Join me and “Space Gal” Emily Calandrelli for a workshop on media and branding in San Francisco

Hey Bay Area!

Right on the heels of my Intel light show event in partnership with Samsung NEXT and under the guise of the “Girls Who Drone” group, I’ve got another event coming up in San Francisco!

Join me and Emily Calandrelli, aka the Space Gal, for a night of learning about the STEM industry, media, self-branding, and more.

The event is being held on behalf of the Bay Area Women in Space and Aerospace group, and will be hosted at Orange Silicon Valley on Tuesday, March 20 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Here’s a rough agenda:

  • 6:00-7:15pm: Welcome
  • 7:15-8:00pm: Announcements & Panel with Emily and Sally
  • 8:00-9:00pm: More Mix n Mingle

Please RSVP using this Eventbrite link by Monday, March 19.

Hope to see you there, and happy flying!

Drone industry leaders launch new public safety campaign — but will it work?

Major drone industry players, led by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, this week launched a new marketing campaigned aimed at educating the public on drone laws.

The new advertising campaign is titled “Even the Sky Has Limits: Learn the Drone Laws.”¬†It’s primarily a website that aims to clarify the confusing (and often changing) drone laws. Ads for the campaign will also run on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, according to a news release.

The”Even the Sky Has Limits: Learn the Drone Laws” campaign is a new initiative that is part of¬†Know Before You Fly, another marketing campaign which was created in 2014 with a similar goal to help drone pilots learn what the drone laws are.

Here are some of the ads you can expect to see under the new drone campaign: Continue reading Drone industry leaders launch new public safety campaign — but will it work?

How drones are taking off in the agriculture sector

Using drones for crop spraying or for information gathering with multispectral imaging in the agriculture sector has never been easier.

Crop health sensors that run NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) used to be outfitted to manned airplanes where the system would weigh around 15 pounds.

Now, in the drone revolution, these sensors are so compact they can be outfitted to consumer drones like the DJI Phantom or even a DJI Mavic. And as imaging sensors get smaller and more efficient the cost-benefit of this technology will continue to grow.

These sensors, such as ones made by Sentera, come with software that can be integrated into other farm management platforms such as John Deere’s Operations Center.  Continue reading How drones are taking off in the agriculture sector

This one department of U.S. government is really excited about how it is using drones

Drones and the government have a complicated relationship in terms of use and regulation.

But there’s one government department that is thrilled with drones: the Department of the Interior.

The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Office of Aviation Services, which has a fleet of 312 drones, flew nearly 5,000 missions in 2017. Those flights were carried out across 32 states and by 200 different pilots. According to the DOI, their fleet includes drones such as the 3DR Solo Quadcopters and Pulse Vapor 55TM Helicopters, made by Pulse Aerospace. Continue reading This one department of U.S. government is really excited about how it is using drones

Purse-carrying drones just flew down the runway in a Dolce & Gabbana fashion show

Just when you thought you had seen drones do just about everything, drones came out once again this month and did not disappoint.

Drones have disrupted industries ranging from construction to agriculture, and incited fears that drones are taking human jobs. But the latest group of workers who may fear job loss due to drones? Models.

Drones flew down the runway¬†at Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall/Winter 2018 fashion show in Milan, Italy.¬†¬†The show featured about a half dozen drones, each carrying a handbag from Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall/Winter collection. Human models walked out later wearing clothes from the collection.

The show, titled¬†“Secrets and Diamonds,” was performed for an audience of about 600 people. Audiences members¬†were asked to turn off the Wi-Fi function and personal hotspots on their cellphones — likely for the safety of the drones, according to Fashionista.

Drones are no stranger to the world of high fashion. In 2013, Lady Gaga wore a dress that looked like a giant drone and even flew a few feet  in it.



Intel held another drone light show in the Olympics Closing Ceremony

Drones dazzled audiences across the globe as a record-setting 1,218 drones flew over the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

And drones did it again — this time to mark the¬†Closing Ceremony in PyeongChang of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

This show was quite a bit smaller, with just 300-drones performance in the closing ceremony. Drones flew in shapes such as the Olympics mascot, Soohorang, the white tiger, and a heart.

Clive Mason/Getty Images

The Intel Shooting Star drones are a type of drone specifically designed for entertainment purposes, equipped with LED lights that can create countless color combinations and easily be programmed for any animation. The fleet of drones is controlled by one pilot. Continue reading Intel held another drone light show in the Olympics Closing Ceremony

I’m flying a drone for “X” reason, but I’m not getting paid! Do I still need a license?

“…I’m flying a drone as a volunteer to take pictures for a non-profit.”

“…I’m flying a drone in an outdoor racing competition, and there are prizes involved.”

“…I’m flying a drone to take pictures of my friend’s house, which I’m giving to her for free, but she is going to use them in the marketing materials to sell her house.”

“Do I need a license?”

So you’re flying a drone, and aren’t sure if it’s a hobby or commercial use case. And, if the latter, you’re not sure if you need a license?

I get a LOT of questions from people who walk the “grey area” line about whether they need a Remote Pilot Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration, under Part 107.

The FAA clearly states that anyone who is flying a drone for business purposes needs to have a license, which requires passing a test.

The thing that is less clear? What really dictates a “business purpose.” Many drone flights, such as those done as a volunteer or for compensation that isn’t in the form of money, fall into a grey area, and many wonder if they really need to have a license.

“Using a sUAS to take photographs for your own personal use would be considered recreational,” according to the FAA’s website. “Using the same device to take photographs or videos for compensation or sale to another individual would be considered a commercial operation.”

But is receiving a trophy or free drone for winning an FPV race considered compensation? Is a non-profit using photos that were donated to them still considered commercial? There are lots of grey areas here.

Let me preface this by saying the information below is NOT legal advice. Please contact an attorney to get legal advice — but I can weigh in.

First, you should get a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate anyway.¬†¬†Passing this test is your first entry into U.S. airspace — the safest airspace in the world. Plus, many insurance providers require a Part 107 license, and often companies won’t hire you to do a drone job for them if you are unlicensed. Continue reading I’m flying a drone for “X” reason, but I’m not getting paid! Do I still need a license?

Drone pilot directory search: Where can I find a drone pilot for hire?

Next up in our ‚ÄúAsk Drone Girl‚ÄĚ series is about finding a licensed drone operator in your area to do some sort of job for you. If you have a question for Drone Girl,¬†contact her here.

I was wondering if you know a link to who has a Part 107 license by state? Where can I hire a licensed drone pilot? How do I find other licensed drone pilots in my area?

I get asked about the existence of a drone pilot directory quite often. While the Federal Aviation Administration maintains a directory of all pilots with a Remote Pilot Certificate, the database is not searchable by state or area. The only real way to use it is to type a pilot’s name and confirm whether or not they have a license.

But what if you want to find a list of pilots in your area? What if you want a directory of pilots with¬† a certain skillset — mapping, real estate, etc.?

There are dozens of websites that serve as a drone pilot directory. The websites are primarily self-reported, so do your own research to find if that pilot is legitimate (and of course, check the FAA’s website to make sure they really do have a license before hiring them for a job).

And with so many websites, it can be hard to know where to look. Some of my favorites include DroneBase, DroneDeploy Mapping Directory, Skytango, Uplift and UpSonder.  Continue reading Drone pilot directory search: Where can I find a drone pilot for hire?