The Purpose Driven Flight

Why you flying’?

Each and every time you put your drone in the air, there is a reason you are doing it. For me, I am in a honeymoon phase and I am getting to know my equipment in terms of behavior and idiosyncrasies. Let’s call this the training phase and the purpose of these flights are to train yourself… self improvement, if you will.

It’s Fun!

Crossing purposes with self improvement is of course, the joy of flying. Flying for the purpose of pleasure or entertainment permeates pretty much every other purpose we will discuss in this article. This purpose has a funny little issue attached to it that can dog us a little bit, namely; some folks who watch what you are doing only see the fun aspect of it and might offer some quirky comments. They may see you flying your $20,000 mapping drone or your sub $1000.00 drone and they say, “Wow! That looks like fun!” or “Hey, my kid does that!” or “That looks easy.” It does not matter that you are being paid a hefty hourly rate for map a project or do the survey of a tower; for some, all they see is the fun. Now be honest and admit it. It is a lot of fun and if it were not, we would not want to do it for living.

Getting the Shot!

At the end of the day the drone is a pretty powerful camera. With a camera, we take photos an videos. Virtually everyone these days has a TV studio in their pocket with camera optics and power which offers better quality of image than was even possible with film cameras twenty years ago. There are two types of still images we create, snapshots and intentional shots. Now we are talking about the purpose of photography. When we are flying a drone, we really don’t just go up and take snapshots. When we take the drone to altitude for the purpose of photography, we really should think about this before we launch. What are we shooting, what will the framing be? What will the lighting be? Will we need ND Filters, etc. In other words, what do we want the final image to look like? Along with this we might even consider whether we intend to use any post processing on the image such as PhotoShop.

The Job

The purposes of flights we have just discussed are user generate purposes. There are external reasons we might be flying… it might be because someone else asked us to do a job for them. When we are in this arena, it requires a little more planning and coordination. We are now flying for a purpose we did not create. This introduces new resposibilities as well. These responsibilities will probably extend play the flight time as well. You will need to process photos and videos. You will need to figure out how to deliver the work. You will need to arrange for cloud storage your client has access to and you might need to have the ability to print images or have access to a local large format printer. All this requires a bit of forethought well before we even start to fly. A greater purpose means greater responsibility and planning.

The Wrap-Up

Flying is fun! That reason alone flavors everything we do… if we are being honest. If you fly for a living, over a period of time, even flying can become just another job. Anything repetitious can become an unwelcome chore. But there is something about flying which gets into your blood. I remember as a young private pilot, my instructor told me “flying is like alcohol, once it’s in your blood it can be pretty addictive.” That’s so true. I’ll bet that even if you were to get tired of flying because you suffer for job burnout and decided to quit flying altogether, you will eventually, one day… pick it up again. It’s hard to get it out of your blood. You are a pilot. You earned a modicum of respect and honor for your achievement and that achievement will never be lost. And when you return, I can pretty confidently tell you that you will be called back because you remember the fun!






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