Category Archives: News

Drone Wars – the best video you’ll ever see with a drone

This video has been out for almost a year, and I can’t believe I’m just NOW seeing it!

This is legit the best video I’ve seen with a drone. Not to mention, you need to watch until the end because there is some SERIOUS girl power happening there.

The film was shot by Devin Graham, a well-known videographer who goes by Devin Supertramp on YouTube.

The video features Parrot drones, including the Parrot Bebop and Parrot Minidrones (click the links to read my reviews).  Parrot is a French drone maker and the first to make a ready-to-fly drone — the AR.Drone back in 2010. It still remains the best-selling drone among drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds on average at major retailers Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy, according to JeeQ data.

The movie was filmed over 6 different nights  in 6K with the Red Dragon, edited and exported out in Adobe Premiere Creative Cloud, according to a post on Graham’s YouTube page.

It’s fun, makes great use of drones and of course, is all about girl power. Watch it!

Want more? Here’s the behind-the-scenes video.

Two new female-led communities for drone users launch

It has been a week since the launch of the Commercial Drone Alliance – the first industry-led non-profit for the working drones sector.

“It helps end users understand the value of drones,” said co-founder Gretchen West, who served for more than a decade as Executive Vice President of AUVSI and is now a Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation at Hogan Lovells. “A lot of end users have concerns over the ROI of the industry. There are a thousand things we have to do for mass adoption, and we just want to create that connection between the manufacturing communities with the end users.”

That community includes members like Cisco, AirMap and CNN.

The Commercial Drone Alliance is female-led and founded by West and Lisa Ellman.

“You are starting to see more women taking on leadership roles in the drone community,” West said. West led a discussion at AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL conference in New Orleans earlier this month about women in the industry. About 120 women and some men attended.

While the Commercial Drone Alliance focuses on law, perception, policy, development and innovation around drones, West and Ellman are working on a separate group targeted at promoting women in the commercial drone industry. Continue reading Two new female-led communities for drone users launch

Parrot offering up to $100 off its drones

130315951849Now through July 4, it’s “Flying Season” at Parrot. The maker of the AR.drone and now Bebop is offering up to $100 off its drones.

Here’s my review of the Bebop 2.

  • $30 off all Minidrones (new generation; except Rolling Spider and Jumping Sumo)
  • $50 off AR.Drone 2.0, Bebop, Bebop2, ‘Bebop drone + Skycontroller’, Skycontroller
  • $100 off ‘Bebop2 + Skycontroller Black Edition’

Pricing on some of the top products looks like this:

Bebop 2: $499 (normally $549)

Bebop2 + Skycontroller Black Edition: $699 (normally $799)

Airborne Minidrone: $69.99 (normally $99.99)


UPS is becoming a player in drone delivery. First stop: Rwanda

This is an excerpt of a piece written for Read the entire thing here.

United Parcel Service Inc. has for decades been the company that delivers packages to your doorstep with its signature brown trucks, but the company has quietly begun expanding into drone delivery.

The UPS Foundation announced Monday it has entered into a partnership with drone startup Zipline and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to deliver blood for transfusions by drone throughout Rwanda. UPS offered an $800,000 grant to kick off the deliveries._mg_0718_1024

While major corporations like and Domino’s Pizza  have theorized about drones delivering shoes and pizza to your doorstep, UPS has quietly been experimenting in the drone industry—and taking the humanitarian approach. UPS last April participated in a study with the American Red Cross on making deliveries to disaster areas. UPS’s Director of Autonomous Systems Jerome Ferguson, whose purview includes everything from delivery messaging to robotic technologies, has expressed a particular interest in drones.

Drone delivery of blood has the potential to be a life-saving technology, particularly in Rwanda, where roads often wash out and it can be impossible to quickly get medical supplies to more rural areas. A drone can carry just over 3 pounds of weight over a distance of 75 miles round-trip.

