When a tiny hobbyist drone revealed the damage inside Christchurch Cathedral just after the 2011 earthquake, little was known about how drones could emerge as a major commercial infrastructure inspection tool.
That potential is being tapped into by a fledgling Western Australian firm. Its founder, Chris Leslie began flying at age 15. He was too young to drive so his family drove him to the local airfield. At 24 he was one of the youngest commercial airline captains around, flying for Qantas subsidiary Network Aviation across WA.
By 25, he had enough and wanted out. “I got there (piloting) at such a young age through hard work and a bit of luck, but I realised I need to be challenged, I can’t be doing this for the next 40 years of my life. So I was looking around for opportunities, and I stumbled across the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) industry.”