a young Wexford man is reaching for the sky with his new cutting-edge business venture.
Páid Bates has just launched his aerial works company SkyPix, which enables him to fly drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) commercially.
'The industry is growing. There are lots of opportunities for it and any number of applications,' said Paid.
In the few weeks since he set up, Páid already has a client list including leading local auctioneers, a car hire company, hotels and a manufacturing company, and is in the process of showing some of the county's golf clubs just what it could add to their sport to have overhead HD images of their courses or even their golfers in action.
'We are fully qualified and insured UAV operators, licensed by the I.A.A. (Irish Aviation Authority) and hold an Aerial Works Permit to enable us to carry out aerial works commercially,' said Páid.
There are strict rules and controls over where and when commercial drones are allowed to fly, which are administered and enforced by the Irish Aviation Authority.
Prior to setting up SkyPix, Páid worked as a field service engineer with G-Tech for 14 years, but was left looking for pastures new when the company pulled out of Ireland.
'I needed to reskill and get an aviation license, which I did with iFly technology in Dublin, they helped me a lot,' he said.
The company trains would-be drone uav pilots at a ground school, provides flight instruction and and gives them practical flying instructions.
Páid said there are an estimated 6,000 drones flying in Ireland, only 80 of them in commercial operation.
The machine he operates, a DJI Phantom 3 Professional, provides a live HD view over distances of up to 2 km in real time. It has built-in fail-safes and returns to its take off point in the event that communications are lost, which is just as well given its cost of well over €1,000.
'I started trading at the start of September and have been quite busy doing events,' he said.
One of them was the recent Gerard Murphy Memorial Run in Ferns, which raised funds for Console. A DVD, containing drone footage of the event, is due to be released in time for Christmas.
Páid is currently showing local auctioneers and a caravan park just what a drone's-eye view of their properties can offer in the way of advertising and promotional videos.
One of Páid's latest ventures was taking aerial pictures of the opening night of the Wexford Festival Opera and the fireworks display, his company the first to get permission from the Irish Aviation Authority for a drone night flight.
Unlike hobby drones, which are normally restricted to their user's gardens, every flight Paid makes with the drone has to be fully risk assessed. Paid can be reached on on 087 290 8556 and has a webpage www.skypix.ie