Read the rest of this story here._mg_0675_1024

Drone races are coming to NYC

You’ve seen drone races in stadiums and parking garages, but drones are about to race into the Big Apple.
The world’s first drone race to be set against the New York City skyline is happening on July 30 and 31. Dubbed The Liberty Cup, it will host 100 pilots who are competing for prizes.

drone race liberty cup fpv

Drone racing is a new sport in which pilots fly their drones at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour using first-person view (FPV) technology, enabling pilots and the audience to experience the flight of the drone firsthand, in real time, from the birdlike point of view of the drone. The two-day event, sponsored by the creators of the New York City Drone Film Festival, will also include demos on building drones and flight simulation

“Drone racing has similarities with other extreme sports but is a unique experience that almost defies categorization,” said race director Randy Scott Slavin, executive director of Yeah Drones and founder of the NYC Drone Film Festival. “Cars are bound by gravity so the tracks are two-dimensional. Drones don’t have that restriction, so The Liberty Cup will be less like NASCAR and more like a freewheeling rollercoaster ride in the sky.”

The races will be held at The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ.

The small FAA change that means more to me than anything

sally french stuart pallet

The FAA announced a change to one of its policies that means more to me than anything before.

It’s not a leak about the announcements expected to come in June about commercial operation of small UAVs. It’s not about geofencing, or air traffic control, or registration, or any of the topics that are hot in the drone news world or discussed on the stage at conferences.

It’s this: the FAA this week announced that in the very near future, it will start allowing students to operate UAS for educational and research purposes.

“As a result, schools and students will no longer need a Section 333 exemption or any other authorization to fly provided they follow the rules for model aircraft,” according to an FAA statement. “Faculty will be able to use drones in connection with helping their students with their courses.”

I first got into drones when I was a journalism student at the University of Missouri. I needed one more credit to graduate by May 2013, and there was basically one class that fit in my schedule — a brand, new class called Drone Journalism. I hastily signed up the first week of January 2013 with no idea what I was getting into, or what even a drone was. I was hooked. We explored the use cases for drones in journalism — documenting environmental changes, covering protests or getting a bird’s-eye view of natural disasters. We learned Continue reading The small FAA change that means more to me than anything

GoPro’s Karma is delayed, but CEO Nick Woodman has a consolation for you

This article was originally written for MarketWatch.

The launch of GoPro Inc.’s  drone is going to be delayed until the 2016 holiday season.

The drone, named “Karma,” was initially announced to be released in the first half of 2016. As part of an earnings report Thursday, though, the action-camera company said its highly anticipated flying robot won’t make the deadline it originally promised.

“As late as this week, we believed Karma’s launch was on schedule,” said Nick Woodman, founder and chief executive of GoPro.

“Karma’s features make it much more than a drone,” he added. “To give ourselves more time to fine-tune these features, we have made the difficult decision to push Karma’s launch to the holidays.”

The delay means Karma will have to push even harder to compete in a rapidly evolving consumer drone market. Two of China’s biggest drone makers, DJI and Yuneec, surprised consumers this year with highly advanced drones that have sense and avoid technology, making them nearly crash-proof. Smaller competitors like Autel and Parrot are also making names for themselves in an increasingly crowded consumer drone market.

3D Robotics, which offers the “Solo” drone that failed to compete with DJI and Yuneec’s new technology, cut an undisclosed number of staff earlier this year, according to internal emails obtained by MarketWatch.

“We made too many Solos, especially given how fast our competitors dropped prices and flooded the market,” 3DR President Jeevan Kalanithi wrote. Continue reading GoPro’s Karma is delayed, but CEO Nick Woodman has a consolation for you

Skytango features The Drone Girl in drone journalism expert roundup

Aerial video marketplace Skytango’s latest post focuses on drone journalism — and I was honored to be included in it!

Their post, titled “Opportunities and challenges in drone journalism” features  views from 14 “industry experts,” including Matthew Schroyer, founder of the Professional Society of Drone Journalists, Ben Kreimer, the beta fellow for BuzzFeed’s Open Lab Fellowship and Mickey Osterreicher, the General Counsel for the National Press Photographers’ Association.

Read the entire piece here.

Here’s what I told them:

Top 3 opportunities for drones in journalism:

The biggest opportunity is cost savings. It’s not uncommon to see a news helicopter photographing something like a fire or highway traffic from the air, but that can cost thousands of dollars per hour. A drone can get that same shot for a one-time fee of about a thousand dollars. Newsrooms are already tight on money, so this could be a huge money-saver. With that cost savings comes the ability to cover stories we wouldn’t cover otherwise because it would just be too difficult. In the future, we’ll see more parades, protests, natural disasters, etc. all documented via drone.

Top 3 challenges of drones in journalism: Continue reading Skytango features The Drone Girl in drone journalism expert roundup