in Aerospace

NATS helps HWDT with drones for dolphins, whales and other porpoises

Posted 13 September 2017 · Add Comment

NATS has teamed up with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) to ensure the safe and successful use of drones while undertaking efforts to conserve whales, dolphins and porpoises in Hebridean waters.



Above: HDWT volunteers and NATS employees on board the charity’s research vessel Silurian.

The Trust may well be the first marine research organisation to use drones in the UK to aid the conservation of cetaceans (marine mammals) and as a supporter of responsible drone use, NATS wanted to help. As a provider of UK drone training courses for commercial drone pilots, NATS offered the charity complimentary places on a course so the drone pilots could be instructed to obtain the knowledge and confidence necessary to operate a drone safely and proficiently.

The NATS course outlined the knowledge and operating procedures needed to obtain CAA permission to operate the drone. Additional specific training on how to fly it in the challenging environments experienced at sea was also given. The electronics retailer, Maplin, also contributed a free drone for the charity to use, along with maintenance for the first year.

Andrew Uden, Maplin Technical Director, said: “We pride ourselves on being the UK’s responsible drone retailer and have an excellent relationship with NATS; we were therefore delighted to be able to support such a worthwhile initiative. Using our technical expertise, we were able to provide the perfect drone matching HWDT’s needs enabling them to simply and effectively monitor whales, dolphins and porpoises.”

The support from NATS and Maplin has enabled the Isle of Mull based charity to use drones on land or from the boat for their exploratory work. It will enable them to set up their proposed ‘Whale Trail’, which shows the best places on land around the Hebrides to see cetaceans, such as the resident pod of killer whales off the west coast. Their drone will also be used from the boat to fly over pods of whales and dolphins, filming them and creating records of particular species.

William Vine-Brown, Drone Training Specialist, said: “The work of the Trust is a great example of the positive impact drones can have. It’s extremely encouraging to see the proactive approach of the Trust in adopting such new technology and it’s important for us to know that we have given them proper training in how to use the drone safely and responsibly within the relevant legislation and licensing laws.“

Alison Lomax, HWDT Director, said: “We are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to become commercial drone operators, gaining an understanding of the theory as well as the technical. The drone we now have will help us to champion the area for responsible whale and dolphin watching, encouraging more people to visit the Hebrides and enjoy the marine wildlife found here.

"The ability to operate a drone safely and legally around protected wildlife is so important to our mission and we are delighted to be leading by example in this respect thanks to NATS and Maplin.”
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Space telescope tackles skills shortage

The skills gap in the UK has been delivered a fresh blow after a team of engineering students from Sheffield University - with a little help from Harmonic Drive UK - successfully launched a new solar telescope mounted on a high-altitude

SSTL ships CARBONITE-2 and Telesat's LEO-1 for PSLV launch

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has shipped two small satellites, CARBONITE-2 and LEO-1, to India in preparation for a late December launch on ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from the Sriharikota launch site.

Commsoft brings Titan Airways to OASES

Commsoft has welcomed the UK-based leasing and charter airline, Titan Airways, to the fast-growing global OASES community.

British Standard for information security risk revised

BSI, the business standards company, has revised its guidance standard for information security management systems, BS 7799-3 Guidelines for information security risk management.

Cobham Antenna approved for Inmarsat Global Xpress

Cobham SATCOM has received Inmarsat Type Approval for operation of its EXPLORER 8100GX one metre antenna system on the Global Xpress satellite network.

CAA opens consultation on airline assistance for people with hidden disabilities

The UK Civil Aviation Authority is consulting on a new regulatory framework, designed to ensure passengers with hidden disabilities get the assistance they need from airlines.

Aviation Africa SK18418
See us at
Aviation Africa BT18418FIL18 BT111017220718SMI NCWBT3110020218