With the popularity of drone technology on the rise, Glen Rose native and Tarleton State University student Fisher Rinderknecht has jumped at the opportunity and started his own business called Flight Reach Productions.
Imagine getting a full aerial view of a property you’re interested in purchasing or finding out that a portion of your crops are in need of specific minerals, well that’s how far drone technology has come and something Rinderknecht has been interested in since he was a little boy.
“Throughout my younger years growing up I flew consumer-grade devices — like little remote control helicopters — and I just did that off and on,” he said. “Technology has come so far I just thought it would be a great idea to offer these kind of drone services, photography, videography, construction analytics, volume tracking, all different kinds of stuff and it’s just really taken off these past couple of months.”
Rinderknecht is a full-time student at Tarleton majoring in business administration and will graduate in May.
After graduation he’s hoping to focus on Flight Reach Productions full time, something he’s passionate about.
“It’s fun, but it’s also work. I get to be outside, I get to socialize and meet all kinds of people and I get to walk through these beautiful houses and tour all kinds of properties in the area and I get to fly a remote control aircraft,” he said. “It’s such a brand new industry that not many people have thought about the commercial applications of this.”
Rinderknecht’s drone shoots in Ultra High-Definition, can shoot in slow motion and is also completely GPS stabilized connecting with up to 26 satellites and will stay in one position in up to 25-mph wind gusts.
But you can’t just go buy a drone and decide you want to take pictures and video all over town, there is a license that is now required for drone operators called an FAA Part 107 license.
“I think it was the end of August last year that the FAA came out with the 107 license that gives drone operators the authority to operate commercially,” Rinderknecht said. “There are a lot of rogue operators flying without a license because it’s kind of a hassle to get. You have to do a $150 timed test and it’s really extensive. It’s a lot of the same general airspace knowledge that you have to know to get your private pilots license.”
Here are a few things commercial drone operators need to know:
The classes of airspace.
Where you can and can’t fly different instruments.
Flight patterns around airports (what side you can and can’t be on when there’s a plane approaching).
Learning the drone technology, depth perception and being aware of his and the drone’s surroundings was a challenge for Rinderknecht.
“You push the stick too hard and you’re in a tree. You have to constantly be on your toes and be aware of what the drone is doing,” he said. “You have to be able to multitask in not only looking at the drone and maintaining the visual line of sight of it but you also have to look at the screen to look at what the drone is seeing and make sure you’re getting the shot right.”
With his drone Rinderknecht is able to do real estate listings, special events, aerial inspections, sport photography, landscape and ranch photography and more.
Something interesting about his landscape video/photography is the data the drone is capable of providing using an application called DroneDeploy.
“It’ll show the elevation and slope of the soil, so you can see if you have water pooling in one area or draining from another area. It will look at the greenness of the grass and based on that it will tell you what minerals or substances you might be lacking,” he said. “Agriculture is huge around here so even if I were to fly over a crop around here and just save one or two percent of their crops from having too much water, too little water, too many of whatever mineral or substance, it could save them thousands of dollars.”
Ultimately Rinderknecht is hoping Flight Productions takes off, literally, and will continue his work because of his love for drone flying and helping others.