Blog

Condition surveys and Portfolio Projects

January 26, 2018 4:07 pm Published by

Condition Surveys and Portfolio work. ROAVR have been the first choice for condition surveys and portfolio work for a large number of clients including RWE, METKA and Qila Energy for a number of years now.  But what do we do differently? Portfolio work – clients may have numerous assets spread throughout the UK and Europe. ROAVR will plan the data collection using our bespoke management platform to ensure efficient deployment to best capture your assets.  Weather obviously plays a major part in this portfolio work and our management platform allows small changes in project order to be accommodated easily if you require the perfect conditions we always strive for. Once the imagery has been captured it is backed up twice at our head office and editing begins.  Once the imagery is ready for delivery we can host this for you and provide instant on demand access.   Condition surveys – what do we mean by condition or baseline surveys?  Well this could be anything from environmental infrastructure such as moorland, woodland, river bed etc. or industrial such as green energy or utility infrastructure. Following the data collection we host all the imagery on our bespoke platform which can be accessed remotely by you the client.  The imagery will be displayed with a google map base layer or street map depending on the survey scope. This service has been utilised for clients such as The Kennel Club and multiple wind farm developers whereby before and after imagery is essential to the... View Article

Security, Privacy and that damn eye in the sky.

January 22, 2018 8:13 pm Published by

I’ve been involved in the drone space since 2013 and a model RC pilot since my early teens.  Almost every conversation with a third party highlights a concern over privacy and security. Whether that be a stakeholder concerned over nefarious intent or a TV Producer keen to ensure no third party data is captured and held. Most drone service providers will have some form of generic privacy impact assessment (PIA) on file and the more robust operator will most likely carry out a bespoke impact assessment dependant on the tasking and append it to their RAMS (Risk Assessment Method Statement). So lets flip the coin. What can you do as an events organiser, Local Authority, sensitive infrastructure operator or facilities management company to prevent nefarious use of UAS on your site? Well we need to rewind the clock.  There are a good deal of ‘Walter Mitty’ characters in the anti-drone space, they have sprung up with the advent of the ready to fly DJI equipment in the last few years.  We need to go way back before Frank Wang (1) woke up with a bright idea. The ability for those with criminal intent to use RC (Radio Controlled) aircraft as ‘air support for criminals’ goes back to the 1950’s.  But back then it took skill to fly RC aircraft.  The equipment had to be, in most cases, scratch built.  You had to fully understand model aerodynamics and avionics and this skill took time to build.  This was the case pretty much... View Article

2018 – Some predictions!

January 15, 2018 2:09 pm Published by

I know right, you hate reading these rambling posts.  However I think I’m well placed to make some predictions for this year and it’s always fun to see whether your right or wrong at year end.  It also follows that this is a key part of my role within ROAVR as it lets us best plan ahead. So, lets take a look a a few points. Platforms – did you read my post last year on the prosumer DJI Inspire 1 (i1) and how it is still valid?  Well I predict in 2018 this won’t be the case anymore.  Certainly not for media work anyway unless it is in house content production using your own equipment.  Drone service providers are jumping in their 100’s to the Inspire 2 (i2).  Why?  Mostly because DJI are withdrawing support.  The deliverables are generally no better than the i1 unless you are shooting in Cinema DNG or ProRes but it’s time to move on.  This really is disruptive technology! For inspection, survey and mapping work the i1 will still produce the goods and remain valid well into Q3 but getting spares and new batteries is going to become difficult.  The second hand market is awash with bargains at the moment as operators offload i1 equipment but that will not last. I predict that the cost of replacing the i1 with an i2 may push many small companies out of business.  We know from our own experience that a direct replacement outfit is around 9,000 GBP with X7... View Article

A common question!

November 22, 2017 9:30 am Published by

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

The DJI Inspire 2 – UPDATE FEBRUARY 2018!! 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... View Article

Night time antics…

March 31, 2017 4:51 pm Published by

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

  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. Paul Billany After a highly successful 18-year career in the Royal Air Force as an Airspace Battle Manager, Paul went on to pursue his interest and passion for photography andlaunched himself into the world of commercial and portrait photography. He started doing everything from real... View Article

To Columbia and back #testedtough

November 23, 2016 8:54 pm Published by

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

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