Thursday, November 17, 2016

Me and My Drone, Airship 800U, Have Made The Big-Time!

Well, sorta, kinda anyway...


My interest in bringing new-fangled aerial coverage of the great sport of cross country led me down a road that finally piqued the interest of a major news source.

When I started filming cross country races from above I met with much scorn from people who don't understand the sport or the use of drones to film it.  I realized then that in such a litigious society, it would be better if I had insurance over and above my home-owner's policy in case anything ever happened.

I did my research on the rules and gradually learned how to fly the drone at a level skilled enough to be NEAR groups of people such as at a cross country race.  And I stumbled across a product that met my needs exactly, and was easy to use right off the starting line!

Verifly is an $1,000,000 insurance policy for drone flyers that can be purchased in hour long increments right from your cell phone and right before any drone flights.  The app is easy to use and self-explanatory to even a novice like me.  Those who will be joining me in the drone enthusiast club because of the dramatic drops in prices for the holidays, would be wise to bookmark this post.  Soon the app will allow longer durations, wider coverage areas and even higher overall coverage amounts. It really is a fine product, and I recommend it highly.

After my first three meets, Verifly contacted me for a survey on my thoughts on their product.  Following this, they contacted me directly for a more thorough understanding of my use and critiques.  When they in turn were contacted by Reuters for a story of the need for drone insurance, my name was submitted as someone to talk to.

That's how I was contacted by Beth Pinsker, an editor for the Money section of Reuters.  Our conversation was candid and comfortable and centered on why I felt a need for the insurance.  The angle of a hobbyist like me using the drone for a purpose like cross country filming intrigued her.
As it turns out, her story was remarkably well-written and researched, and I recommend it highly for anyone interested in the topic. She was thorough and quoted me accurately in the article.  My respect for the field of journalism was enhanced greatly by my experience with her.  And it turns out we share a childhood in the Susquehanna Valley, although she grew up on the opposite shore!

I will continue to think about ways to bridge the gap between my drone ideas and the authorities who have safety in mind, but end up arbitrarily banning drones completely.  I ask you, wouldn't it be great to have drone footage of PSU's greats on the cross country course?  Imagine footage of Curt Stone, Horace Ashenfelter, Greg Fredericks, Alan Scharsu, Charlie Maguire and others, if only drones had been invented in time.  We may be denying such footage of the current crop of athletes at PSU, who could well turn out to be worthy of the previous list of greats!

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