Players in the local drone market are coming together to provide training, guidance and maintenance in this emerging industry.
Although drone sales have been explosive, to date the connection between sales, training and education, regulatory compliance, repairs and accessory suppliers has been disparate.
This has resulted in some drone enthusiasts falling short of the law, putting themselves and others at risk.
A new partnership between technology support company weFix and one of South Africa’s leading youth and adult training providers, Drone Racing Africa (DRA) will result in a countrywide retail and after-sales support, repair and training network for thousands of drone flyers.
Alex Fourie, founder and CEO of weFix, comments: “As two industry leaders, we are aligned in our view of safety and education on drones. Now we bring convenience and accessibility to the table nationally across 36 weFix stores.”
Drone purchasers are also in need of repairs and accessories once they start flying. Propellers, camera and batteries are repeated items that need ongoing repair or backup.
“Buying a DJI Mavic Pro, for example, is only part of the equation if you want to film wide angle, sports or extreme footage. Equally important is the after-market accessories that mount the camera and the technology support nationwide. And once drone enthusiasts have access to the equipment, they most importantly need to fly safe,” adds Fourie.
While the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has published rules around the flying of drones, many people are unaware of where they can fly their drone legally and of the various options for certification to fly.
Simon Robinson, CEO of DRA, says: “This partnership is great news for the industry at large, which has previously been known for its diverse service providers. Now, together with DRA’s formal drone operating skills and weFix’s expert distribution of DJI drones, technical support and back-up, we can better uphold our responsibility to be safety first in a way that is accessible for customers at a national level.
“Simply put, drone enthusiasts can buy, train, certify, repair and enhance all under one roof across the country. The drone marketplace has been needing something like this since it started.”
Law requires that drone purchasers understand the rules as set out by the SACAA, but at the point of purchase there is often insufficient education due to a lack of partnerships with certified operators.