- Meet heliguy™ instructor Martin Young, who spent a decade in the Royal Navy flying planes and helicopters, including the Merlin Mk3;
- He is also a qualified commercial drone pilot and operates a drone services company, covering jobs from aerial inspection to wedding photography;
- He has logged in excess of 500 flight hours with rotary and fixed-wing aircraft and his experience is particularly suited to drone training candidates who are starting their own business;
- His comprehensive CV makes him ideal to deliver the ecosystem of heliguy™ drone training courses, including GVC, A2 CofC, fixed-wing, and industry-specific training.
heliguy™ has further expanded its drone training team with the addition of Martin Young - a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot.
The 28-year-old also runs a successful drone services company, and has logged in excess of 500 flight hours of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.
This entrepreneurial experience is particularly suited to helping and advising candidates who are wanting to start or scale their commercial drone operations.
The heliguy™ drone training team now comprises eight members: Six in-house instructors, GIS specialist Ben Sangster who leads industry-specific drone surveying courses, and Complex OSC consultant, Josh.
We caught up with Martin to discuss his career in aviation and how this will benefit heliguy™ drone training candidates.
Q&A With Drone Pilot, Martin Young
Welcome to heliguy™, Martin. How does it feel to join the team?
Thank you. It's great to be part of such a dynamic and experienced training team which has taught over 3,000 candidates and delivered industry-specific training to the likes of Network Rail, National Grid, Phillips 66, and UK police forces.
The size of the heliguy™ training team shows the strength of the team and how much demand there is within the drone industry.
I hope my experience with manned and unmanned aviation will further enhance our provision to our candidates.
Having logged more than 500 flight hours of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft, I can confidently assist in our standard GVC and A2 CofC courses, as well as our fixed-wing module, and industry-specific training.
You join heliguy™ having left the Royal Navy. What did you do in the Forces?
I joined the Royal Navy at 18 - having always had a keen interest in aviation - and was there for nine-and-a-half years, flying planes and helicopters, such as the Merlin Mk3.
Getting my wings as a Fleet Air Arm Pilot was a huge honour and privilege, especially as it is known as one of the most demanding training programmes in aviation.
During my time in the Navy, I served in Albania, France, Italy and Japan, operating rotary and fixed-wing aircraft from ships and land bases.
Tasks included winching crew to and from the helicopter - including night missions - and carrying military vehicles below the aircraft. Operating the Merlin Mk3 brought with it huge responsibility: Looking out for the crew, the mission, and the aircraft.
It was certainly a challenging and demanding career, but it was extremely rewarding.
Interesting that you have a background in manned aviation. How do you feel you can translate these skills into drone training?
I think the core airmanship skills that I learnt from manned aviation can translate directly into unmanned aviation.
Having flown with the Royal Navy - as well as holding a Commercial Pilot Licence - I have a wide knowledge of regulations and airmanship.
I also have a detailed understanding of the airspace, which is particularly important in the relationship between drones and manned aviation, and how the two can work in harmony.
Operating in the Navy also helped me to develop an aptitude at altitude and I became a master of mission-focussed flying: Something which is essential for drone operators, especially enterprise pilots who are conducting oil and gas inspections or search and rescue operations.
Flying in the Navy also taught me to be prepared for the unpredictable, whether that was changing weather conditions, or flying over hostile territory. Expecting the unexpected and being able to think on your feet while mid-air is a crucial skill for drone operators to embrace.
I am the third member of the drone training team to come from a Forces background - following our Head of Training, Ben Shirley, and instructor Mark Blaney - and I understand from them that this military experience resonates with candidates, so I will be delighted to share my experiences.
You've built a wealth of experience in manned aviation. But you also specialise in drones, don't you.
I do. I actually started many years ago with RC helicopters. But I have built up this experience through my own drone services business, which I launched in 2019.
During this time, I have operated DJI drones such as the Mavic 2 and Inspire 2.
I have built up the business from just a single-man operation - to having a team of operators, covering jobs such as roof inspection, wedding photography, and everything in between.
As such, I am a former PfCO holder and have completed my GVC.
How important will this experience be for heliguy™ drone training candidates?
I think this experience will help our drone training candidates in numerous ways.
Firstly, I have a good grasp of DJI drones, having used them for many years, starting with the early edition Phantoms, and building through to the more recent enterprise aircraft.
Secondly, many of our drone training candidates are wanting an A2 CofC or GVC to help them start their own drone business, so I can use my experience of starting and scaling a drone venture to help them.
It's important to understand that a drone qualification is just the start. The hard work of building a business plan and a strategy is vital, and I am happy to advise where I can.
Having started your own drone business, what advice would you give to others wanting to pursue this?
I think the biggest advice is understanding which industry you want to be in and what you want to achieve.
It is also really important to choose the right drone partner: Not just for the initial training, but also for the longer-term support, because you will need it during the lifecycle of a drone business.
I found this out myself. I did my flight assessment with another provider and I received no support, which in turn led to problems further down the road.
That is the great thing about heliguy™: The constant support, not just from a training perspective, but also the wider heliguy™ model, which incorporates drone supply, repairs and consultancy, coupled with the honesty and integrity to inform and advise.
It would have made the early days of starting my drone business a lot easier if I had had a drone partner like heliguy™.
With your experience of DJI drones, what's your thoughts on how the industry has evolved over recent years?
The industry has evolved at an astonishing rate, it is remarkable. Nowadays, such high-level technology is available to almost anyone.
In turn, this ever-improving technology is leading to the rapid growth within the enterprise sector, helping professional users reduce cost, risk and time, while collecting accurate and reliable data.
This is also demonstrated by the heliguy™ drone training model, which not only delivers A2 CofC and GVC training, but also covers industry-specific and complex operations training, and our OSC consultancy. It truly shows how the enterprise industry is growing.