Home

Catchment council drone plan takes off

Headshot of Michael Philipps
Michael PhilippsSouth Western Times
South West Catchment Council chief executive officer Steve Ewings says drone technology will be a game changer.
Camera IconSouth West Catchment Council chief executive officer Steve Ewings says drone technology will be a game changer.

The South West Catchment Council is Australia’s first regional Natural Resource Management organisation to be awarded a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Remote Operator’s Certificate by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, according to new chief executive officer Steve Ewings.

SWCC was issued with its certificate this month under Section 101.335 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998.

It gives SWCC authority to fly drones, for commercial or business purposes, and puts the organisation in the pilot’s seat to respond to soaring demand for professional, drone operation services across the South West.

Mr Ewings, who is also the council’s chief pilot, said the organisation was gearing-up to provide multi-spectral agricultural imaging, as well as thermal and survey-grade aerial services to local government and private industry.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.

READ NOW

SWCC is using drones to monitor areas of rehabilitated vegetation and capture images and videos to document changes in the local landscape due to environmental management practices.

“We are also working with Western Dairy to evidence results of their pasture trials in Dardanup and Boyanup,” Mr Ewings said.

“Looking forward, we are excited about the opportunity to work with organisations who are ready to change the way they do business.”

He described drone technology as a ‘highly-innovative, game changer’ for sustainable agriculture and environmental management.

“Drones will play an important role in precision agriculture and could be a critical component of food security into the future,” he said. “They will also become a significant addition to the environmental conservation toolbox.”

As SWCC’s chief pilot, with a commercial Remote Pilot Licence, Mr Ewings is authorised to fly drones with a take-off weight of more than 2kg.

SWCC also has two specially-trained, in-house pilots authorised to fly drones with a take-off weight under 2kg. Both pilots are set to undertake further training over coming months.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails