In coordination with DroneBase and the Drone Operators Federation, we're excited to bring you the Drone Operator Insight Series. The series aims to highlight a multitude of ways pilots are using drone technology for commercial purposes – from inspections to photography – to create job opportunities and support new and existing businesses across the U.S. This week, we will be introducing you to David Taylor based out of Oregon.
We asked David a few questions about his experiences throughout his drone pilot career and the direction he'd like to see drone policy take to enable commercial pilots. Read more below.
What Interested you in becoming a Drone Pilot?
Like many things in life drones are addicting. It only takes one time and I was hooked. I needed part time employment and this was really a promotion from my previous job as a survey chief of party, and working the insides of the 3D models providing all the GPS and aerial control points, to processing my own maps. It felt like a good way to stay earn some extra income.
What is your favorite aspect about being a drone pilot?
Working outdoors primarily in the construction industry. Getting to be hands on with constantly changing technology. It feels like this is just the beginning of an industry that will save time money and lives.
Are there any existing rules or regulations you’d like to see adjusted to promote a more operator-friendly environment?
David suggests "an improved semi-automatic method to apply for waivers". The Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system put in place by the FAA is a step in the right direction for receiving instant approval to fly in certain sections of restricted airspace, however, submitting for an airspace waiver remains a lengthy process.
As the FAA considers its final rule for Remote ID, what approach makes the most sense for you?
ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) would be my instinctive reply. All traffic in the air aware of each would allow a whole new approach to traffic management.
What are your thoughts on how drone technology can improve workflows and fill gaps in everyday life?
It is sometimes just important to be there, with new technologies ready to help. Two weeks ago when a young girl went missing, the call for help went out from the parents asking drone pilots to be involved. For the next week we flew all the local parks, hiking areas, and other areas as directed by the family, providing orthomosaic maps for volunteers at home to spend countless hours scanning looking for evidence of life. It was good to work with several other drone pilots to, if anything, at least make the parents feel all that could be done was. The young girl was located, out of state and safe, which is all any of us could ask for. It was great to be out and show the public that drones had uses beyond going fast and being noisy.