Photo: Ben Lambert / Hearst Connecticut Media / Ben Lambert / Hearst Connecticut Media
TORRINGTON – The curious and enthusiastic came together in Torrington this week to learn about the possibilities of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones.
Attendees at The Warner Theatre learned about the regulations and safety requirements surrounding drones, the technology included in the latest models and some of the varying professional uses of the devices.
New Hartford resident Corey Morin, a licensed drone pilot, said the devices are now being used in a variety of professional capacities, including by photographers, real estate agents, farmers, law enforcement, construction companies and emergency responders.
Morin said he has used the drones to take aerial progress photos of job sites – dramatically decreasing the complexity and cost of doing so – and create 3D models at O&G. In the future, he’s hoping to put them to use for mapping as well. For his own business, he takes pictures – real estate, construction, etc.
Morin said he began to use drones in the last year, both as a hobby and in his professional life. He enjoyed RC devices as a child and became interested in UAVs as the technology made recent strides, he said.
Flying a drone allows him to survey the word around him from a new angle and embrace a new perspective on his passions.
“I love architecture. I love landscapes; I love landscape photography. I am blown away by the perspective you get at 300 feet. You get a completely different perspective at something you’ve looked at. You could have driven by it for 30 years, and then put a drone in the air, and looked down on it – completely different look,” said Morin. “I enjoy integrating it into construction, because that’s been my backbone for 22 years now. I enjoy engaging the kids too – it’s fun flying it. It is neat technology to fly around.”
Nina Anderson, a former pilot and Federal Aviation Administration seminar leader, also told attendees about the information needed to pass the FAA Part 107 Aeronautical Knowledge Test, how one becomes accredited to fly a drone.
For example, drone operators are not allowed to fly above 400 feet, unless surveying the top of a building. Drones cannot be flown over groups of people without a seldom-granted waiver from the FAA, and operators must keep their device within their line of sight, or of someone they’re working with.
Some in attendance already had their license, while others said they were considering it.
Steven Biella Jr., owner of Berlin Industries LLC., said he had picked up a drone for Christmas two years ago. He had a quick learning experience with the device – he took off in the house, and ended up drilling holes in the ceiling.
“I had no clue about it,” said Biella.
But he persevered and has been using drones for two years as a hobby, he said. In the future, he’s hoping to put the devices to use for his construction company, which would allow him to cut down on labor costs.
Drones also allowed him to pursue a dream, Jennie Scofield said. Biella had always wanted his pilot’s license.
The event was a joint offering from the Warner Theatre and the Entrepreneurial Center of Northwest Connecticut, part of Northwestern Connecticut Community College.
The Entreprenurial Center is considering offering a drone certification course in the future, according to NCCC Continuing Education Coordinator Jane Williams.
Reach Ben Lambert at firstname.lastname@example.org.