A Q&A with Volatus Aerospace CEO Glen Lynch

A Q&A with Volatus Aerospace CEO Glen Lynch

By Scott Simmie, InDro Robotics

If you’re in Canada, odds are you’ve heard of Volatus Aerospace by now.

And that’s not surprising. The company has grown, and quickly, through a number of strategic mergers and acquisitions. As a result, it’s now offering a wide variety of drone services across multiple sectors – and in several countries.

That growth, and the selection of companies, have been highly strategic.

The companies Volatus has acquired are now part of The Volatus Aerospace Group. Collectively, they offer a broad swath of specialized drone services, ranging from industrial inspections, digital twins and heavy-lift capacity through to sales and one-off aerial photography and videography services. Plus, parent company Volatus is also in the game. It will soon be operating a manufacturing facility at the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport, producing two different UAVs. And it has ambitious plans in the heavy-lift drone cargo sector.

The company’s CEO is Glen Lynch, who enjoyed a long and successful career in the traditional aerospace world prior to entering the UAV space. Here’s a look at the firm’s overall offerings, taken from its website:

Drone Services

That’s a pretty ambitious palette. But Volatus has been very targeted in its acquisitions. It has focused on companies that were already specialists in their own respective niches. Pull them together under a single umbrella and you’ve got the makings of synergy – where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

You’ve also got the groundwork for “One-stop shopping” when it comes to drone service provision, and even the purchase of certain drones. It’s the only company in Canada we’re aware of that has taken this approach at scale. As a result, Volatus has quickly become a household name, at least in those Canadian households familiar with the UAV scene.

Before we get to our interview with Volatus CEO Glen Lynch, let’s find out more.

Drone Training

What’s under the hood?


Here’s a brief look at the companies within the Volatus portfolio.

Canadian UAV Services. The Ontario-based company has been in business for seven years (as of early 2022) and offers a number of services. They include: Inspection, surveys, GIS, aggregate mining data capture and more.

Connexicore. The Philadephia-based company offers a wide range of professional drone services. Connexicore operates somewhat like a hub, connecting jobs with its North American network of 1,000 freelance pilots. Those pilots fly with certification under the FAA’s Part 107.

M3 Drone Services. Based in Manitoba, M3 provides UAV services across a broad number of sectors, as well as training. The company offers its services Canada-wide.

OmniView Tech. This firm is the largest drone repair centre in Canada. The company distributes DJI products to retailers and sells them directly, as well as other drones and specialized sensors.

Skygate Videography. Located in Prince Edward Island, Skygate offers training, drone videography and inspection services.

UAViation Aerial Solutions. With offices in Vancouver and Edmonton, UAViation provides a range of aerial services, including photography, photogrammetry, LiDAR etc. Founded in 2015, its website says the firm has carried out some 4,000 flights, logging 1000+ flying hours in more than 500 locations.

MVT Geo-Solutions Inc. Volatus has announced an agreement to acquire the Quebec-based firm. According to a news release, its “services include data collection, processing, and analysis to a variety of industries including civil engineering, transport, hydrography, natural resource management, forestry, and public safety.”

And, finally…

Partner Jet/Volatus Aviation. This charter passenger jet and aircraft management firm is located at Pearson International Airport. It was the initial starting point for what has become the Volatus Aerospace Group. The company will also play a role in future Volatus plans, such as heavy lift cargo drones, some of which would require aircraft runways. The company owns and operates the Citation X jet seen below.


Glen Lynch, CEO

With all of that background, we’ll now hop into our Q&A with Glen Lynch, Volatus CEO.

Q: What’s the elevator pitch for Volatus?

A: To understand the company, you need to understand where we came from. It’s a company that kind of grew from the aviation industry. When we looked at the drone market, we realized there was an exploding opportunity – basically an industry that was rocketing out of a nascent phase – but there were no operators of any real scale. It was basically an industry that was being served by small businesses, with the exception of companies like InDro. Very capable small business, but small business nonetheless. That’s what we saw as being the opportunity.

So what we did was, basically accumulated a number of businesses through M&A (merger and acquisition) activities that had two characteristics: A strategic location and a complementary capability. And then we consolidated them using a roll-up strategy to create what’s now one of the larger fully-integrated drone services and drone technology companies. And that’s basically who we are. We cover now all of Canada, all of the United States, and we’re starting to have some penetration now in Latin America – we have an office in Bogota, an office in Lima Peru, and business activities as far south as Chile.

