Edmonton drone operators see business soaring

Commercial Drone Operator Business in Alberta

[Editor’s Note: Chris Anderson with UAV North Aerials has seen such a strong demand from customers that he no longer cold calls or advertises.]

This post originally appeared on http://www.metronews.ca/news/edmonton/2016/10/05/edmonton-drone-operators-business-soaring-.html.

Drone operators in the Edmonton area say their business is taking off.

Chris Anderson, with UAV North Aerials — which does real estate photos, aerial mapping and other projects — said he can barely keep up with demand for assignments for the business, which he started in 2014.

“At first it was a lot of cold-call sales, because people didn’t really understand what the business was and what the capabilities are, but now I don’t cold call or do any advertising,” he said.

Anderson said drones are highly capable and his company is constantly taking on different kinds of assignments.

“There is really a wide range, really anything that is outside can be shot and we have done pretty much everything,” he said.

Anderson said companies were doing similar work before drones, but with fixed wing aircraft that were expensive to operate.

“You can do a lot smaller area very quickly for a fraction of the cost to launch one of those planes,” he said.

Eric Wilson, chief pilot for Smart Drones, St. Albert-based company, got into the business after his father, a lawyer, purchased a drone to get evidence for some of his cases.

“He quickly found it wasn’t his generation’s forte , flying drones, and he quickly crashed it,” said Wilson.

He said after working for his father on a couple of cases they saw that there was a lot of demand. Beyond legal work, the company filmed footage of the Rockies last year that ended up in the film X-Men Apocalypse and he said they have since worked on two more films.

Anderson said right now drones are limited to use in a line of sight operation, but if that changes they could be used for more complex mapping work and even deliveries.

“Once regulations where you can fly these beyond line of sight it’s really going to expand.”

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