It’s February! Let’s celebrate female pilots (this month and every month)


Photo by Sally French, The Drone Girl

Six drone operators met in January in Los Angeles, California to carry out one mission: fly a drone from the landing pad over to a flag, snap a photo, fly over the trees, snap another photo of a different flag, and return to home.

The drones were laid out neatly on a table near by; one of them is labeled Bessie, and the majority of drones are decorated with pink stickers.

The operators include award-winning photographers, journalists and search-and-rescue leaders.

The team is made up of:

Rhianna Lakin, founder of the Amelia Dronehart RC Copter Group. She spent much of the past 15 years in Indonesia where she participated in relief efforts.

Sarah Oneal, cofounder of That Drone Show, a daily video podcast all about drones and creator of International Drone Today, a day in March to gather pilots around the world to fly drones, culminating with the main event in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Isabelle Nyroth, a director at Unmanned Experts, a group made up of experts with over 25,000 flying hours on UAS operations.

Jessika Farrar, a drone pilot and mission analysts with SWARM, a worldwide volunteer search and rescue network of over 1,100 drone pilots. She is also the co-founder of ASG Aerial Filming Services.

Laurie Rubin, an international award-winning wildlife and nature photographer and has had photos displayed at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.

Sally French, (me!) author of The Drone Girl, a blog dedicated to drones. Her drone photography has been published in news outlets including The Economist, Forbes, the BBC and NPR.

Notice something that’s likely a bit out of the ordinary here? All the operators are women. It’s something of a rarity in the drone realm to have a group solely made up of female pilots, but it’s a continuation of a demographic trend in the tech industry.

That’s why DJI and Facebook group Amelia Droneharts teamed up to declare February as Female Pilots Awareness month.

Women have made an important role in the drone industry, including Marilyn Monroe, who assembled drones during World War II Helen Greiner, who created the Roomba, and Missy Cummings, one of the U.S. Navy’s first female fighter pilots.

Photo by Sally French, The Drone Girl

Photo by Sally French, The Drone Girl

Female Pilots Awareness month will break down the stereotypes and show that there’s no reason why a woman can’t be an excellent drone operator.

Throughout the month, DJI, Droneharts and of course, Drone Girl will showcase the plethora of female pilots through Twitter, Instagram and videos.
One video you should watch for? DJI’s video of those six women carrying out that mission. But the mission wasn’t simply about proving they can fly and snapping photos.
The real mission is proving the world and empowering everyone with the truth that anyone can fly.

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