Featured Member – Vic Kirby – All Drone Services
This month’s featured DSR member is Vic Kirby – the first DSR member to be actually featured twice in a newsletter because of his recent contact with Baroness Sugg.
He started his drone business, All Drone Services, in the first quarter of 2018 to run alongside his full time employment in the IT field. However, he’s always had flying in his life from more than a decade in the RAF, through to his role as team manager for the NEXXBlades FPV drone racing team. This love of flying combined with a strong interest in photography made beginning a business as a commercial drone operator a perfect choice.
All Drone Services is currently running with Vic as the sole operator but his ambitions don’t stop there. In fact, he’s already looking forward to being able to hire staff and envisions growing his company to a close knit team of five operators working form the foundation of a strong customer base and specialising in construction and sporting event coverage.
He acknowledges that finding your way as a business in such a fledgling industry does present challenges. He believes there are several keys to success. Firstly, making sure you carve out a niche or USP for yourself rather than trying to be all things to all people. Secondly staying on top of the fast moving technology developments to make sure you are ahead of the game.
Vic does acknowledge that an industry in its infancy and so beset by negative press coverage, and rogue operators does need to maintain high standards. However he feels that drone pilots are expected to bear the burden of an unreasonable level of documentation when compared to other airspace users.
He’s looking to a future where the industry is supported rather than stifled in order that it can reach its full potential, which he feels is huge.He sees a great amount of opportunity for the UK to lead the world in the deployment of drone solutions and believes that the area of inspection will be key given the high costs of traditional methods.
The industry is already earmarked for a change with the forthcoming legislation with regard to UAV registration but Vic would like to see this extended with electronic transponders being fitted to each craft. Many legal commercial operators would support tougher measures being taken against those who operate outside the law and Vic would certainly agree here – in fact he sees irresponsible and dangerous use of drone by a tiny minority as the biggest threat to the industry as a whole.
In terms of his experience with DSR, which he joined almost as soon as he received his PfCO, he’s largely positive. In fact he cites the founder, Mark Boyt, as someone who as personally inspired him with his determination and perseverance. He’d like to see a future where DSR have expanded to become the ‘go-to’ voice of the commercial operator in the press as well as with industry stakeholders. Of course, he acknowledges that change takes time and resources but, as his letter to the transport minister demonstrations, he’s happy to work alongside DSR to create a more forgiving landscape ad a brighter future for drone pilots everywhere.