Drones—no term is better suited for being called a “buzzword” for 2017. They soar, hover, surveil, and even deliver small packages right to your front doorstep in select cities (though it’s expected to expand here to the Alamo city very soon). But a lot of people don’t know that drones are having a much more influential use outside of their military connotations.
“Drones have been a huge part of my life,” said Wesley Pruitt, co-founder of Whitecloud Drones, “I operated UAV’s/ Drones in the Navy [from 2007 to 2013] as mobile UAV operator for the SEAL Teams. I deployed numerous times to Iraq and Afghanistan flying for them.”
Whitecloud Drones recently moved into Geekdom late in 2016, but they’ve been putting their aerial skills to good use for years. San Antonio has been a major hub for drone technology for more than a decade now, so it stands to reason that their commercial abilities are finding solid footing here first.
“Aside from the USS San Antonio having a UAV Site onboard at all times the city of San Antonio has supplied updates to drone autopilots, as well as produce some awesome autopilots for the commercial markets.”
Of course, no good area of expertise goes unpoliced. Considering the already growing amount of aerial traffic occurring above San Antonio (and the bustling expansion of our international airport scheduled to be completed by 2018), it’s no surprise there are some significant laws regarding civilian drone operation.
“The new license is the Part 107 license that requires a person to take a knowledge test and pass with a score of at least 70%. The red tape list is large, such as operations near an airfield, 400 feet above ground level, filming historic locations [such as the Alamo], flight over people, and flight at night.”
But this hasn’t stopped White Cloud from droning ahead of the game and gaining all necessary permissions to film in places no one else is allowed to.
“We are the only company in San Antonio that can legally film Historic Locations.”
From a technical standpoint, when an operator can utilize heights unachievable with a crane camera, and couple that with programmable flight paths and camera angles that can’t be done by human means, the results are truly one-of-a-kind.
“Our ability to capture some amazing angles has led us to work with a lot of media production companies. We have a platform that allows us to fly around any camera and still be able to utilize all of the camera functions.”
Although they’re keeping a tight lip on what’s in the pipeline for 2017, they can tease us with one major client the entire city knows and loves.
“The San Antonio Spurs and the AT&T Center hire us to capture stunning images and video clips that they play on ESPN/CBS and NBC.”
So if you happen to look up one day while leaving the downtown area or perusing the farmer’s market at the Pearl and see a drone buzzing it’s way slowly across the sky, you don’t need to fret over a surveillance scare; in fact, you should throw your hands up and wave, and there’s a chance you might be able to spot yourself on Whitecloud’s next big commercial. Until then, check out this highlight reel they recorded out on Medina lake!