Drones sent in to 'hard to reach spots'

By Laura Mills of the Greymouth Star

Jason Blair and Dave Kwant'd drone was on show at a Minerals West Coast forum at Shantytown. Photo / Greymouth Star
Jason Blair and Dave Kwant'd drone was on show at a Minerals West Coast forum at Shantytown. Photo / Greymouth Star

There is a strange buzz overhead as 220 people stop, pause, look up - and wave.

Overhead flies a state of the art drone, providing bird's eye photography of the delegates assembled for the Minerals West Coast forum at Shantytown, near Greymouth.

West Coast men Jason Blair and Dave Kwant, who individually have their own photography and film businesses, joined forces to create their kitset drone, in what is the ultimate boy's toy. The drone (real name Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or UAV) is made up of a flight control system from Germany, and other parts from the United States.

It has two remote controls, and goggles so one user can see exactly what the camera is focused on.

It is perfect for jobs where a helicopter is not warranted, but a step ladder will not quite suffice.

The pair specialise in low-level aerial video and photography. The high resolution images can be used to create surface models, inspect difficult to reach or dangerous structures, locate boundaries and get to those hard-to-reach spots.

"It's been a steep learning curve,'' Mr Kwant said.

But they have already got work, including an aerial film of the Brunner Mine site for the Department of Conservation, and at the mining forum there was a steady stream of interested people.

- APNZ

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