Flying high! Man to set up his own airline to get aerial photography business off the ground

A shot from the drone.
A shot from the drone.

An Algarkirk man is in the process of creating his own airline - in a bid to get his new business venture off the ground.

Although there’s no need for entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and Stelios to worry about the competition just yet, Stuart Palmeris simply hoping to turn his hobby into a career.

Stuart Palmer and a shot taken by the drone.

Stuart Palmer and a shot taken by the drone.

The retired policeman enjoys few things more than going out with his quad copter, a 450mmx450mm radio-controlled drone.

And with a Go-Pro camera and small video camera connected to the craft, he is able to capture images normally only the birds can enjoy.

Stuart, 58, believes his hobby now has the scope to become a successful career path.

Whether it be aerial shots for estate agents, helping churches identify areas of lead theft or covering sports events, he believes a drone could be more cost effective than hiring a light aircraft or scaffolding.

But there’s one problem: to fly his drone or a larger version for commercial reasons, he must gain approval from the Civil Aviation Authority.

“Essentially, I have to start my own airline,” said Stuart, who is working on the 50-60-page operating manual for his new business.

But on top of this, his quad copter must earn its certificate of ‘airworthyness’ and be given it’s own operating number - the same process that a jumbo jet has to go through.

Then comes the flight test and exams on air law.

“Perhaps I’ll call the company EasyDrone,” jokes Stuart, who first fell in love with aerial photography when skydiving.

He has since earned his pilot’s licence.

“The drone fills the gap between aerial photography and ground photography,” continued Stuart.

“During the Yokohama Triathlon, they were using drones to fly above the competitors, filming them.

“It’s definitely the future.”

It was while on a shopping trip with his girlfriend that Stuart’s love affair first began.

Walking into a gadget shop by accident, he ended up buying a radio-controlled helicopter to fly around the living room.

He soon got bored and bought a larger craft to fly outside, the drone being the natural progression.

Now, he says the drone travels with the couple on most of their days out.

“It’s the fourth thing in our relationship,” he said with a smile. “After the dog.”

Stuart Palmer’s quad copter may have the appearance of a high-end piece of Meccano, but it’s capabilities are quite extraordinary.

Four propellers, one on each arm, lift it from the ground.

Even in heavy winds, they can adjust themselves to keep the craft flying in just the right spot to capture the perfect shot.

“I can just set it to stay where it is and go off an have a cup of tea without any worry,” Stuart told The Standard.

GPS capabilities link the drone to six satellites, meaning that if the controller was to lose his quad copter, he could simply hit a switch and see the craft return itself to the very spot it took off from.

Fastened to Stuart’s drone is a Go-Pro camera, equipment originally developed for surfers to capture their action.

They have since been used by teams such as the BBC’s Top Gear, to film interior action of moving vehicles.

And for the man or woman on the ground, FPV (First Person View) goggles mean you can control your drone as if you were in a cockpit of a plane, making capturing your shot that whole lot easier.

Fancy one yourself?

Well, the whole kit - assembled by Stuart himself - would add up to approximately £1,500.