When a herd of cows mysteriously disappeared the quickest way to find them was to try to spot them from a bird’s-eye view.
So the worried farmer turned to newly qualified drone pilot John Allcock to find the missing 100-strong herd. After all, every second was vital, especially if they had wandered onto roads.
John’s drone discovered that some of the inquisitive beasts had meandered into a neighboring farmer’s fields while two were discovered stuck in a brook and had to be rescued. Five were never found and it’s thought they had been stolen.
John, 34, of Crewe in Cheshire, has recently formed his own company Aerial Blue Sky Productions after completing his commercial drone flying qualification with leading UK drone training company Flyby Technology.
He now also helps a roofer do close-up, high resolution filmed assessments of house and business roofs which saves time and money for both the roofer and some of his customers.
John said: “It can save hundreds of pounds in scaffolding and means the roofer’s customer can clearly see the evidence of the problem which he can explain fully to them and advise them what needs doing to repair it.
“With one lady, the drone showed little wrong with the roof even though another roofer had said it needed thousands of pounds of repair work. My roofer could see only a couple of tiles needed replacing which he did and saved her an absolute fortune. Drones can bring such clarity to things people usually find impossible to see.
“It’s great that the drone’s cameras can zoom right in which means the drone can be kept a safe distance from the buildings at all times. It can even pick out the smallest of cracks in tiles.”
John – who began flying model aircraft when he was eight and drones since 2012 – used to be chef but now has a young daughter so wanted a job without the long and unsocial hours which is why he set up his drone business.
The cows round-up and roof assessments are just a couple of ways that drones are used as a force for good … and here’s a few more examples how drones can save lives and money while providing vital services.
They are used by the emergency services for search and rescue to go along river banks or up into rocky crags and cliff faces looking for missing people; by oil and gas companies to survey their rigs at sea; by geologists monitoring active volcanoes; monitoring wildlife in vast, open spaces and watching out for poachers; analysing major construction projects from the air; by estate agents to capture amazing images of high value property for sale and tiny drones can even film 360 degree walk-throughs inside; inspecting power lines and power pylons for bird’s nests, lightning strikes, rust/corrosion and damaged bolts; inspecting bridges and other high structures that are incredibly difficult to reach; the film industry is saving a fortune by using drones instead of helicopters for aerial shots; video and photos taken by drones operated by news organisations adds massively to the way stories are reported and far more cheaply and safely than hiring helicopters; security companies use drones for large, sprawling sites and they can stream live pictures if an alarm is triggered.