Pilot Spotlight: Interview with Emily Hines
Tell us your story. How did you get started in the drone industry and when did that happen?
I flew my first drone in August 2017 when my friend came over to my house for a drink and brought his Phantom 4 Pro with him. He started buzzing it around my yard and neighbourhood, to which I instantly got hooked. I played around editing the videos he had shot and my neighbour loved them. My neighbour said that she would pay good money for the video of her house, which then got me thinking. I decided after that to start my own company shooting aerial photos and videos for real estate to see where it might lead. It was great timing because I had taken a career break to raise my young girls and was ready to get back into the workplace, but didn't want to return to Corporate HR Management. I got my 107-license a short while later and bought a Mavic Air to add to our fleet of Phantom 4 Pro, Mavic Pro and Inspire 2. I have partnered with a number of certified pilots, realtors and professional photographers and I am excited to watch my small company growing daily.
Tell us about your company/work/organization and your position.
I founded Buzz My Property in August 2017 after my friend introduced me to drones. I had the advantage of being a private pilot to understand airspace and weather with more ease than some of my competitors might. Getting the 107 didn't take me long and I was mentally in a good spot to commit fully to my business. I partnered with some phenomenal drone pilots and we built our portfolio together, learning a lot along the way. All our pilots are FAA Part-107 licensed and while based in Mount Laurel NJ, we have been asked to take jobs much further afield. Our jobs are insured on site and we pride ourselves on running a professional business with a simple and transparent model. What started as a small 'strictly' real estate aerial photography business, is quickly becoming a bigger organization with jobs stretching into other commercial sectors, including construction and media production. We are surfing the wave of the booming drone industry and it's a thrilling ride.
What kind of drone(s) do you fly and what's your favorite thing about it?
We have a number of drones in our fleet (Inspire 2, Phantom 4 Pro and Mavic Pro), but I personally fly the Mavic Air and love how compact, light and transportable it is. I take it with me wherever I go and appreciate the quality of images for its relative low cost and versatility. For sure, when we’re working on larger commercial projects requiring better quality images or longer battery life, we roll out the big(ger) guns, but for my personal use, it's a great drone and I can't wait until my girls are old enough to learn how to fly it.
Have you learned any valuable lessons being in the drone industry you can share with our female drone community?
Be brave and break through that initial reluctance to try what can seem like a daunting piece of technology in a seemingly “man’s world”. Drones are insanely cool and there is definitely enough space in the industry for men and women to work side by side. Build a network around you and use it to your advantage. Put yourself out there. Hone in on your best skills and offer them up to the rest of the community. Go to the workshops, courses and the networking events. There are so many aviation-related events directed at women starting from the earliest age, go and volunteer and see where you end up. If you think you can do it, you’re probably right!
Whether it's from a creative, commercial or humanitarian perspective, tell us about your most memorable drone flight you have piloted thus far.
I have to say that my most memorable flight is purely an emotional one. My husband and I flew back to Sicily to show our young daughters where exactly we got married just over 10 years ago and I had the most beautiful flight over Isola Bella/Mazzaro beach in Taormina on our last morning there. I launched my Mavic Air from the balcony of my apartment, 400-feet up a cliff overlooking the bay and hoped dearly that I would be able to get it back! I got some great images of a beautiful place that means a lot to me and had the most surreal feeling of peace and happiness while I was flying that day. Corny as hell, but you asked the question!
What excites you most about more women joining the drone industry?
I’m enjoying watching the female community grow within the drone industry, because I think that women bring a different skill set than men do. While men tend to have more confidence with new technology, women excel at networking. In an area which is still so new and with so many uncharted avenues to explore, women are paving the way to new ideas and branching out just by speaking to other people and grabbing opportunities where possible. Contrary to (some) popular beliefs, women are as able as men to pilot and navigate drones and their associated technology. We may work in different ways, but the end result is just as successful. The more of us who get out there and prove it, the less we will need to shout it from the rooftops!
Do you have any drone tip & tricks you can share with our audience?
Don't be afraid to try new things. With enough time, space and charged batteries, anything is possible! I think there is a lot to learn when it comes to drones, and it's easy to get overwhelmed, so start off small and ask for help just BEFORE you really need it. Use the RTH feature - it's there for a good reason! I read the whole DJI manual before even turning the Mavic Air on, and I learned a lot. Finally, make some drone friends. There are so many resources available now and drone communities offering advice and educational insights that there is no excuse for staying ignorant. Get licensed if you want to operate commercially, understand the airspace you're flying in and respect the weather so that we can all continue to enjoy this fun and exciting industry together.
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?
I was born in Holland to a French mother and British father. I was raised all over Europe, from Holland to Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. I speak 5 languages. I took 2 GAP years, (before and after College) to travel around the world and skydive before settling in America one week after getting married in Sicily 10 years ago. I can honestly say that I am living the dream over here in the USA! My roots will always be European but America has my heart. To anyone who doesn’t appreciate how unique and exciting the opportunities are this side of the Atlantic, I say "keep calm and drone on"!
Emily has always been passionate about anything that flies. She was born in Holland and raised by a French mother and British father across 6 European countries before marrying a Brit and moving to the US. The first 10 years of her career were in Corporate HR working for a multinational Oilfield Services company but flying was always in the background. She started skydiving at an early age and clocked over 1200 jumps before turning her attention to flying. She got her pilot's license in 2009 and completed a few hundred hours of flying before having her second daughter and then discovering drones. Emily started her own business in August 2017 and shoots aerial real estate photos and videos in the NJ/PA areas. She strives to successfully juggle her love for flying with her passion for travel while committed to raising her family. If you would like to get in touch with Emily, you are able to contact her via email firstname.lastname@example.org