(Former) iPhone developer, DJI Phantom Pilot – Interview with Daryl Vogan

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Tell us about yourself and your background.

I’m 39 years old, married father of a 15 year old daughter. I live in Georgetown, PA. It’s a sleepy little town of 180 people, located on the Ohio River. I’m a programmer for an energy company.
 

How did you get started flying drones?

I grew up in a cemetery (yes, IN a cemetery), and two things made me think about drones:

  1. How could drones be used to give virtual tours/guide visitors to gravesites?
  2. The cemetery is so beautiful, and always photographed, but what does it look like from above?

Those two things, coupled with a story I heard on NPR about SkyCatch convinced me to get into drones.

 

Tell us about your blog and how that fits together with your drone piloting.

I learned so much (and am still learning, of course) that I wanted to share as much as I could, to help others. I use it as a resource to share my learning, mistakes, opinions and of course to showcase my photos and videos! I try to keep it updated, but have been a bit remiss lately.

 

What services do you offer with your drone?

That’s a tricky question, with the current set of FAA regulations. I do tons of pro bono work for the cemetery, our school district, a local historical village, etc. I’d love to get into providing commercial services, and I have started the 333 exemption process. Hopefully the new rules arrive before I have to get into that too deeply. “Off the record”, there are a few sessions I have done for payment 😉

 

What kind of drones and gear are you flying? Why did you choose that in particular? Any plans to upgrade?

I have the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+. I chose that from the recommended list provided by SkyCatch, as it seemed like a good balance of quality, price and ease-of-use. I’d love to upgrade someday! I also carry a case from RedRock, as well as a triple-battery charger.

 

What flying project that you have worked on are you most proud of?

Definitely the cemetery. It is so pretty there. My family has lived there for 31 years, and it is so rewarding to see the grounds from a different perspective. I even made the local newspaper when they heard about me flying the grounds. The cemetery Facebook page fans rave over the quality and uniqueness of the photos AND video.

 

What advances in drone technology are you excited about?

  1. Extended battery life: this will really allow for the expansion of possible uses.
  2. Collision detection
  3. Parachute/rescue systems

 

Thank you so much for your insights. Is there anything else that we haven’t touched on that you would like to share?

I’d just like to voice my “frustration” with the current set of (non)regulations that we’re governed by regarding commercial usage. There are so many opportunities for new businesses, side businesses, etc. that are just not possible. I look forward to the day that there are clear, concise and sensible regulations that allow for the drone economy and ecosystem to flourish!

 

 

Follow Daryl, it’s the cool thing to do:

Website
Twitter
Instagram
Youtube (Greendale Cemetery centric)
Youtube (Daryls Drone)
Flickr