A common question!

November 22, 2017 9:30 am Published by

BTS_November_2017 (2 of 4)

We are often asked by other contractors what our most useful piece of equipment is.  So whilst Matt was editing our 2017 creative Showreel I asked him! “Ha! This comes up all the time and the answer will probably surprise you…” “After four years operational across a number of sectors I like my creature comforts.  We are often up really early, certainly that is the case for creative work.  Often the call time for the shoot doesn’t come through until late the night before the shoot day.  The client never factors in your travel time from a human factors point of view….” “We are pretty committed to safety, in fact it is one of the factors that distinguishes us from the competition.  As such we try and look after the staff and sub-contractors.  Can you see where I am going here?… Turning up onsite tired and grumpy is not only unproductive, it’s down right dangerous…” “So really, our main production / site vehicle and our Honda generators are the most utilised bits of equipment.  There is nothing worse than arriving at a location at ‘O’ dark thirty and having to sit around all day.  Our built to order crew vehicle has hot and cold running water, tea and coffee making facilities, a fridge, a bed (that’s only for me though!) and can run off grid for two days including battery charging.” “We can charge prosumer drone batteries like the TB50, TB47 and TB48 batteries without even firing up the generator,... View Article

Commercial UAV Show 2017

November 20, 2017 2:28 pm Published by


A personal perspective. So they say no good deed goes unpunished.  Well being a voluntary Director of the U.K. Trade Association, ARPAS-UK can certainly feel this way sometimes! I volunteered to attend the show on behalf of the Association some months back.  Great I thought, an opportunity to meet old members, canvass for new members and catch up with some industry stalwarts.  I may name these folk later!  But as is often the way with these things, my reasons for being in the southeast of the country went away and then a last minute project came up in Scotland. To cut a very long story short, ROAVR deployed to Knoydart in the Scottish Highlands (there are no roads there by the way!) early on Tuesday morning.  Our ferry arrived back on the mainland at 16:00 the same day at Mallaig and I had to be in London the following morning.  After waving a cheery goodbye to my less than supportive colleagues I raced down the road to England-shire. The show this year was held at the Excel Centre in the London Docklands.  This is actually a surprisingly easy place to get to whether driving or using public transport.  I even bumped into some Scottish colleagues on Day 2 who had flown straight into London City, so top marks for the venue! What was not so clear initially was whether was in the right place or had the right day.  There was no signage for the show until I was well embedded into... View Article

DJI Inspire 2 – A guide for productions.

July 13, 2017 1:50 pm Published by

Inveraray Castle

The DJI Inspire 2 Here at ROAVR | UAS we have more and more clients asking for the Inspire 2 or I2 but what does it offer you over the established I1?  What can and can’t it do and how much should you be paying?! Like most things with drones I am afraid there is a lot of smoke and mirrors going on. The inspire 2 is made by the Chinese company DJI who are the market leader in small RPAS (drone) systems worldwide.  The Inspire 2 replaces the Inspire 1 and introduces a number of airframe and camera  changes: Airframe –  Less important to you as the client, but nice for the drone operator!  Unlike the I1, the I2 has dual batteries which improves redundancy and flight times have increased slightly. The I2 has a slightly larger footprint than the I1 with upgraded motors so is more stable in the wind. It also gets up to speed quicker and has a higher top speed so this may be important to you if your shoot involves car or boat chases. It has self-heating technology so no more waiting for operators to warm batteries in armpits, cool boxes or battery warmers! The aircraft has a built in FPV camera so complicated moves become slightly easier and the avoidance technology has also been upgraded with additional flight modes helping you achieve more dolly-like slow speed shots which previously relied solely on the pilot’s steady hands and a lack of wind! Camera – ... View Article