Q: The Volatus Aerospace Group holds a number of companies that are all specialists in specific areas. Could you provide more details about how you selected these companies?

A: Once you identify the first company – the principle of that company usually has other companies they’re interested in. So it becomes somewhat of a referral, because the relationships already exist. And the one thing that’s particularly core: When you have an M&A strategy that’s as active as ours, we need to be able to acquire companies and retain the leadership. One of the things I’m most proud of with Volatus is that we’ve retained 100 per cent of our leadership through the acquisitions – and that allows us to scale more rapidly. Well, to be able to retain leadership there has to be a cultural fit. Oftentimes, favourable referrals from people who are already fitting with the group almost becomes a natural screening process…

At the end of the day, we’re looking for good fits. And we’ve been really fortunate to find some really talented individuals that have built some really great companies and have shared the vision of Volatus and we’ve been able to entice them to join us.


Q: A little over a year ago, Volatus wasn’t exactly a household name. Now, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone in the drone world who hasn’t heard of you. How did you scale so quickly?

A: I would say that probably it’s something I’d love to take credit for. But the reality is, we have some really talented people, people like Rob Walker, who’s a well-educated, award-winning marketing professional. And we created an umbrella branding strategy, so at the end we’re pushing a common brand. We’re very careful not to lose the brand equity in our subordinate brands but we push out a single brand proposition, I would say, throughout the marketplace. And, again, it’s really driven by the people that become part of Volatus: They become proud of the brand, they become associated with the brand, and the brand naturally grows. On top of that we’ve hired a very large business development and sales team that work right now across Canada and the United States. And actually our office in Lima Peru has three business development people in that office as well. So we’re out there. We participate in a lot of trade shows. We spend a fair amount of money in marketing, but we try to be very, very balanced in our approach to investment and general brand awareness. And we really target places that we can generate revenues today. So we keep an eye on the blue sky, we prepare for the blue sky, but we very much focus on the places that we can actually achieve revenue activities in the near term.

 Q: You and your VP both have an extensive background in traditional aviation. What advantage does that give you in the drone world?

A: Luc Massé, who’s executive Vice-President, he was one of the driving forces in what is now one of largest aircraft companies in Canada. Funny enough, he was one of my competitors for many years in that space. But there are a few things, I guess. It helps us have a very comfortable awareness of the realities of operating in a regulated environment.

When we’re collecting data, that’s one type of service. When you’re carrying something that belongs to somebody else?  That becomes a cargo service. By definition that’s a commercial air service. So there’s a whole new range of requirements there, for example economic authority as well as just operating authority. As you know, InDro was one of the first companies to do this, they have a Canadian Transportation Agency Cargo License. And right now, to the best of my knowledge – I may be missing somebody – there are only three companies in Canada that actually hold that economic authority: (InDro), Drone Delivery Canada and ourselves at Volatus Aviation, which was formerly Partner Jet. So it really helps us position for the future, having that understanding of aviation, because largely on the cargo side, we kind of know where the industry is headed. There’s a convergence there, between manned and unmanned aircraft.


Q: Volatus is pretty diversified in the drone world. Is there a particular area you’re involved with that you’re most excited about for the future?

A: I would say our major areas of interest in 2022, other than continuing to scale our existing business..in terms of new growth areas it would perhaps be drone cargo activities. And drone cargo for Volatus means ship-to-shore, shore-to-ship, ship-to-ship, remote communities, inter-island type activities: Things that we can do either because they’re eligible under the current regulatory framewok, or actually they can build a risk profile that will allow us to get authorization to operate under special circumstances. So that’s a big area of focus for us this year, we’re putting a lot of investment – as you’ll see in the near future – in that space.

And the other one is in public safety. Drones as First Responders is becoming. a major thing; there’s literally tens of thousands of law enforcement agencies, let alone other public safety agencies like the emergency health response units,  firefighting, Search & Rescue, all of those sorts of things. So those are two big areas of focus for us in 2022.

Note: Soon after our interview, Volatus announced its intention to purchase a planned Natilus N3.8T Large Remotely Piloted Cargo Drone. The twin-engine turboprop blended-wing aircraft has a maximum gross takeoff weight of 8,618 kilograms (about 19,000 pounds) and is capable of carrying 3,855 kilograms of cargo (8,500 pounds). This machine, slated to be delivered in 2025, will obviously require traditional airport infrastructure and significant advances in Unmanned Traffic Management. There will also be some fairly high regulatory hurdles to be cleared in order to operate a vehicle of this scale.

