Steve Flynn & Lynn Daly pose with a drone

Study launched with Dublin County Council & Smart Docklands in a bid to streamline drone operations in cities using the Skytango drone management platform.

Some time ago we embarked on a project with Dublin County Council and Smart Docklands in a bid to see if our drone management software platform could be used to aid the streamlining of drone operations within the city limits.  Today we announced the launch of that project which gained some momentum after the London Gatwick incidences. Until then, it was difficult to explain to the general public why drone operation compliance is so important and why everyone needs to be on the same page. The Gatwick incidences offered a real-life scenario that made the ‘why’ easier to explain. It doesn’t really matter for what purpose a drone is launched – filming, inspection, construction survey, delivery etc. What does matter is that it is launched safely, hazards are mitigated, rules are followed, privacy is addressed and we can trace who launched it!

The lack of this kind of transparency is the most important element holding back large scale development in the drone industry. As the public becomes more informed, they are going to demand answers in order to be comfortable with robots flying over their homes.

“Delighted to see the effort of DCC to engage with the community. I love the idea behind online permissions. A compliance tool that is evidence based is a great idea.”
Mark Prendergast (SafeDrone Academy)

Flying a drone commercially can be hard for many reasons. Not least of all is competing with operators and businesses who ignore rules and permit applications because they can. They know the rules aren’t stringently enforced because of lack of resources by the IAA or the Gardaí, so they undercut rates because they can cut corners.

Where’s the incentive to do it right?

This is the question we are working to address as drone use continues to grow.

Working with Dublin City Council and Smart Docklands we are embarking on a 4-month long project to see how we can connect drone pilots with the city managers who are tasked with managing drone operations over the public.

Earlier this year we invited a panel of industry experts to gather at Civic Offices, Wood Quay to discuss the problem and have since then worked with DCC to put a process in place. The panel consisted of:

The project will offer:

  • Streamlined hazard assessment generation process (via and conversion into a permit application to DCC via email.
  • The ability for a pilot to review assessments on-site and respond to city compliance requests within our mobile app.
  • Real-time notification of launch to interested stakeholders via the Skytango App.
  • City permits office can review pilot checklists, notes and hazard assessments through their portal and begin to understand better drone operations and efforts (this will help them make plans for what comes next with regard to drone ops within the city).
  • Take feedback on issues and pain points for drone pilots for future projects aiming to speed up permitting and potentially reduce fees or change the process completely.

In the short term, this project will not:

  • See a reduction in current fee structures.
  • See a significant reduction in the time it takes to process the permits.

Our project with DCC and Smart Docklands is designed to connect pilots using the Skytango drone management system directly with the city officials who issue drone permits. When DCC issues a drone permit, it’s not for airspace, but for launching and running a drone from city property like a footpath, quayside or road. They do this not only for safety reasons but because there are many organisations that might be impacted by a drone operation. On average, close to 3,000 different stakeholders need to be informed every time a permit is requested and before it is granted. This is why the process takes time. It is not because anybody is sitting on their laurels!

“It is badly needed and long overdue. We need clarity and understanding of each group’s priorities.”
Julie Garland (Thunder Tiger Aviation)

Our project is designed to streamline the application process for a pilot directly from their hazard assessment within the Skytango system and conversely allow city managers to see how the pilots are performing in the field.

The goals of our project are to explore the pain points for all parties, pilots and city officials alike, and come up with solutions that work. And as UTM and EASA regs come online over the next few years, our research will inform the best ways to reward pilots who follow the rules and embrace compliant drone operations. We believe this is the first and best step forward in the effort to incorporate drones into our communities.

At this time the study is restricted to those pilots with whom we have already engaged however, we plan to open up the list at a later date. If you are a licensed drone pilot and wish to participate, please email Steve Flynn at
with a subject heading of

Cover Photograph shows Steve Flynn (Skytango) and Lynn Daly (DCC Events) 2019

Colm O’Donnell | FlyRyte Drone Academy

FlyRyte Drone Academy LogoYear Founded: 2015
Phone: +353 (87) 1304092

With classes running in Dublin (Dun Laoghaire) and Galway (Spiddal), Flyryte offers a course that reflects the latest developments in the drone industry in terms of technology and safety standards. They also offer an interactive Online Drone Training module which allows students to sharpen their skills in drone flying. With over nine trainers with backgrounds in the defence forces, commercial aviation, FPV and media, there is something for everyone. FlyRyte also offers free resources on their site to help the pilot in their work. Gearoid O’Briain and Oisín McGrath are also the founders of DroneSar software platform for the Search & Rescue.

Mark Prendergast | Safedrone Academy
SafeDrone Academy Logo

Year Founded: June 2018
Phone: +353 (0) 87 0919600

Safedrone is owned and operated by Mark Prendergast, who has 20 years flying instruction experience in both the military and commercial flying. Mark is currently a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Airbus A330 pilot-instructor with Aer Lingus and is part of the Brussels-based European Cockpit Association (ECA) on their RPAS/Drone Working Group helping to shape the future of EASA’s European drone regulations.  He is also a current Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) RPAS / Drone examiner.

Julie Garland | Thunder Tiger Aviation
Thunder Tiger Aviation Training Logo

Year Founded: May 2017
Phone: 00353 (0) 86 275 3336

Specialising in drone training as well as training other companies to be certified instructors, Thunder Tiger ensure in association with the IAA  plan to ensure all future instructors will meet the required standard. This means a mandatory 40 hours of classroom tuition and a further 8 hours of additional flight training. Prerequisites include a minimum age (18yrs), a Pilot Competence Certificate and an SOP with a minimum of 15 hours drone flying.  Capt Judy Garland is the CEO of Thunder Tiger Aviation and the Chief Flying Instructor with Thunder Tiger Aviation Training. She has over 20 years experience in all aspects of aviation both manned and unmanned and is an IAA Authorised Examiner for all Drones.

