Drone Business Success – Case Study – Adam Watkin AeroMedia Wales Limited
Ever wondered what it’s like to take a PFCO course? Then we are on hand to help you out. The PFCO ‘licence’ is a key tool for commercial enterprises who want to take their drone business to the next level.
We spoke to Adam Watkin from AeroMedia wales Limited who passed one of our CAA courses some years ago. Read on to find out more about Adam and his experience with the Coptrz CAA training course.
Adam Watkin – An Introduction
Adam’s passion for the hobby grew from the back of a love of film, media and radio controlled models.
He started the flying hobby with gliders before quickly moving over to Nitro helicopters.
Now, as well as running a very busy and successful drone business, Adam gets sent race drones and DJI equipment to test and review for product development and marketing. Over the years Adam had upgraded many times, sticking with the DJI brand and also building a number of race drones and large scale helicopters. Adam likes the work with the DJI camera drones but also enjoys the racers and helicopters for recreational time. Adam is looking to get his youngest Son Miles into the hobby and at only six years old, he enjoys flying his toy drones and helicopters.
Why is CAA training important?
To operate a drone commercially in the UK you need to gain Permission For Commercial Operations from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
The Coptrz CAA drone training course will allow you to gain the full up to date package of skills, knowledge and experience needed to apply for your PFCO from the CAA.
“ The biggest benefit I have found of having a PFCO is the added knowledge I have gained on my journey. The way that you are taught to think about every single aspect of flight planning and flights really helps. You soon realise how unsafe so many pilots are and how much there is to learn. By having a PFCO I feel more respected as a ‘pilot’ and feel that it adds credibility to the whole industry that these measures are in place. The one thing that people need to realise is that you cannot cut corners with safety and things need to be planned and executed properly” – Adam Watkin on the CAA course
Carry on reading to see our interview with Adam about his time on the CAA course and beyond.
Please tell us about how you use drones and your PFCO
Since gaining my PFCO I instantly secured some long term jobs and recovered all the costs involved with the course. I was lucky enough to have been in the position that I already had a DJI S1000 and inspire 1 at the time of the course so this really helped.
I use my drones for marketing media for several large building and demolition companies. These companies want progress footage and data for meeting and investors. Some ask for short shoe reels to be made for them to use in marketing and for social media presentations. I also use the equipment to film events and make clips for our other business which is a large dance studio.
Since gaining my PFCO I joined the Coptrz Training Team. I enjoy training candidates on the PFCO courses, taking them for their CAA flight test examinations and also doing customer handovers for large drone packages such as the M210RTK. I really enjoy this as a change from the regular drone work I do for my own company. Its’s really good to see peoples views on the courses and to help them as much as I can. It’s great teaching and examining, as, having done the course and exam myself several years ago, I know exactly how they are feeling and the questions they must want to ask.
As I progress through this exciting industry I hope to continue to learn new skills and take on more varied tasks. I am keen to get involved with the MCA with regards long range EvLOS and BvLOS search and rescue tasks. Another avenue I have recently been discussing is with the local police force and hope to further this in the near future.
As jobs more often than not, dictate what drone and equipment is appropriate or needed, I am lucky to have a good fleet to choose from. My company, AeroMedia Wales Limited currently own and fly DJI S1000 with the latest flight controllers and M600 camera bay, DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Mavic Air, DJI Spark and DJI Inspire 2.
What are your future plans for using your PFCO?
I am currently testing out the new DJI HD FPV gear and would like to be able to use some Cinematic FPV shots should any jobs require such. I would also like to get up to speed with the use of thermal imaging as it will fall very well into some of the long term projects I currently have. It would form a good add on to the jobs as a final site visit after homes and buildings have been handed over or as on-going work to ensure the buildings are performing as they should. As mentioned earlier, I have spoken with the local Police force and hope to make a start on some projects in the near future. Having the fleet of drones ~to and also the DJI Ronin MX and several Osmo cameras here make turning into more of a media production company rather than stand alone drone company makes an obvious change of direction also.
How was your experience with Coptrz on the CAA course?
My first point of contact for the Coptrz PFCO course was the website. All the information I needed was easily found. I called the office and Sam took me through the complete process and booked me onto the course. It was great that there were lots of locations and dates to choose from.
I printed off the pre-course information and read it through several times prior to attending the course. By doing this I was fully aware what the course was all about and what to expect from the classroom sessions, exam and flight test. The course was expertly and confidently delivered by the trainer. The way everything was explained and presented was exeptional. I entered the theory exam with confidence and was very pleased with my total mark being 97%. During the day of the flight test, Simon put me at ease and played the roles of the examiner and hypothetical client very well. I passed the flight test with ease and have honestly never looked back since. I was really happy I had chosen the right team to train with. I am thrilled to have been part of the Coptrz training team myself for the past few years and want people to have the same positive experience as I did.
What location did you use?
I chose the New House Hotel in Cardiff, South Wales. Being only a few miles down the motorway it was an obvious choice. It makes a great training site with its ample room sizes and open grounds for flying. The whole experience was brilliant.
How did you find the operations manual review service?
The final stage of the Coptrz PFCO journey was to submit my operations manual for review. I had already completed this prior to the course. This obviously put me in a great place for a fast submission to the CAA. I sent the manual to the office and had a reply with a few changes the very next day after my course. With a few phone calls and emails, I had my Coptrz recommendation though. My personal experience with Coptrz during this whole process was exeptional. Now being part of the team I can see first hand the hard work the office team have to put in to turn all the operations manuals around. I nevr even thought about how many must land on the desk every week so I was lucky to get mine sorted so fast.
The commercial drone industry is still growing at a rapid rate as UAV technology improves. As a result, there is a growing demand for skilled, CAA approved drone pilots like Adam.
Attending a CAA PFCO course is a pre-requisite to obtaining your Permission For Commercial Operations in the UK. A must for any drone pilot looking to step into the commercial drone industry.
We hope you enjoyed our interview with Adam.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a CAA approved drone operator yourself, Please call the Coptrz team on 0330 111 7177.