“The recent amalgamation with Partner Jet Inc. gives us the commercial infrastructure to operate drone cargo services, and the addition of Natilus aircraft establishes the long-term direction for our aviation division,” said Lynch in this post announcing the news. Here’s the Natilus promotional video, which offers a CGI version of the planned craft:

Q: You were listed recently on the TSX (VOL). What does this listing mean for the Volatus group?

A: Getting to the public listing was one journey, but now the heavy lifting begins. If we handle ourselves correctly, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate good governance and a serious, solid, well-run corporation. So that’s up to us to deliver on that. But the second thing that it does, it gives us access to capital markets, which allows us to – especially as the company grows in value – allows us to access capital that will continue to allow us to grow through acquisitions or fund organic growth internally through ramp-up of inventory and those sorts of things. So that’s the primary objective is really to give us the mechanism to scale.

InDro’s take


Volatus has emerged quickly and appears to have significant momentum. In addition to its other operations, the company is currently setting up a large manufacturing facility at the Lake Simcoe Airport, where it will be producing two UAVS. Glen Lynch, as CEO, has both the business and traditional aviation background to guide the company as the industry moves toward the world of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), where new types of short-range aircraft will be sharing the skies with drones. We wish the Volatus team well.

InDro launches monthly newsletter

InDro launches monthly newsletter

A word (or two) from InDro Robotics


Welcome to the first in a new series of monthly newsletters from the InDro Robotics team!

These newsletters will cover the latest news from InDro Robotics – including the inside story from our R&D facilities (at least the stuff we can tell you about!).

First up? The big news: We have officially released the new InDro “Commander” – a module that vastly simplifies the challenges of building and customizing a teleoperated UGV. Commander is about the size of a small toaster oven. It bolts onto any platform and simply connects with two wires for power.

But don’t let that simplicity fool you: This is one mighty box, containing not only an NVIDIA processor for Edge computing, but high-speed USB ports for sensor management. Just as importantly, it contains the Robot Operating System (ROS) libraries required to make everything work together.

You might have seen our news release announcing the product. If not, here’s a teaser:

InDro Robotics

(You can find the entire release, which includes links to images, a video and a complete story on the product, right here.)

“The product also leads the way with a unique feature for developers: It is a platform agnostic solution – meaning that it can work with any platform that developers need,” explains Anthony Guolla, a robotics engineer specializing in Client Sales and Support. 

“Whether your platform of choice is AgileX Robotics or any other major provider, The InDro Commander has your hardware, computer, and integration covered. InDro and our partners have already taken large strides in deploying real-world solutions accelerated by Commander and we are excited to share it with the rest of the world in 2022!” 

InDro Commander

Commander and Sentinel


If you’ve had a chance to read the release, you’ll know Commander evolved organically from our own work designing robots for clients and for R&D. Every time we went to integrate sensors and make the robot operational, we were running into common but time-consuming steps: Finding power for the sensors, installing Robot Operating System (ROS) software, and generally making the whole package work. (Trust us, there are a *lot* of steps involved.) 

Commander has been designed to eliminate the painstaking stuff, allowing you to quickly add the sensors of your choice and operate the robot using our web-based console. 

It has also allowed us to rapidly iterate new machines, and we’re particularly proud of a Commander-powered robot we call “Sentinel.”


Inspections, simplified

Inspection Robot

Sentinel is a purpose-built inspection and surveillance robot, ideally suited to applications like electrical substations. These are the places where the high-voltage power carried by transmission lines is stepped-down for delivery from the substation to homes and other customers. Such facilities are often located in remote areas, difficult to reach for regular inspections by human beings.

“Right now, highly trained technicians make lengthy journeys between sites and frequently arrive without the proper resources to solve the problem on-hand,” explains InDro Account Executive Luke Corbeth.

“Seldom are these inspections, which include meter reading, temperature control and checking equipment conditions, done as frequently as they could be. Without sufficient maintenance, equipment will fail and result in an outage, which is financially detrimental to business and inconvenient for consumers.”

With Sentinel, regular inspections can be carried out remotely by a human operator who is hundreds, even thousands of kilometres away via the internet. Using Sentinel’s Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera (with 20x optical zoom and thermal sensor), the operator can check out even the tiniest detail from afar.

