When David Creek saw a video on YouTube of a drone’s flight, he knew instantly what he wanted to do after retiring.
David is the owner of one of the most rapidly growing social media presences in Whitby, Delta Charlie Drones.
David, who worked for North Yorkshire County Council for 35 years, retired from his position as Highway Maintenance Manager in 2016.
“After I retired, it took me 12 months to find my feet, then I saw a video on YouTube. It was absolutely stunning.
“There was a drone pilot who was flying alongside and above a railroad, in and out of cattle trucks, even underneath the trains.
“I knew straight away that was something I wanted to do.”
With an engineering background and an interest in digital photography, it was a good choice for David.
“This is such a beautiful county,” he said. “I was brought up in Redcar so I know the area very well, plus working on the highways for so long gives you an excellent local knowledge.”
David has been instrumental in recording footage for the bid to redevelop Guisborough Town Hall and also contributed footage of Guisborough Priory to the North York Moors National Park’s impressive film at the Moors Centre in Danby.
After the drone incident at Gatwick, which brought the airport to a standstill, he is aware that there has been some bad press about the misuse of drones. However, he said commercial pilots take their position very seriously.
“Anyone can be a drone pilot but as soon as you make a commercial gain from it, you need a permission [currently issued by the Civil Aviation Authority].
“There are lots of rules and regulations covering drone flight, for example, you can’t fly higher than 400ft without specific permission, and you must keep a line of sight with your drone at all times, considered to be 500 metres. To put that in perspective, in Whitby that’s roughly from the Whale Bones to the Pier End.”
As a commercial drone pilot, David must also keep a log of his flights, perform a full risk assessment and obtain signatures from any landowners if he takes off from or lands on their property.
He also has to assess the location of things such as overhead cables, powerlines, public rights of way, horses and anywhere emitting high intensity radio signals such as RAF Fylingdales, as these may affect the flight of the drone.
At David’s initial meeting with a potential client, which he offers as a free consultation, he discusses what images are required and from what angles.
He has two drones he uses on a regular basis, a DJI Phantom 3 Pro and a DJI Mavic 2 Pro.
He says the Mavic can achieve around two hours’ flying time from the four batteries he carries with him before he needs to recharge.
The drones are state of the art and have onboard stabilisers which ensure the clarity of the shot, even in winds of up to 20mph.
David believes the quality of the images he is producing is one of the reasons he is seeing his pictures shared so widely on Facebook. His images have reached up to 72,000 users on posts on the New Whitby Facebook page and have been shared around the globe.
David’s own Facebook page, Delta Charlie Drones, has hundreds of followers and is increasing in number every week.
A new law to be introduced on November 30 requires that anyone who wishes to pilot a drone over 250g must register with the Civil Aviation Authority and pass an online test before doing so. Failure to comply with this law could result in a criminal conviction and a fine of up to £1,000. Find out more at www.caa.co.uk