A Word from Mark Boyt – It’s a Wrap for 2018!
This newsletter was already in production when the news broke of an illegal drone operator bringing Gatwick airport to a standstill. As well as the misery caused to all of those who had their travel plans interrupted, I’m sure that this will have repercussions for our industry as a whole. Of course, most people would acknowledge that the operator or operators were working way outside of any legal framework but it is likely that their actions will have consequences of some sort for both commercial and hobbyist pilots down the road. At the time of going to press, we don’t have anywhere near enough information to formulate a considered response or to establish the role that DSR could play in creating a safer aerial future and so I’m not going to comment further here. However, you can be assured that I and my team are working closely with press and authorities where requested and stand by our commitment to responsible and legal UAV operation. I’m sure there will much more to say in the coming days, weeks and months as these events play out but for now, we will continue to keep our work behind the scenes.
2018 has been a huge year both for me personally and for DSR. Dragons’ Den was only part of the adventures that I can look back on as the new year approaches.
The DSR Network
I am most proud of the friendly and supportive network we have built which brings together new entrants to the profession with some of the UK’s top drone operators. While pilot turnover is still very high, DSR pilot turnover remains significantly less than the CAA average which just shows the power of our network in helping to build successful businesses. I received an email only yesterday from a member thanking us for building the most helpful drone network in Europe which was wonderful to hear. We are pleased to be able to reward our loyal members with a reduction in their renewal fees – just a small way to say thank you to them for helping us to build our DSR community.
One of the main issues in the industry occurred with the CAA grounding craft on account of problems with the DJI batteries and it was one of my personal highlights to see how our network came together to prevent members having to cancel work by offering to help each other and share kit. A testament to the power of our organisation.
Achieving the OSC
Another great achievement this year was the OSC, which took just over 12 months from start to finish. 2019 will see us with a UK wide network of OSC members meaning that no work need be turned down on account of lack of permissions. From a personal standpoint, I’d like thank both Graham and the team at the CAA for making this huge achievement possible.
DSR and Jessops
One of the direct consequences of our investment by Peter Jones after Dragons’ Den was our burgeoning relationship with Jessops with hundreds of members already enjoying discounts that have the potential to pay for membership fees 2-3 times over in the first year. This partnership with Europe’s leading drone retailer will only be strengthened in 2019 with Peter taking a very active role in DSR’s plans for the future.
The Power of Peter Jones!
When we achieved our investment in the Den, we had so many plans – we wanted to do at least 100 things but Peter made it very clear that the right strategy would be to pick 2 or 3 and do them really well. The first item on our agenda for change was the website, brand new this year and moved from a 12.8 second load time to 1.8 seconds. We’ve combined the drone hire wing of the business with the stock footage and we can now start to invite visitors to our super-fast online home.
Major Accounts Initiative
Appearing on one of the UK’s most watched television programs was bound to make an impact and today we are still receiving enquiries from large players looking for aerial solutions. Our network of CAA approved pilots means that we are well placed to meet their needs and actually provide work for our members who would never have been able to fulfill national contracts within the kinds of timescales and budgets that we are capable of. My personal thanks go to Drone Safe Register for designing the online solutions to facilitate our service delivery and bringing what just an idea a few months ago into reality.
So Happy Christmas…
I’d like to take this chance to wish all the members of our DSR family a very very happy Christmas and exciting 2019. I’m already looking forward to meeting and spending time with some of you at our exclusive Yuneec training day in January which will mark the start of a programme of events that I’m sure everyone will benefit from.
Next year, we will continue to work with the power of Peter Jones behind us to change the public’s perception of the drone industry as a whole. Especially in light of recent events, we will need to reassure the public that the technology is there to help them achieve their personal and business goals and that the industry has a fantastic future in the UK when they are used both safely and responsibly. With the support of DSR, we are sure that UAVs will continue to deliver benefits to businesses, consumers and the UK economy as a whole.
In summary, it’s been one hell of a year for DSR and I can’t wait to work towards the next stage!