Heliservices to launch sophisticated drone operations at about $7000 an hour

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DJI Matrice 100, one of the quadcopters operated by Heliservices

Heliservices, largely run by Sai Kung people, is about to launch drone operations for the first time. The last stage of approval by the Civil Aviation Department has been reached, according to Engin Turgut Piskin, manager of UAV operations.

Five of Heliservices senior people are Sai Kung residents: General manager and pilot Richard Boswell (Floral Villas), pilot Dominique Simoneau (Ta Ho Tun Road), pilot Giles Haybittle (Tai Mong Tsai), quality manager Graham Hamilton (O Tau) and maintenance manager Bobby Gimber (Tai Wan).

drone2Engin, a Turkish electronics expert, said Heliservices drones will soon by flying our skies providing a variety of services. They are four DJI quadcopters, models Matrice 100, Inspire 1 V1 and Phantom 2. Each will be operated by a crew of two: a pilot and an observer. They have about 40mins of endurance and range of 5km. Services offered will be aerial photography and filming and construction site and powerline inspection as well as 3D mapping. Engin said the cost per hour of hiring a drone and its crew will be about $7000. Packages will be available that include helicopters, MD902s, operating above 300ft and drones flying under that height.

Made by China’s DJI, the drones have stabilised video cameras with gimbal systems. They have guidance sensors, which make them hard to crash, Engin said.  They will back away from an obstacle. Constructed of carbon fibre, the drones can fly with customised payloads: cameras, sensors, computing boards and communication tools. They use GPS for satellite links, position holding and flight planning.

Engin, who is a software engineer by training, is also manager for helicopter simulator systems. He runs the MD902 simulator at the Peninsula Hotel.

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