Pilot Spotlight: Interview with Jackie Lasky
Location: Seattle, Washington
Tell us about yourself. Give our readers a personal introduction to you and what you do.
My name is Jackie, and I’m originally from the Washington D.C./Virginia area. I work full-time remotely in tech. I don't have a permanent home as my job has been fully remote since before Covid. However, I lived in Colorado last year and am in the Pacific Northwest for this summer. After, I might drive down the California coast.
I use the flexibility of my work schedule to travel, move around to new places, and be inspired by all the new adventures I have. I love to hike, ski, camp, run, paddleboard, and capture all of these activities via my drone and camera. I love doing these adventures even more with my Shikoku dog named Sora.
What inspired you to begin flying drones, and what made you want to enter the industry as a drone pilot?
I have loved making films and videos since I was a little girl. I have also always loved working with new technology, being a part of the growing tech industry, and representing women. Drone flying makes me feel empowered. I love the new perspectives you can reach; drone flying gives me a different edge and a different space to create and share from.
What were you doing before you started flying drones, and what made you make the transition?
Currently, drone flying is still just a hobby for me as I have a full-time job in tech.
What drone(s) are you currently flying, and what drone accessories do you love?
The DJI Mavic Air. I’ve been flying it for about five years!
What is your favorite feature on your drone and why?
The automatic feature. I'm often hiking by myself with one hand on my leash for my dog, so being able to go hands-free is super helpful to me. I love the follow-me shots especially.
What drone images are you most proud of and why?
I'm more proud of my videos, but I’ve added a few. I think they just show my adventurous lifestyle and why I create. Diverse places and landscapes constantly inspire me, and I love capturing them and sharing them with others.
Have you learned any valuable lessons from being in the drone industry that you can share with our female drone community?
I have only been filming as a hobbyist. Just stay up-to-date with regulations as they can and do change. Follow and support other female creators for inspiration and encouragement too.
Whether it's from a creative, commercial or humanitarian perspective, tell us about your most memorable drone flight you have piloted thus far.
It's from a creative standpoint for me. I'd say last winter. I first heard the song "Runaway" by Aurora (before it got super overplayed on TikTok), and I immediately had this vision in my head of me falling into the snow and making this snow angel on a winter wonderland/snowy hike. I wanted to create and show the spirit of my time spent in Colorado, out exploring and hiking solo with my dog in nature. I had this vision, and I just couldn't stop when I had it. I knew I had to go out and create what I had pictured in my head. Being out there, setting up the shot, getting some unexpected shots, and putting it together with that song brought me so much happiness.
What would you say to women and girls about the drone industry to spark their interest in getting involved?
I'd say try not to be intimidated. It's hard to break into a culture or field that doesn't represent you or people that look like you, so I totally get it. However, if you want change to ever happen, then you have to overcome that fear for the betterment of future women. Drones are a super cool way to interact with technology that doesn’t have a steep learning curve.
If you're into travel or photography, then it can bring your images to the next level and offer new ways for you to explore capturing that shot. When you're visiting a place, you might not see all it has to offer from the ground, and taking flight and looking at something from above can be super inspiring and unique.
What excites you most about more women joining the drone industry?
I'm excited to not have to explain myself each time I make a video. One time, I added a cool drone video I made to my Hinge dating profile, and I got asked several questions insinuating that I didn't film the video myself. They couldn't believe that a girl would film it so well, and many assumed someone else filmed it for me. The more women join the field, the more normalized it will become that women enjoy flying drones and aren't bad at it. I've dealt with the issue of exclusivity being in the tech field since early high school - so I’ve always just tried to push through it and not let it stop me from trying to do something new that I’m interested in.
Do you have any drone tips & tricks you can share with our audience?
Get it insured via a personal articles policy, always read the regulations before you go somewhere to fly so you're not disappointed, and be respectful/mindful of others around you.
Go to popular filming locations on off-peak days/hours to avoid disrupting others.
Just start filming! Find a good place that's free of obstacles and not crowded (but close to your home) to practice.
What's the best way for our readers to get in touch with you?
Instagram via @somewhere_with_sora or email.
I studied Computer Science in my undergraduate program, and I’m currently pursuing a master’s degree in Data Analytics. I work full-time remotely as a Cybersecurity Engineer and spend all of my free time outdoors/adventuring and capturing those adventures through film and photography, often with my drone. I prefer drone video-editing the most and would love to make a side-career doing that someday.