Scaling Drone Operations: The Recap
Hear What Landon Phillips, COO of DataWing has learned from scaling to pilots in 60 cities
Thank you so much to everyone who joined our webinar yesterday about scaling drone operations with Landon Phillips of DataWing and Ray Askew of Skyward. We hope you found it helpful and informative!
In the webinar, Landon described the standardized repeatable process for drone flights that he has implemented to help DataWing scale to a large drone pilot network with pilots in over 60 cities. Here are a few highlights:
Plan, Brief, Execute, Debrief
DataWing uses a Plan, Brief, Execute, Debrief process for their projects. The planning phase begins even before a deal has been signed — and Landon encourages other pilots to make sure they have an intentional process in place for initial client interactions.
“Usually we start with a series of phone calls and discussions to discuss the basic qualifiers of our business, establish an NDA, talk about company background, provide a certificate of insurance and any other documents that the potential client wants us to provide. Those are the first steps to get in the door, so I encourage anybody that’s trying to find additional clients to make sure you have that in order.”
As part of those initial discussions, Landon recommends using a defined set of questions to define the client’s expectations.
“One of the things we find to be a bit more difficult, particularly for clients that aren’t as familiar with drone operations as we are is understanding exactly what the client wants. What are they going to do with the data, are they going to do volumetrics? Are they going to take measurements? When is the job to be done and when is the data to be provided?”
Landon also emphasized that it’s important to clarify certain basic information up front, such as who will be the point of contact on site and where to send the bill.
After discussing the flight briefing and execution steps, Landon detailed the last step in a project — the debrief.
“Coming from a professional pilot community we really value the debrief, this is where we really want to improve ourselves and our organization, this is where the real learning happens,” said Landon.
“We use a very specific model for the debrief, and it’s called Perception, decision, execution. Perception — what we thought was happening, or what we thought was going to happen. The Decision — based on that perception, did we make the right decision based on what our perception was at the time. And then execution, if had the right perception and made the right decision but perhaps mis-executed in some way, we identify what that fault was and move forward with our team and share that lesson,” said Landon.
When Hiring Pilots, Professionalism is Paramount
New drone pilots frequently ask questions about how to find clients and what potential clients — or large drone pilot networks — look for when evaluating potential pilots. Landon shared his a few helpful tips.
“The biggest thing for us is professionalism,” said Landon. One thing DataWing looks at is a pilot or potential partner’s social media presence — but not necessarily for the reason you might think.
“Sometimes there’s a pilot or a potential partner company tells us they’re going to follow the rules, we can look at their social media and sure enough see something they’re doing that’s obviously wrong or perhaps against the regulations,” said Landon, “so I encourage everybody out there who might want to be a part of a network like ours, to focus on the professionalism of their social media presence because we do look at it.”
Watch the full webinar to hear more tips from Landon and learn more about DataWing’s scalable process for drone operations.
Where to Learn More
Once you’ve watched the webinar, there are plenty of resources you can check out to learn more. We recommend the following:
- Our new Zero to Hero video series on Youtube for a step-by-step guide on mapping from initial drone set-up to map analysis
- Watch recordings of other recent webinars including webinars on drones in construction, drones in agriculture and our beginner and intermediate drone mapping clinics.
Get Started with DroneDeploy and Skyward
DroneDeploy is an easy-to-use cloud-based platform for generating and analyzing high-quality maps and 3D models. The Skyward platform connects the people, projects, and equipment involved in your drone program into one efficient workflow and helps automate compliance. Together, DroneDeploy and Skyward provide an enterprise solution for managing your entire drone operations. To get started, just follow these four easy steps:
- Sign up for DroneDeploy and Skyward
- Download the DroneDeploy mobile app for free for iOS or Android.
- Add the Skyward Sync app to your DroneDeploy account
- Start flying and making maps!
Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit request a consultation with one of our team members.