We had a chance to talk to Glen Lynch, the CEO of Volatus Aerospace. They are leaders in commercial drones and UAV technologies and provide integrated solutions for their clients all over the world. They cater to civil, government, and defence markets and offer services such as infrastructure inspection, mapping, and modelling.
Can you talk about your experience in aviation?
I’ve spent 40 years in aviation and aerospace. I’m a professional pilot by trade and hold both Canadian and American Airline Transport Pilot Licenses. I have extensive experience in commercial aircraft operations and 10 years of background in aerospace manufacturing. For the last 32 years, I’ve been operating aviation businesses in senior executive roles.
Your background is impressive, with lots of experience in aviation. How did your focus from manned aviation shift to drones?
Volatus continues to be involved in traditional commercial aviation. We have a jet charter business called Partner Jet, which maintains the licenses necessary for uncrewed cargo services, including the eventual operation of the 8,600 kg Natilus uncrewed cargo aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2025. We also have a company called Canadian Air National, which operates small aircraft for aerial pipeline inspections where we are introducing sensors, artificial intelligence, and ultimately drones. But quite simply, drones are the future. They are disrupting most areas of our life from public safety and infrastructure to logistics and warehouse management. Drones are more efficient, safer, and greener than traditional methods of data collection and they add value by providing more complete data and situational awareness.
I can see Volatus Aerospace does a lot. From Cargo Delivery Services to Defence. Just wondering how the company can provide solutions for multiple use cases?
Over the last 2 years, Volatus acquired 14 companies that had strategic locations and complementary capabilities to our existing business. We’ve retained 100% of the leadership, resulting in a diverse group of subject matter experts in most commercial verticals. By way of consolidation, each new addition brings strength to the rest of Volatus by sharing their knowledge and experience with the group. This has enabled us to expand in both scope and scale.
We also seek out subject matter experts to bring onto our team to address growing markets. For example, to build our capabilities in Public Safety, we added best-in-class products and hired several highly recognised drone professionals from long-standing careers in the Public Safety Sector. Similarly in defence, we hired Dean Attridge, a former Flight Lieutenant, and experienced Apache and MQ-9 pilot, to lead our industrial defence group along with Col. (ret’d) Michel Latouche, who oversees our contract ISR services (Task Force ISR) and Veteran training program (Task Force Drone). More recently Lt. Gen. (ret’d) The Hon. Andrew Leslie joined our Board of Directors. Volatus trains and employs many Veteran executives and pilots – it’s both good business and a real source of pride.
Volatus Aerospace has offices in Canada, America, South America, and Great Britain. Do you plan to expand your operation in Europe?
Definitely. We are actively seeking and exploring opportunities to leverage our experience in the Americas and learn from our European partners and associates.
Earlier this year we hired Volatus Vice President Steve Emerson, who is based in London, to lead our expansion in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Steve has extensive experience building and growing businesses in the drone and tech industries and working with clients to develop solutions for real-world challenges.
What would it be if you could send a message to the regulators? How can they enable further drone innovations?
Coming from conventional aviation I have a slightly different view than many in the drone industry. Regulators have a crucial role to play. Change on this scale and with so many stakeholders is complex and challenging. The process will never move as fast as an industry, or as fast as I would like for that matter, but I truly believe regulators are engaged and uncharacteristically nimble in their support. My message however would be to maintain a global focus, recognising that we are truly a global industry serving a global demand.
Glen Lynch is one of DroneTalks Aerial Cities board members. Aerial Cities is an exclusive, invitation-only event connecting decision-makers at the highest levels of European city governments and CAAs with C-level AAM and drone company executives. How will urban air mobility and advanced air operations be scaled in the future? These are some of the many topics that will be discussed in-depth with the relevant experts during the two-day event in November in Berne, Switzerland.
For more on Aerial Cities please click here!
Cedric is the Marketing Manager of DroneTalks and spent over 15 years building marketing strategies and partnerships internationally and locally. He produced and managed multiple podcast series, events, and campaigns focusing on drone technology and the ecosystem.