All posts by Sally French

The first ever Drone Girl meetup is finally happening!

Hey Dronies!

Thank you so much for your loyal support and readership of The Drone Girl for nearly four years now! Wow! We’ve come so far.

Four years in, and I’m FINALLY hosting my first-ever Drone Girl meetup in San Francisco in partnership with Samsung NEXT and my friend Siggi Hindrichs, founder of Notifleet and entrepreneur-in-residence at Samsung NEXT Start.

RSVP here!

The event will be held on Thursday, March 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the Samsung NEXT Start offices at 201 Spear Street, San Francisco, CA.

You’ll hear three lightning talks by Bay Area drone experts Jessie Mooberry, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Stanford University’s Peace Innovation Lab and humanitarian UAV practitioner, and Gretchen West, Senior Advisor at Hogan Lovells, and Abbe Lyle, Creative Director and Pilot at Visual Law Group.
Plus, free food, courtesy of Samsung NEXT!

Continue reading The first ever Drone Girl meetup is finally happening!

See the 3rd Annual NYC Drone Film Festival nominees

You saw the best drone photos of 2016. Now get ready for the best drone videos of 2016.
Nominations have been announced for the 3rd Annual New York City Drone Film Festival, the world’s first and largest film festival dedicated to works filmed by drones.
“(The films) take us to far-away places, examine social issues like climate change and the Dakota Pipeline, and riff on pop culture,” said Randy Scott Slavin, founder and festival director. “One of them even features a team of drones making a cake. With films originating everywhere from the ocean to the desert to the skate park, the 2017 festival is our most diverse one yet.”

The festival will be held March 17-19, 2017 at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts and the Liberty Science Center.  The Best in Show winner at the 2017 New York City Drone Film Festival will receive $75,000 worth of camera and drone gear from Freefly and RED.

Here’s a list of the 2017 NYC Drone Film Festival nominees (some of which you may have seen at the Flying Robot International Film Festival in November 2016):

Drone Star Wars
Corridor Digital (USA)
The Mountain Within
Philippe Woodtli (Switzerland)
Yan Giroux (Canada)
Mixed Motion Project
Ilko Iliev and Marin Kafedjiiski (Bulgaria)
Caos en la ciudad
Roberto Hernández (Mexico)
Tim Sessler (USA)
#NoDAPL: Drones Monitor North Dakota Police
Shadi Rahimi (USA)
Manabi 7.8
Juan Fernando Rojas (Ecuador)
Beauty & Bounty
Doug Armknecht (USA)
An Aerial Perspective of Nordland
Michael Fletcher (Australia)
Jay Worsley (USA)
Caspar Mazzotti (Australia)
Frédéric Rousseau (France)
Eric Sterman (USA)
Cala d’en Serra – Drone Parkour
Giles Campbell Longley and Kie Willis (United Kingdom)
Doonies 3: A Drone’s Eye View
Jake Yubeta (USA)
Drone Free Style
Rafael Paiva (USA)
Stone Eagle’s Flight
Gabriel Kocher (Switzerland)
One Night in Atlanta
Johnny Schaer (USA)
Fresh Squeeze
Robert McIntosh (USA)
Joris Favraud (France)
David Etienne Durivage (Canada)
From Inside to Outside
Stephane Aboudaram (France)
Drone Cake Baking
Lucas Zanotto (Norway)
Light in Motion
Daniel Riley and Henning Sandstrom (USA)
Dron’t You Love Me?
Madeleine Dudley (Australia)
Cape Town Dronie
Matthew Wade (USA)
A Man (Almost Two) and a Dog
Mauro Pagliai (Italy)
Family Island
Florian Fischer (Germany)
Skynamic Pilot Reel 2017
Skynamic (Germany)
KopterCam 2017 Showreel
Koptercam (Finland)
ThisIsTilt Showreel 2017
Tilt (Norway)
Climate Change Claims a Lake and an Identity
Josh Haner/The New York Times (USA)
Kim on the Rocks
Karim Iliya (USA)
Lost in Foliage
Dirk Dallas (USA)
Sea and Salt
Wellington Rodrigues (Germany)
The Tree of Life
Michael Bishop (USA)
Drone Runner
Gerard Juarez (USA

Continue reading See the 3rd Annual NYC Drone Film Festival nominees

Here are your DJI Valentine’s Day drone deals

What better way to show someone you love them with a drone? (I’m totally serious *hint Mavic hint*.) DJI is throwing in a free box of chocolates with certain purchases to make the deal sweeter. Here are your DJI Valentine’s Day drone deals.

The following purchases made between now and Feb. 14, 2017 will land you with a free box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates:

For the record, DJI isn’t the only drone company that thinks its drones can help you fall in love. Parrot also launched a video suggesting its drones have romantic qualities too.

Drone Racing League announces its title sponsor is…an insurance company?

The Drone Racing League (DRL) today announced a multi-year partnership with insurance brand Allianz, which includes a new 2017 championship race called the Allianz World Championship series.

