How did you get started in the drone industry?
Five years ago I decided to go commercial. I began flying for my first clients.
What type of training (formal or otherwise) did you get?
I trained on a realflight simulator and have a lifetime of RC experience.
What resources are you using to develop your skills and knowledge?
We have a user group where a lot of info is shared. YouTube is also helpful.
Learn to fly in manual mode.
What advice would you give to others who want to get started flying drones?
Learn to fly in manual mode. Contact an attorney to learn relevant laws and your potential civil and legal exposure. Don’t believe online interpretations of regulatory law.
Share an experience of a failure you had (a crash, equipment failure, etc.) and what you learned from it.
I have a perfect safety record, but here’s a funny story…
I was flying for the Republican National Committee at a Romney campaign event. I had been told how close to fly to the stage by the secret service. During the event, I asked the secret service agent (posted next to me) “if I go too close, who will they shoot first, me or my drone?” He lowered his dark glasses and said, “it will be synchronized”.
…we walked under the drone as we flew
to minimize the RF distance
How did you get the job to shoot indoors at the Chevrolet show? What type of drone and camera setup did you use? What are the challenges of shooting indoors and how did you overcome those challenges?
I got an email RFQ (request for quote) for the job so I bid and sent in my Insurance certificate, and I was hired. They wanted a canon 5D to match the ground footage they were getting, so we used a two-man rig. It is a scratch built X-8 Octocopter with a Ronin gimbal.
The challenges were the low ceiling, no GPS, and a Wi-Fi saturated environment. So we kind of ‘walked’ the drone around so our signal wouldn’t be stepped on by the routers. Also a preflight range test also showed we would be ok. When I say ‘walked’, I mean we walked under the drone as we flew to minimize the RF distance and reduce the chance of our signal being ‘stepped on’.
Where do you see drones and drone technology in the future? Give an example of a real-world application of drone technology that you envision.
We are working on a bird for first responders that will give near range situational awareness.
Is there an aspect of drones that you’re particularly interested in at the moment?
I’m interested in finding new uses. Someone is always thinking of something. I’m into the FPV racing too. We are promoting some regional races through meetup.com/detroitdrone
What was the best piece of advice ever given to you?
“Check yer prop nuts boy.” (With a southern accent)