How SkyCam Drone Services Tamed the Inspire 1 with the FT Aviator • Fluidity
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How SkyCam Drone Services Tamed the Inspire 1 with the FT Aviator

Business: SkyCam Drone Services

Use Case: Inspection

Contact: LinkedIn, #uas4aec, #seetheunseen

Overview:

Mike Raymond, owner of SkyCam Drone Services, has been a full-time drone service provider for over six years. Like others in the industry, he operates a full fleet of aircraft – from the Autel Evo 1, which he pilots for fun, to the DJI Inspire 1, the main vehicle of choice for his drone inspection business. SkyCam Drone Services delivers documentation to its clients for roof, tower, solar and windmill inspections, which require slow and precise drone control. 

Due to platform limitations such as lack of tri-pod mode and having only one compass, Mike was not satisfied with the performance of his DJI Inspire 1.  He had been considering a drone upgrade in order to capture slower, closer-in video needed by his client base. “The Inspire 1 is a bit of a hippo on ice, and I couldn’t get in as close as I’d like. Also, while it offers the tuning of expos and gains, this functionality is buried deep in the DJI app. In the case of a challenging or unexpected flight event, this can be tough to get out of.” With deep roots in aviation, Mike had grown tired of the lack of precision provided by the Inspire 1 and knew he needed to make a change. 

The Solution:

Mike had seen early drone forum buzz about the Fluidity FT Aviator – a DJI-compatible joystick-style drone controller that provides an intuitive new way to pilot. After a bit of research, he decided to buy and try it out.

SkyCam Drone Services averages over ninety drone flights a month, often several in a day. With the FT Aviator, SkyCam Drone Services can now complete quick and accurate drone flights from a comfortable vehicle set-up (complying with all FAA regulations). 

Recently, Mike used this set-up for a roofing contractor client who had received complaints of water leaks from the Topeka Public Library in Topeka, Kansas. “With the FT Aviator, I could pilot the drone so close to the large pronounced skylight to slowly document exactly where the leaks were – I couldn’t have gotten nearly as close with the stock controller.”

He uses the FT Aviator about 30% of the time while out on inspections. Much of his work is automated, but the FT Aviator is the perfect addition to his gear for tight spaces, where accurate and slow control is needed. 

SkyCam Drone Services UAS inspection set-up includes:

  • DJI Inspire 1
  • 12-inch iPad Pro
  • Fluidity FT Aviator drone controller
  • Sensors: FLIR XT. 640. 19mm., RGB = X-3, X-5, Z-3 

The Results:

As a result of the FT Aviator drone controller purchase, SkyCam Drone Services has achieved:

  • A savings of ~$20,000 
  • The ability to get much closer to objects of interest, providing accurate documentation to clients
  • Repeat client business
  • Improved, comfortable drone set-up

Conclusion:

SkyCam Drone Services turned what could have been a $20,000+ drone asset investment into a purchase of $350 for the Fluidity FT Aviator drone controller. As a result, SkyCam was able to bring life back into the Inspire 1 platform and improve the accuracy of the documentation provided to inspection clients, while also achieving a comfortable, easy-to-fly set-up in his vehicle. 

“There is value for moving very slowly, and very precisely. With the FT Aviator controller, the Inspire 1 now feels very graceful and cinematic again. Plus, I love piloting like I’m flying an F16 – it’s a lot of fun.”

– Mike Raymond, SkyCam Drone Services

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