Check out this image, taken from the web-based Sentinel Console:

Inspection Robot

Potential clients who have been given a sneak preview are impressed.

“We’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response from partners and utility companies for this solution. As a result, we’re making it a priority to deploy more of this technology across North America in 2022,” says Corbeth.

Sentinel can be deployed on a number of platforms, depending on the terrain and user requirements. Our first Sentinel is based on the AgileX Bunker platform. We selected Bunker because it’s rugged and nearly impervious to inclement weather. The track-based locomotion system handles well in snow, mud and other challenging conditions and terrain. But Sentinel is also offered with wheels, and even quadripedal or other form factors.

If you’re interested in learning more about Sentinel’s capabilities, hit us up here.



InDro Robotics has long been a champion of quality instruction when it comes to drones. We believe in ensuring that prospective pilots have access to the very highest quality learning materials and methods, with Subject Matter Experts leading the way. We also believe in community, where those following a learning path can learn from, inspire, and support one another.

That’s why we’re particularly excited about an initiative we’re launching led by Kate Klassen. Kate, as you might already know, is a seasoned veteran of both crewed aviation and UAVs. She was a driving force behind the excellent educational work carried out by Coastal Drones – and is a member of the Canadian Drone Advisory Committee, also known as CanaDAC.

If you’re interested in obtaining your Remotely Piloted Aircraft Certificate, you can sign up here. (And, trust us on this, there’s much more to come!)

Drone Training

“I am so excited to be back in the instructor seat with new, up-to-date training to share with the industry,” says Klassen.

“Already this year we’ve launched ground school for basic pilots, updated our advanced ground school, have the first in a series of ‘Flyy Guides’ published and are creating a community space for more casual learning and sharing with others in the industry. And this is just us getting started!”

From the top

Finally, a word from CEO Philip Reece.

“This is going to be a very exciting year at InDro Robotics. Commander is a hugely innovative solution to the hard work of building robots – and end-users have already seen tremendous efficiencies. Sentinel takes full advantage of the Commander module, meaning clients now have access to a proven teleoperated inspection solution that can be quickly modified with additional sensors and capabilities down the road. I’m immensely proud of the work InDro’s engineers have put into these solutions.

Wait, there’s more!

“InDro is also pleased about Kate’s forthcoming community platform, which will complement our learning portal. She is a total professional, and the hard work she has been putting in reflects this. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say we look forward to formally unveiling the full platform shortly.”

Give us a shout

Questions? Comments? We’re always happy to answer queries and read feedback. Hit us up here.

If you enjoyed reading this InDro Robotics news and would like to receive these bulletins automatically, click here. (Don’t worry, we only send these once a month.)

InDro Robotics “Sentinel”

InDro Robotics “Sentinel”

By Scott Simmie, InDro Robotics

Imagine, for a moment, the challenges of owning and maintaining a remote asset. Further picture that it’s, say, an unstaffed electrical substation located some 800 kilometres from your base of operations. The area is prone to fog, rain and snow. To top things off, the last 200 kilometres consist of a washboard gravel road. There are no hotels or other accommodation nearby.

Keeping a watchful eye on such a facility poses challenges.


The old way…


Companies have traditionally relied on one of two methods – or a combination of both – to monitor remote assets. The most common solution has been to install security cameras and motion sensors and simply keep an eye on monitors. In addition, companies often dispatch employees for occasional inspections.

Unfortunately, fog and rain often mean the security cameras can’t get a clear picture. Even on a decent day, these cameras can’t get up close and personal to truly inspect the assets and determine whether maintenance might be required. Dispatching an employee costs time and money – and isn’t something you can afford to do on a frequent basis.

But you also can’t afford to to not know what’s happening. After all, it’s an expensive and critical asset. If only there was a way to have boots on the ground…without actually dispatching an employee.

It’s precisely this kind of scenario – as well as many others – that has led InDro Robotics to create a solution. It’s a ground-based, all-terrain/all-weather robot designed from the ground-up to allow easy monitoring anywhere, anytime – and all from the comfort of your base of operations.


InDro Robotics “Sentinel”


That’s it – right there in the picture below. Now let us tell you why we’re so excited about this product.


InDro Robotics Sentinel

A workhorse


Sentinel is built on the rugged AgileX Bunker platform. The weather-resistant Bunker has a range of 10 kilometres and can take on pretty much any terrain. Its track system features differential rotation, allowing the operator to get up close and personal with any asset – all without leaving the office.

