options. Let’s look first at the X4S. It’s the newer version of the X3. And just like when you placed both Inspire side by side, when you see the X4S next to the X3, you just get a gnawing feeling that it’s going to be so much better.

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