Night time antics…

March 31, 2017 4:51 pm Published by

Night Flying

Many drone companies now advertise that they have ‘night permissions’.  What exactly does this mean though?  Well drone operators don’t have licences, they have permissions.  We all have an annual ‘Permission for Commercial Operation’ issued by the CAA after production of some documentation.  One of these documents is called an operations manual. Once you have been operational for ~12-months the CAA will entertain you adding a set of procedures to your operations manual for night flying. This usually includes the following:   Statement of operating procedure: The following procedures shall be adhered to by all ROAVR-UAS staff when conducting RPAS flights at night. Ground Operations and Control Measures: Prior to the proposed flight the PiC shall carryout a technical reconnaissance visit to the intended site of operations, the purpose of this visit will be as follows: A detailed pre-flight risk assessment will be carried out in daylight paying particular attention to flight path hazards.  This technical reconnaissance may be carried out in daylight on the day of intended operation before the flight takes place BUT must be carried out 2 hours before sunset. Prior to the flights taking place the PiC shall discuss and pre-plan all proposed flight paths with the client and agree on a plan to reduce pilot workload during the flight. The intended launch site shall be clearly lit using glow sticks or similar to mark out a 6m x 6m launch and recovery pad.  An alternate will be identified and marked with reflective cones and glow... View Article

Meet the team!

December 19, 2016 8:48 pm Published by

Standing by!

  Jill joined the ROAVR team at the end of August 2016 as Matt’s Personal Assistant & Secretary.  She has a background in an administrative-clerical role having worked in the healthcare sector for just shy of ten years.  She is delighted to have been given the opportunity to work in such an interesting and exciting industry! Jill will almost certainly be the first person you speak to when you drop us a line or an email!   Matt is the Managing Director.  Matt started ROAVR | UAS in 2013 after a career in environmental consultancy and tree surgery.  Matt is a manned aviator flying fixed wing out of Inverness when he can.  Matt is a qualified ground school and flight instructor for the ConsortiQ brand UAVAir and was a committee member of the Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.  Matt lives in the Highland Capital of Inverness with his wife Anne-Marie and children Connor, Summer and James. Connor is Matt’s eldest son.  Connor has a great interest in film and photography and has been operating as a camera operator for ROAVR since inception.  Connor had his camera skills shown on several TV programmes before the age of 16.  Probably an industry first!  Connor enjoys riding motocross when he can. Anne-Marie is a lecturer at Inverness College.  With a background in broadcast journalism and PR and marketing Anne brings a wealth of good ideas and a critical eye for detail to the team!

To Columbia and back #testedtough

November 23, 2016 8:54 pm Published by

Isle of Skye, Columbia Clothing

Back in mid-October when the days still held some light we were approached by LS Productions in Edinburgh to see if we could provide a medium to heavy lift drone for an upcoming shoot on the Isle of Skye.  Most notably on the Quiraing, this area has been used heavily for high end commercials and Hollywood movies for decades.  This is due to the combination of stunning terrain, sweeping vistas and coastal views found nowhere else in the UK. We were initially a little sceptical as October on Skye is not known for warm sunny days! We were sent a link to the project which turned out to be a series of shorts for Columbia Clothing’s latest project #TestedTough where they interview for a Directors position in wild places.  Perfect this was right up our street! Inverness to Skye is a four hour drive and our call time was 07:00, oh dear early start!  We arrived onsite bright and early with an eye on the weather which did not look great. We deployed with two systems, the Skyjib with the GH4 and a range of lenses and the S900 with a Z15 gimbal but only a single lens choice. We found the carpark the production was using as unit base as helped ourselves to coffee.  The Director was already on the mountain so we quickly prepped the kit.  Given the inclement weather we took the S900 and a tarp to cover everything. When there is likely to be deep heather... View Article

