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Drone Girl’s 2018 year in review

It was a whirlwind year for the drone industry. We saw major changes to the LAANC program. We learned of the companies and places chosen for the FAA’s pilot program. The FAA saw major leadership changes. We got a whole slew of new drones hitting the market — dominated by one manufacturer, DJI.

And while you can read the 2018 drone industry year and review recap, right here on The Drone Girl, I also wanted to take some time to review the year specific to The Drone Girl. This was an exciting year of changes, of travel and of opportunities for growth among this community. There were so many amazing things that happened with The Drone Girl in 2018, but I wanted to call out just a handful of them.

Here are the 8 biggest things that happened at The Drone Girl in 2018:

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1. We worked with Quark Expeditions to fly drones in the Arctic Circle!

What if I told you there was a place on earth with no trees, no buildings, no restrictions around drone use and some of the most surreal landscapes you’ll ever see? There is — and you’ll find it in the Arctic Circle. I spent 8 days on Somerset Island in the Arctic Circle, doing sea ice biking, hiking, beluga watching and of course, droning! After the trip, I worked on a 3-part series about flying drones in the Arctic.

DJI Rachel Sally Hong Kong

2. We visited the land of DJI — Hong Kong – where we got to check out the flagship store AND the DJI Mavic Air before it was announced.

I absolutely adored the Mavic Air, taking it on many of Hong Kong’s beautiful hikes. It’s still my favorite drone on the market today (read my full review here). I also FINALLY got a chance to visit the DJI Flagship Store in Hong Kong. The 10,000 square-feet store is located in the Causeway Bay area of Hong Kong island, but one of the coolest features of the building is something you probably won’t even realize while in the store. The building façade has an animated display showing the drones projected on the side of the wall. This can best be viewed on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong across the harbor from Causeway Bay, where the DJI store is located.

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3. Our website got a redesign!

With the redesign, the Drone Girl site has drone industry news more prominently featured. The redesign also meant easier navigation to some of our favorite features, including our Getting Started Guide and our Free Desktop backgrounds right in the header.

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4. Drone Girl was featured in the pilot episode of the new series, Nerd Girl Nation.

The Nerd Girl Nation web series launched this fall as a video series highlighting smart women across a variety of STEM careers. The first episode focuses on both drones and space and features myself alongside Loren Grush, a New York-based science journalist at The Verge.

Girls Who Drone event Cindy Ng Intel drone light shows

5. Drone Girl hosted the Intel Light Show Team in partnership with Girls Who Drone.

The event featured Cindy Ng, marketing director of the Intel Drone Group. Intel’s drone light shows are a form of nighttime entertainment and have flown at events such as Coachella, the Super Bowl and Walt Disney World.  

6. We got sponsored by Swatch!

This was just plain exciting! I got to do a fun photoshoot, and it’s great to reach new audiences. Swatch is a brand recognized not just inside the drone world, but worldwide, so it’s a thrill to be associated with them.

7. Sally spoke at tons of events. 

Those included sharing the stage with The Space Gal at the Women in Space and Aerospace meetup, and speaking for the Fly Like A Girl Club in San Carlos. It’s always a thrill to meet other people interesting in drones, aerospace, STEM, journalism, and the myriad of other sectors I interface with. I shared the stage with stars such as Emily Calandrelli, aka the Space Gal, an MIT-engineer turned Emmy-nominated science TV host. She’s featured as a correspondent on Bill Nye Saves the Worldand an Executive Producer and host of FOX’s Xploration Outer Space.

Atop The Climatron B&H Best drone photo 2018
The overall best image of B&H’s drone photo contest

8. Sally judged multiple contests, including the B&H drone photo contest and the AirVuz drone video contest.

The B&H drone photo contest winners were recently announced, while we are in the midst of judging the AirVuz contest right now (winners will be announced in February)!

Of course, none of these amazing changes in my life would be possible without the amazing Drone Girl community. Thank YOU for helping me achieve my dreams, and allowing me to do a job where I can work for myself, travel to amazing locations and do something I love. Without your support and readership, none of this would be possible.

To continue being a part of The Drone Girl community, please follow us and tag your friends so they also find us on our InstagramFacebookTwitter and YouTube accounts. To get updates of every new post, please subscribe via email to our newsletter at the link in our sidebar!

Happy Flying, and Happy New Year!

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