Since the announcement that I was lucky enough to win the November Fly Icarus competition I have spent most of my time preparing for a busy festive period. I was lucky enough to get some time off work to visit family and friends before Xmas and used the time to meet up with fellow ICARUS ambassador Raymond Hosie who I have known for a number of years. We met in a local watering hole to discuss our plans moving forward, Raymond is already a very successful photographer and has produced some beautiful images and video of the local area. He has established himself as THE photographer/videographer in his neck of the woods and I was keen to get some pointers in how I should go about developing my photography and videography! Give his stuff a look at www.raymondhosiephotography.co.uk
Raymond had already booked himself on the first ICARUS course available in early January and I agreed that I would also try to get a place, two scots taking on the ‘auld enemy’ was surely better than one?! He had also booked a flight to Heathrow but didn’t have accommodation yet. We agreed that I would go away and try to get somewhere for us to stay for the duration of the course. I must be the only drone operator that is actually petrified of flying so I knew I would have to find an alternative way to get down to Oxford!
Christmas and New Year came and went and I settled on a Travelodge for Accommodation and had also decided to travel ‘down south’ by car.
A couple of days before the course the weather forecast was not looking good with a huge dumping of snow forecast to drop all over the UK. An alternative was needed. I quickly booked a train in the hope that travel would not be too disrupted. The snow came to nothing (UK weather forecasts are always so accurate) and I had to make a decision of whether or not I wanted to travel by train. If I took the train it would mean that I would need to get up at 6am to ensure I was able to get to AMP for the ICARUS starting time of 8.45am. If I took the car, wake up at 7.30am……decision made!!
The morning of ground school I was both excited and filled with trepidation. I knew the course would contain a lot of information and end in the dreaded ICARUS ground school test! It was great to meet fellow enthusiasts who would be taking part in the course all with different experiences and different SUAS systems. Tom, who would be our trainer for the course, made everyone feel at ease and delivered the course excellently. There were plenty of breaks throughout the day for participants to get to know each other and even for all of us to get a quick look at the new mavic pro (Thanks Jeff!)
The coursework covers many different topics associated with flying your SUAS including Air Law, Principles of Flight, Weather and the Operations manual. They even cover how to take care of your LiPo batteries and ensure maximum lifetime! It can be a lot to take in and remember however the ICARUS course provide you with additional materials to take home and have a look through to complement what you learn in the classroom. At the end of the second day we all sat down to sit the competence exam and I’m glad to say I PASSED!!!!!
Looking forward I need to now look at writing my operations manual and get practicing my ATTI flying for the subsequent flight exam. I am also meeting with Business Gateway to look at how I can develop my business plan so it’s looking like I will be a very busy boy.