David Cole


Cole-David_FlyFreely_AU FlyFreely_AU

FlyFreely, Australia

Bio Data

Dr. David Cole is a certified engineer, business leader and entrepreneur. Upon completing his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and Doctor of Philosophy at James Cook University, David has been the Managing Director of several companies working across the mining, agriculture and technology sectors in Australia. Dr. Cole is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. After founding and successfully running a commercial RPAS service provider company David saw a gap in the marketplace for a service that enabled any organisation to start using RPAS themselves while giving regulators tools to manage the rapidly growing number of operators. From this idea FlyFreely was born. Dr. Cole has also been an activate participant in the innovation and startup community in Australia including graduating from a startup accelerator, raising capital and leading a not-for-profit that supports and mentors other startups in regional areas. He firmly believes in the give first principle and is constantly looking for opportunities to collaborate and partner with other like minded people and organisations.


Australia has a rich history in RPAS including forming the first dedicated RPAS regulations back in 2002. In this context FlyFreely has been a commercial drone RPAS operator and RPAS training organisation in Australia since 2013 before switching to focusing on building software tools for commercial operators and regulators in 2017. During this time we have seen the RPAS industry undergo very large changes which has challenged both regulators and operators alike. In this presentation we will share our experiences and observations from the commercial industry in Australia over the past 5 years. Particular focus will be paid to our RPAS training and commercial operation experience. This presentation will highlight our lessons learnt, examples of the unitended consequences decision can have on the industry as a whole along with suggestions on pitfalls to avoid as the industry in Europe grows. Finally, the presentation will conclude with an overview of the tools FlyFreely is building to help bridge the gap between commercial operators and regulators.

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