Achieving Wild Success In UAS Industry

By Luke Geiver | January 29, 2015

Forget any frustration you might have with pending regulations for the unmanned aircraft industry or the White House crash incident, and think about what life is like for Paul Bennett and Mark Burns. Each shared their respective UAS story with our team this week, and each story was a boost and reminder of how great the UAS industry is today and will be in the future.

Mark Burns, a San Diego-based videographer and aerial image provider for real estate, recently received exemption from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to use UAVs for commercial purposes.  Burns will never forget the call from his attorney, and how it felt when he learned that he had received the positive news of the FAA exemption. Roughly two weeks after receiving the news, he is still a bit dumbfounded, he said, and still incredibly excited for the business opportunities it will allow his small—and soon to be growing team—as it begins capturing aerial imagery for real estate purposes. Burns said he hopes his story reminds others awaiting exemptions that they should remain focused on the industry. And, he also reminded us that FAA UAS exemptions aren’t just about the entities that receive the exemption. Burns is now openly looking for experienced UAV pilots to bring onto his team and begin taking footage for clients. His story shows that when the FAA issues UAS exemptions it is a boon to the entire industry. (During our call I was put on hold as he finished a deal with a client looking for some aerial imagery).

Paul Bennett, founder of British Columbia-based UAV firm Aerobotika Aerial Intelligence, is also having a great month. Although his story is in large part due to his geographic location (Canada), he does offer hope of what the U.S. UAV industry could be post-FAA regulations. After starting a UAV firm in 2013 to develop platforms and consult with interested clients, the Aerobotika team decided it was time to give back. Starting in February, they will begin offering a UAV training academy. The academy will help interested parties in the mining, precision agriculture and photo/video industries not currently trained with UAVs how to prepare, fly and utilize software packages. The talk with Bennett revealed a great word to remember when thinking about what will happen when regulations break in the U.S. When I asked him about the level of interest and activity for the team after announcing the UAV training academy, he paused, and then said this, “Wildfire.”