Drone takes flight

Aerial Discovery

Kevin Cafferky says it’s an idea he’s been kicking around for three or four years, and recent concerns about logging in Roberts Creek gave him the final nudge into becoming custodian and operator of a community drone.

Within a few days of putting the idea out to some friends on Facebook, a little over $2,000 was raised – enough to buy a high tech drone with a video camera, and a sophisticated navigation system and even an extra battery and extended warranty.

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Cafferky, who’s always had an interest in technology and flying, said the drone is an elegant answer to the question of how to let more people experience the area’s parks and forests.

“How can we bring the people to the forest? That was very difficult, and very frustrating. So how to do we bring the forest to the people?”

Aerial Discovery in the air. - Sean Eckford Photo

He calls the drone Aerial Discovery, and the Facebook group of the same name set up to post videos and talk about where to fly has already drawn nearly 200 members.

“People are concerned and they want to take part, and this is a good way for them to take part.”

The first flights were over the logging sites off Lockyer Road in Roberts Creek, and Cafferky said safety, respect and not interfering are the watchwords when the drone is in the air.

“You’ve got to use your head. Safety is the main issue,” he said. “You can’t be disrespecting people, you’ve got to give them their space… Generally speaking you just have to fly with caution and don’t bother anybody when you’re up in the air.”

Although using it to survey logging was the original idea that spurred the effort to purchase the drone, Cafferky said he’s already looking at other areas of community interest, like filming at festivals and major events, and he recently did a flight over Gospel Rock in Gibsons.

“It’s a beautiful area and people want to see that,” he said. “I’ve had people interested in me taking it up around their properties. I’ve had interest from somebody at Search and Rescue.”

Cafferky says he wants to have a little fun with it. He encourages people to visit the Facebook group to offer suggestions.

You can hear our full interview with Kevin Cafferky on Episode 44.5 of the Coast Beat Podcast.

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