But that’s just the beginning. Sentinel is packed with features that allow for easy collection of meaningful data, including:


  • 20x optical zoom for detailed inspection
  • Radiometric thermal imaging to detect anomalies
  • 4G/5G connectivity for remote teleoperation
  • Web-based console and cloud storage for operations and data

Sentinel is also simple to operate. Using an intuitive handheld controller, the operator has full control over Sentinel’s operations while watching a real-time live video stream from the robot’s RGB and thermal sensors. The display includes data on battery reserves, CPU usage, GPS location and more.

We’ve pulled together a brief video to give you a better sense of what it can do:

A deeper technical dive


What helps pull all of these abilities together is another InDro innovation. It’s a box that contains the brains and sensor/data interfaces that make Sentinel so easy to use. That box contains an onboard EDGE computing device utilizing a Jetson NVIDIA processor, and also the industry-standard Robot Operating System (ROS) software required for the various sensors. We call this solution InDro Commander, and you can read about it here.

You could think of Commander as kind of like a symphony conducter, bringing all the various elements together in a synergic fashion. And yes, there are plenty of key elements, including a wiper for the 20x optical camera – even a thermal defogging component for the lens.

All of this – and more – in a package that’s nearly impervious to the elements.

The robot, and its ‘doghouse’ are IP67 rated, meaning they’re protected from contact with harmful dust, sand, ice shards, hail, rain and water sprays,” explains InDro Account Executive Luke Corbeth.

“Once returning home, the ground vehicle comes in contact with the charging pad and is wirelessly fast charged. This means that Sentinel can withstand many environmental conditions with minimal maintenance required. With that said, should it need maintenance it has a modular design so unlike other UGVs, the brains are separate from the body. As a result, if a component malfunctions we can simply replace it with a new one and bring the damaged one in for repairs to reduce on-site downtime.”

The secure, browser-based operations console is a snap to learn and provides live data while Sentinel is being operated. Whether it’s monitoring for intruders or checking the temperature of assets for preventative maintenance, Sentinel has you covered. Check out the zoom capabilities in the screengrabs below: 

Inspection Robot
Inspection Robot

Sentinel is up for the task(s)

Though we’ve focussed on inspection – there are many different kinds of inspection for which Sentinel is well-suited. These include:

Operational rounds

Also known as preventative maintenance, these kind of inspections are designed to identify potential problems before they become serious. Here, both optical and thermal data can plan key roles. The ability to identify anomalies before they become problematic can be accomplished through regularly scheduled tasks and data analytics.

Emergency Response

Emergencies, by their very nature, are unpredictable. They tend to happen quickly and without warning. The ability to respond to emergencies depends both on a response plan and the ability to obtain situational awareness as rapidly as possible. Sentinel is built to withstand hazardous environments and provide treads on the ground immediately – regardless of how remote your operation is. (And yes, this robust device is also suitable for First Responders.)

Security monitoring

“Maintaining the security of critical infrastructure is vital to minimizing downtime, customer attrition, reputation loss and compliance costs,” explains InDro’s Luke Corbeth. 

Sentinel can not only keep a regular watchful eye using its RGB Tilt-Pan-Zoom camera, but also has the added benefit of radiometric thermal imaging. In this example, an intruder is quickly detected by their heat signature. And while this was shot during daylight hours, there’s no such thing as the “cover of night” when using thermal sensors:


Inspection Robot

Built for the future


While many users will want to dispatch Sentinel using a human operator, the robot can also be programmed for scheduled missions using a pre-planned path. Whether its once a week or twice a day, Sentinel can carry out these missions with no human intervention. And that’s just the beginning.

“With InDro Commander and the Jetson onboard, Sentinel has the ability to learn change detection and obstacle avoidance,” says InDro Robotics CEO Philip Reece. “And with the addition of a LiDAR sensor, this machine could even carry out SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) missions in unfamiliar environments.”

It also has some distinct advantages over a UAV, says Reece.

“Drones are great in certain situations, but regulatory permissions for Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations are not easy for companies to obtain. Sentinel does not require a permit and is easy to operate. Plus, with its optical zoom and thermal capabilities, this robot makes it simple to acquire detailed data of any asset visible from the ground.”

InDro Robotics is now taking orders for Sentinel – and even arranging remote “test-drives” for prospective clients. You can contact Luke Corbeth for more information here.