For Jackie Dujmovic, the career transition to drone operator was a no brainer.
After spending years working at sea in the international global maritime industry and following the birth of her first son, she came back to land seeking a new challenge.
‘I realised I needed a career change and knew drone technology was emerging and exciting and there was huge potential in it,’ Jackie says.
‘As I gained confidence in my drone flying skills, I got licensed which was really an empowering thing for me. I wanted to learn everything about the industry and becoming a commercial operator made me want to push the boundaries.
‘For me, the drone world offers a career in aviation, but I don’t necessarily have to be away from home or my family for days or weeks at a time like you do in manned aviation.’
Jackie is the director of Hover UAV and her company uses drones to deliver high-quality aerial imagery, research, video and data. The company began in 2015 and now has 18 staff.
‘We have been involved in a lot of conservation projects including all the initial shark surveillance trials for a few years and we’ve also done a lot with whale research including collecting the “snot” in whales,’ she says.
‘Initially, I was doing a lot of the flying myself and invented many of the products that are currently being used on our beaches such as the shark alarms.’
Hover UAV also run daily flight operations for Wing in the ACT and Queensland.
‘I actually contacted Wing because I wanted to work out how we could deliver lifesaving equipment such as defibrillators. Wing’s systems have already solved some of the problems we face in the drone world, like flying beyond visual line of sight in populous areas.’
Jackie’s big focus in the next few years is still drone delivery systems working with larger aircraft and helping solve problems for people entering that sector of the industry.
‘My advice to any new potential drone pilots out there is to take the Know Your Drone online quiz, download a CASA-verified app, but also download weather apps such as windy.com to make your flying life much easier,’ Jackie says.