How long have you been flying drones and why did you get started?
I started flying drones in 2015. I started for a couple of reasons. One is I’ve been flying and building model airplanes since I was a young boy, so it seemed like a natural progression. The second reason I started flying was to offer more services to my clients. I specialized in architectural photography, so it was like getting my own helicopter!
What are the requirements for operating a drone above a school? Do you need a license or permit?
We are limited to where we fly based on air-traffic. We must get special permission to fly near airports or any special structures like military or prisons. We also must stay under 400ft. Professional drone pilots are required to have an FAA Part 107 UAS license.
What are some of the challenges you face when piloting a drone?
Safety is the number one concern. I don’t want to hurt anyone or anything! The drone I use is small and has guards around the propellors so it just bounces off anything it bumps into. Of course, weather is always a factor when we fly outside. Wind is not our friend!
- Limited air space
- Stay under 400 feet
- Pilot license required
From setup to finish, about how much time does it take to capture the footage you’re looking for?
It usually takes me about an hour to set up and fly three battery packs. I can usually get what I need within three flights but if I need to fly more that’s not a problem.
What types of videos would drone footage be useful for?
Marketing your facilities
Show kids and parents how cool your classrooms are.
Showcase your next event from a unique perspective.
Show the improvements you made to your facilities.
Travel along with the kids on their next field trip and show how fun it is.
Show what improvements need to be made.
Since starting at the ESD you’ve really put these skills to good use already. Which drone video is your favorite so far and why?
I really liked The PCIA video because it was cool to see what the kids were learning in robotics.