UK first for RaceTech Drone

RaceTech, whose innovative technical solutions have served the racing Industry since 1946, continues to lead the field in sports broadcasting  by adopting the ‘as low as reasonably possible’ risk management systems of the airline industry, becoming the first company in the United Kingdom to have its aerial camera system independently audited by SGS Aviation.

Having a Basic Compliance Verification(BCV) Certificate endorses RaceTech’s commitment to safety in all aspects of the operation of its drone camera system which has undergone extensive testing at racecourses in the UK during the past 12 months.

During the certification process RaceTech has satisfied all requirements in respect of safety and reliability, meeting stringent aviation regulations, standards and legislation and ensuring the use of the RaceTech drone during live horseracing and on racecourses is as safe as possible.

Brad Higgins, RaceTech’s CEO said “There is no doubt that innovation often carries a certain amount of risk and it was very important to us to be sure that we have satisfied all the criteria necessary to make our system as safe and reliable as it can possibly be.’

Higgins continued ‘I am delighted that RaceTech is the first to have achieved this standard.  I am sure that the growing popularity in remote aerial camera systems means that drones will become a familiar sight at many great sporting and social events.  We are very pleased to be able to add this exciting innovation to our portfolio of services to the British horseracing industry.”

The RaceTech Drone is all about bringing the very latest technologies in outside broadcast for the benefit of sport. The goal is to show viewers what is possible, and constantly push the boundaries of utilising technology for entertainment and enjoyment.

RaceTech’s Drone Camera can be viewed in action at http://drone.racetech.co.uk/

For more information about safety standards and process: http://www.sgs.com/en/Aviation/Aviation-Management-and-Flight-Operations-Services/Remotely-Piloted-Aircraft-Systems-RPAS-Services.aspx

ENDS.

Further information:

Catherine Pullan, RaceTech, 0208 947 3333 / 07976 432271

Philip Brannan, Sportsguide Limited, 01189 341 280 / 07774 964119

About RaceTech

RaceTech is the leading technical facilities company providing innovative solutions to the horse racing industry since 1946.

RaceTech first developed photofinish technology in the 1940s and is still dedicated to providing leading edge technology for raceday solutions including the operation and maintenance of audio visual systems, closed circuit television, public address and radio communications. Its Outside Broadcast Units supply pictures for terrestrial and satellite broadcast, and provide coverage for every horse race run in Britain for the sport’s integrity service. In addition, the company pioneered the introduction of starting stalls to Flat racing in the United Kingdom and continues to provide and operate stalls in the UK and overseas. Recent innovations include a multimillion pound investment in HD technology and sponsorship of pony racing to encourage young people in the sport.

For more information, go to www.racetech.co.uk

Safety First…

Three Racetech Drone operators and RaceTech’s Safety Manager Andy Peverell recently attended a training course in the operation of drones in safety critical environments.

The course is operated by SGS Aviation – http://www.sgs.com/en/Aviation/Aviation-Management-and-Flight-Operations-Services/Remotely-Piloted-Aircraft-Systems-RPAS-Services.aspx one of the worlds leading aviation safety companies.

RaceTech recognise that in order for this technology to become widely accepted in such areas, the industry must adopt the practices and experiences of the airline industry.

Triathlon

RaceTech had great fun assisting some QEHS students produce a video of the Hexham Junior Triathlon. It was an opportunity to put our Movi10 through it’s paces without having to run about ourselves! See their video here

The Movi10 will carry a variety of cameras from the Panasonic GH4 up to a Sony F700. Originally purchased to stabilise a broadcast camera carried by the RaceTech drone system, this exercise further displayed the versatility of the system.  Our thanks to One Life Racing and Wentworth Leisure Centre.

RaceTech and the drone

A year ago, it was decided that as the UKs foremost supplier of Horseracing television pictures, we should investigate the unique camera angles available by using Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems aka Drones.

An existing model aircraft pilot and instructor, Clive Matthews takes up the story;

‘This is an area of unbelievable growth in technology and ongoing regulation. In order to achieve this safely and legally, RaceTech embarked upon extensive testing and training. Two ‘Pilots’ were selected and put through a very intensive training course and exam. This passed, they then had to prove to the CAA that they could not only fly the systems but do so in a safe and legal manner as well as dealing with any emergency situation that could befall them. Both myself and Matt Oakes have now qualified as Commercial RPAS pilots.’

The selection of the platform was also an area which could not be rushed. It was envisaged that both a broadcast television camera would be carried as well as live links allowing the pictures to be transmitted live by our customers. We would also need good duration, at least 15 minutes as well as the safety of redundancy. To this end, a custom built Ikarus from Heliguy, a specialist firm in the North East was selected. This platform combines the best of the industry standard Cinestar 8, with UK led developments in technology. With 8 rotors and 2 separate batteries, a single failure is less likely to ‘down’ the aircraft. Also, with up to 30 minutes duration, we are able to operate to 15 minutes with a very comfortable safety margin.

The CAA requires much more than a trained pilot and a suitable aircraft however. They need to see how RaceTech will operate safely and legally. To this end they require an Operations Manual and Flight Reference Cards for each aircraft flown. Clive’s experience in remote piloting and instruction made him the ideal candidate to create a safe method of operating the Heliguy Ikarus. After numerous flights and tests, the Operations Manual and FRCs were submitted to the CAA. RaceTech decided early on that in order to operate during horse racing, two pilots would be needed. One to fly the aircraft and one to observe people, horses and other air users. Happily, the CAA agreed with us, and accepted our Operating Procedures, granting us permission to operate commercially in the UK.

Testing has now taken place with racehorses and during racing numerous times. RaceTech are delighted that this has been achieved with little interest from horses and no distress has been seen. We will however continue with our observer in order to monitor this. Any sign of problems, and safety comes first, the drone moves away.

We are expecting full BHA approval of our system and hope to contribute new and exciting racing pictures to our customers very soon.