The race will consists of six elimination-style, FPV (first person view races) with 16 pilots, airing in more than 75 countries in June 2017.

The pilots in the race will fly through race courses around the U.S. and Europe using DRL’s custom-designed racing drones, which can fly at up to 90 mph. The courses will be located in Miami, New Orleans, Atlanta, Boston, Munich and London.

“To DRL, Allianz is bringing world-renowned brand credibility and a proud history of innovative sports partnerships, including an extensive tradition in auto racing, and an undeniable proof point that the sport of the future has arrived,” said DRL CEO and Founder, Nicholas Horbaczewski in a news release. “The scale and long-term nature of the deal shows Allianz’s genuine commitment to advancing the sport and will accelerate the introduction of drone racing to audiences around the world.”

It may seem like an odd partnership to match an insurance company with a drone racing company, but Allianz has a history of similar (though non-drone related) partnerships, including the Saracens rugby club and Lang Lang, one of my favorite pianists (One of Drone Girl’s other hobbies is playing piano!).

The partnership with Allianz also means races will be held at official Allianz venues, including Allianz branded stadiums and corporate facilities. It also means broadcast time, as the Allianz World Championship will air as 12 hour-long episodes.

Continue reading Drone Racing League announces its title sponsor is…an insurance company?

AES Corporation and Measure partner to make infrastructure inspections safer

Washington, D.C.-based startup Measure and Arlington-based power utility AES Corporation today announced a partnership to make energy infrastructure inspections safer using drones.

Measure operates as a drone service provider, having built out a national network of licensed pilots. The pilots are trained to  acquire, process, and deliver aerial data to enterprise customers for projects such as cell tower inspections, construction development, precision agriculture, disaster response and live media coverage.

Measure’s pilots flew more than 1,100 flights throughout 2016 — that’s about three flights a day.

With the AES Corp. partnership, drones will carry out infrastructure inspections in 17 countries, cutting out 30,000 hours of hazardous work per year by using drones to do inspections that humans would otherwise do.

AES Corp. provide low-cost sustainable energy to 17 countries through distribution businesses and thermal and renewable generation facilities.  AES Corp. generates $15 billion a year in sales powering homes.

Drones are increasingly being used for infrastructure inspections since they typically can be safer, easier, less time-consuming and lower cost than traditional applications. For example, inspection of power lines with drones does not require high-voltage power lines to be shut down, and drones can capture high resolution images from an optimum perspectives and transmit images in real time.

Measure CEO said that Measure uses a variety of hardware to do their work, ranging from higher end drones to DJI drones that you can purchase off the shelf, such as a DJI Inspire.

Earlier this year, Measure announced a $15 million Series B funding round with LionTree Advisors acting as the financial advisor. Measure’s last investment round was in September of 2015.



Hundreds of drones will fly in Lady Gaga’s FAA-approved halftime show

Some people watch the Super Bowl for the football. Many watch it for the commercials. As for me? I’ll be watching today for the drones.

Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show will feature hundreds — yes, hundreds — of lit-up drones, according to CNN.

People in the Houston area caught a glimpse of rehearsals earlier this week. Continue reading Hundreds of drones will fly in Lady Gaga’s FAA-approved halftime show

Where can I hire a licensed drone pilot?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about finding licensed drone pilots. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

Dear Drone Girl,

I was wondering if you knew of any resources in terms of finding licensed UAV pilots? I am looking to hire many throughout Orange County and wanted to start collecting resources.

Yes, there are! It really depends on the scope of what you are looking for and trying to hire.

Washington D.C.-based startup Measure flies drones as a service for other businesses that need drones to conduct operations such as inspections, mapping, or shooting videos. The company recently raised $15 million in a Series B funding round. (Measure’s pilots flew more than 1,100 flights throughout 2016 — that’s about three flights a day.)

Then, there are interesting companies like Skytango, which is a sort of “Uber for Drones.” The company was originally founded by 9-time Emmy Award-winning production team Steven Flynn and Susan Talbot, who lived in the U.S. but now live in Ireland. In 2014, they built an aerial stock library to service clients that needed a single aerial clip. The company has since grown into a larger drone pilot market place for booking specific aerial photography and videography jobs with pilots worldwide. Continue reading Where can I hire a licensed drone pilot?

How can I fly a drone in a National Park?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about flying in U.S. National Parks. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

Hi Drone Girl,

I had a quick question about shooting in certain areas of SF. I am trying to get some footage in the Presidio and will be renting a drone to shoot it. I noticed on some drone maps that the Presidio is off limits. Is there a workaround for shooting legally there? Is a permit necessary?


Hey Andy,

Great question! It’s complicated. To our non-San Franciscan readers, I’ll let you know that Presidio would be the most beautiful place to photography with a drone.

But unfortunately, the short answer is no, you cannot shoot in the Presidio with a drone. Continue reading How can I fly a drone in a National Park?