Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - AGENDA -

NIALL CAR­ROLL Drone op­er­a­tor, Dublin

He may ad­mit to not know­ing much about cricket but Niall Car­roll has been help­ing a po­ten­tial au­di­ence of half a bil­lion peo­ple in In­dia en­joy a T20 match in the hith­erto un­charted wa­ters of Ire­land. Car­roll is a drone op­er­a­tor — or pi­lot as those in the in­dus­try call the prac­tice — and he has been sup­ply­ing over­head shots for In­dian state tele­vi­sion’s cov­er­age of the na­tion’s en­coun­ters with Ire­land in Malahide this week.

“This weather has been ab­so­lutely per­fect for cricket,” he says, “and it’s also per­fect for drones. It’s very sea­sonal work and your ser­vices are far more in de­mand on cloud­less sunny days than they are when it’s over­cast which, un­for­tu­nately, hap­pens a lot in this coun­try.”

Car­roll got into the then em­bry­onic drone in­dus­try five years ago and hasn’t looked back. “It’s a mar­ket that’s taken off in a re­ally big way and there are all sorts of rea­sons why some­body may need drone footage. You’ve sport­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions, of course, but it’s also be­come very pop­u­lar for sur­vey­ing and con­struc­tion work. And the very best drone shots you can pro­vide hap­pen on clear, bright days. So when it’s sunny — as it has been for a few weeks now — we work from early in the morn­ing un­til last light. The idea is to max­imise the time you’re out there.” Car­roll says there’s far more to pro­fes­sional drone fly­ing than meets the eye. For a start, it’s es­sen­tial to get clear­ance from the Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity of Ire­land for cer­tain jobs. “And there are rules about where you can op­er­ate the drone and where it can go when peo­ple are around,” he says. “It’s not just a case of some­one turn­ing up with a drone and de­cid­ing they’ll fly it wher­ever they want.”

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