Droning over and under…more drone inspection in Scotland

November 13, 2016 5:22 pm Published by

Drone in snow

Despite our ever increasing cinematography and photography workload we are still seeing a month on month increase in inspection and survey work.  The last couple of months have been quite hectic! The first notable inspection task for ROAVR was an under bridge inspection in the northwest Scottish Highlands for the Highland Council.  Also along to help was the youngest member of the team Ross Binnie who completed his UAQ (Unmanned Aviation Qualification) with UAV-Air back in the early Summer. With the increasing cutbacks to local government the Highland Council have found themselves without their key asset inspection team that would have traditionally been utilised for this task.  Additionally the cost of a full road closure with associated traffic management and under deck inspection vehicle would have been cost prohibitive. ROAVR deployed a two man team to site and using temporary traffic management were able to inspect the asset live using a combination of still photography and 4k video recorded on a Sony sensor on a brushless gimbal.  ROAVR were accompanied by the Highland Council to guide the inspection.   The second notable project was for SPT in Glasgow and involved the inspection of Broomloan  railway stabling sheds.  This large fragile roof structure would have proven exceedingly difficult to inspect traditionally but using our specialised octocopter we were able to attend site and collect the required data in a single day. Our datasets are presented through an online portal for easy data transfer.  This is an approach we have pioneered recently due... View Article

Industrial Inspection – not just for drones!

September 29, 2016 12:46 pm Published by

Portable ali inspection mast

ROAVR are specialists in Scotland for the provision of data collection platforms.  ROAVR do not just use drones to capture data but provide a complete solution.  That may include drones but more often masts and poles are the better solution. ROAVR have a diverse toolbox including portable masts and carbon pole sets with dedicated high quality 3-axis gimbals with remote view capability.  We can inspect those hard to reach areas that would otherwise involve considerable expense arising through the deployment of MEWPS or rope access teams. Our masts and poles have been uniquely designed to be user friendly, easily transported, lightweight with very rapid deployment, yet very strong. Our gimbal heads are interchangeable and can take 24mp stills on a Sony sensor or record up to 4k video. Contact us for more details!

Checklists for drone pilots – part two!

August 14, 2016 1:50 pm Published by

Inspire Pro and S900

The second acronym we use in the field is BATS this should be used during the flight stage of your operation. Battery Check your battery duration frequently or delegate checking this to a competent spotter / airspace observer.  Modern control systems tend to foster an over reliance on ‘smart’ batteries.  The batteries on the likes of commercial off the shelf platforms such as the DJI Inspire and Phantom models take a lot of the pressure off the pilot but this can lead to complacency.  Do not blindly trust the smart functionality as winds aloft can dramatically effect your flight duration.  Can you get back to base? We advise checking battery levels just after take off and every 30-45 seconds once in flight.  Make sure your return leg is the down wind one! Airspace Scanning airspace is harder than you think.  This task is best delegated to your spotter who can devote their time between battery management and airspace observation.  Even the the most experienced aviators have to force themselves to use a scanning pattern to move the eye across the sky efficiently. Scanning is a continuous process used by the pilot or observer to cover all areas of the sky Pilots and observers must develop an effective scanning technique which maximises one’s visual capabilities Since the brain is already trained to process sight information that is presented from left to right, observers may find it easier to start scanning over the left shoulder and proceed to the right When in VMC, it’s... View Article

High quality aerial imagery – busting the boundaries.

August 1, 2016 5:36 pm Published by

MV Corinthian_July_2016_PR

ROAVR | UAS being based in the remote Scottish Highlands are well used to last minute deployments.  We have become experts at monitoring weather, planning missions and balancing client expectations with what can be achieved in this beautiful but sometimes hostile environment. Just last month ROAVR received an enquiry from Grand Circle Cruises in Boston USA.  They were attracted by the favourable exchange rate to employee an RPAS company to obtain aerial promotional imagery of the cruise ship MV Corinthian. The company provides high quality vacations for predominantly retired American’s visiting the Western Isles as part of a round the UK trip. One of ROAVR’s team deployed with a small man portable system by air to Dublin where he joined the ship.  From there he travelled to Iona, Barra, and the Shetland Isles before flying home to Inverness from Kirkwall a week later. The trip was a resounding success capturing the ship in a variety of beautiful places in perfect conditions. Get in contact now to see how we can promote your business for you with beautiful imagery!