Marc Geeson | RTE

RTE Logo Blue on White

Year Founded: June 1960
Phone: +353 (01) 208 3434

RTE is a semi-state company and the Irish national public service media station for Ireland. It produces content for television, radio and internet, in-house as well as commissioning from external production companies with funding from BAI through their Sound & Vision Fund and other agencies.  Marc is a producer for RTE who began his career as an in house editor for the organisation and has been tasked with putting procedures in place for the company with regard to gathering drone content.

Jason Rymer | John Paul Construction

John Paul Construction Diamond Shaped Logo

Year Founded: 1949
Phone: +353 (0) 1 215 6100

Originally founded by John Paul and Tommy Singleton in 1949, the company served the Irish construction market under their management until a company buy out by directors in 2001 saw the company grow and diversify. In 2010, they expanded their operations to the UK and Saudi Arabia with offices in London and Riyadh. Jason Rymer is the BIM manager at John Paul Construction, managing the implementation of BIM (Building Information Management) on projects and the implementation of digital innovation in construction with VDC, cloud documentation system (CDE) and field apps, all increasingly important in this regulated space with the introduction of ISO19650, the international standard for managing information over the whole life cycle of a built asset and the standardization of processes.

Wayne Floyd | Survey Instrument Services

SIS Gold Diamond Logo

Year Founded: September 1973
Phone: +353 (0)1 456 8650

Survey Instrument Services (SIS) has supplied services to the surveying and construction industries for over 45 years. They are the longest and main distributor of Leica Geosytems in Ireland and supply a full range of surveying equipment for civil engineering and construction projects. Recognising UAV’s as an important tool in the survey toolkit, they added 2 x Leica Aibots, 3 x DJI Enterprise drones and a Wincopter 178 to their fleet. Wayne Floyd joined their team in 2018 having spent some time working as the lead UAV operator with Murphy Surveys.

Fergal McCarthy | Drone Services Ireland

Drone Services Ireland Logo

Year Founded: December 2016
Phone: +353 87 2052331

Drone Services Ireland is located in Navan, Co. Meath, and offers a full range of UAV services including mapping, surveying, inspection, as well as video services. Holding an IAA SOP, they are also members of the UAAI (Unmanned Aerial Association Ireland) and CITA (Construction IT Alliance).

Eric Brennan | Gavin & Doherty 

Gavin&Doherty Logo

Year Founded: December 2016
Phone: +353 1 207 1000

Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions provide geotechnical solutions across a broad range of civil engineering services including infrastructure, offshore, structures and renewables. GDG is currently leading an EU-funded project to evaluate the potential deep geothermal resources in two European urban areas: Dublin and Vallès, Catalonia, Spain.  Eric is the CAD manager at GDG.

Steve Flynn | CEO Skytango

Skytango logo White text on blue background

Year Founded: August 2015
Phone: +353 (0) 87 3891307

In 2013, Steve Flynn and Susan Talbot founded Aerial FIlming Ireland targeting clients garnered from over 35 years in the media industry. They were one of the first commercial drone operators in Ireland, flying one of the country’s only heavylift rigs. In 2015, they hung up their copters and delved into the world of software development, using their experience in both the media industry and flying for customers, to develop a drone management platform that addressed the fundamental problems of flying drones commercially. In 2018, they worked with An Post to conduct the first autonomous parcel delivery in Ireland and are currently working with not only DCC and Smart Docklands on drone integration, but with NUI Galway, IAA and Vodafone on Ireland’s first fully autonomous delivery of medical supplies using Skytango as the drone management platform.
The current research study with DCC and Smart Docklands was instigated by Skytango in 2018.

Lynn Daly | Events Dublin City Council

Dublin Council Logo Blue on whiteWebsite:
Phone: +353 (0) 1 222 2242

The Events Team at Dublin County Council work to ensure that events delivered in Dublin City offer variety, deliver on fun and excitement and provide opportunities for everyone to enjoy and experience the City in a family-friendly inclusive and safe environment assisting with properly planned and managed events that range from filming and drone use to outdoor theatre and concerts. They aim to promote the use of public spaces through a year-round programme that brings social, cultural and economic benefits to the city and help to grow tourist and local visitor numbers. Their objective is to support events and activities that enhance the experience for residents, workers and visitors.

Taja Naidoo | Smart Docklands

Smart Docklands Logo Green on black

Dublin City Council (DCC) and Trinity College’s ‘CONNECT’ Centre spearheaded the creation of the ‘Smart Docklands’ initiative. Over 40,000 people work in this thriving business district, and it is home to 26,000 thousand residents as well as being home to many of the world’s leading global technology companies, who are ready and eager to make use of a world-class testbed in their backyard.  It’s objective is to unite SME’s, residents or local government officials who are facing challenges in our increasingly tech-driven world.  The Smart Docklands initiative connects these groups so that they can come up with innovative solutions, test them and improve them collaboratively. The Smart Docklands team also facilitates the deployment of prototypes of these solutions in the Docklands area, ensuring that these projects receive any assistance they may need from Dublin City Council. Taja Naidoo is the Docklands Innovation and Engagement Lead, supported by Micahel Guerin (Programme Manager), Edward Emmanuel (Project Management and Governance) and Jamie Cudden (Smart City Programme Manager – DCC).