South African technology support company weFix and training providers Drone Racing Africa (DRA) have partnered to launch a convenient, countrywide retail and after-sales support, repair and training network for the country’s drone flyers.
The partnership has been formed due to the fact that the local drone industry – in spite of its strong growth – has as yet not established a way to service and scale demand, with the connection between sales, training, regulatory compliance, repairs and accessory suppliers disparate.
Drone purchasers are also in need of repairs and accessories once they start flying. Propellers, camera and batteries are repeated items that need ongoing repair or backup.
“As two industry leaders, we are aligned in our view of safety and education on drones. Now we bring convenience and accessibility to the table nationally across 36 weFix stores,” said Alex Fourie, founder and CEO of weFix.
“Buying a DJI Mavic Pro, for example, is only part of the equation if you want to film wide angle, sports or extreme footage. Equally important is the after-market accessories that mount the camera and the technology support nationwide. And once drone enthusiasts have access to the equipment, they most importantly need to fly safe.”
While the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has published rules around the flying of drones, the vast majority of people are unaware of where they can fly their drone legally and of the various options for certification to fly.
The partnership’s combination of product and training attempts to change this.
“This is great news for the industry at large, which has previously been known for its diverse service providers. Now, together with DRA’s formal drone operating skills and weFix’s expert distribution of DJI drones, technical support and back-up, we can better uphold our responsibility to be safety first in a way that is accessible for customers at a national level,” said Simon Robinson, CEO of DRA.
“Simply put, drone enthusiasts can buy, train, certify, repair and enhance all under one roof across the country. The drone marketplace has been needing something like this since it started.”
Legally, new drone purchaser must understand the rules as set out by the SACAA, but at the point of purchase there is often insufficient education due to a lack of partnerships with certified operators. Robinson said the DRA provides a Junior Drone Racing Course for children from eight years old, as well as the more in-depth Drone Flying Competency Course for 14 year olds and upwards.
“Then 18-year olds can take their Remote Pilot License (RPL) to become a qualified commercial pilot, enabling them to earn an income from flying a drone. Internationally, whether you are starting out or are an expert pilot, ongoing education, compliance, and a proven technology support partner are the key success factors for all involved,” he said.