‘THE WEATHER HAS BEEN PERFECT FOR CRICKET — AND FOR DRONES’
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.”