A Woman’s Inspiring Drone Story – Desi Ekstein, On The Go Video

Desi EksteinAre you wondering what it takes to develop your passion around drones?

Then today’s guest on the Drone Radio Show has some exciting insights for you. Desiree (Desi) Ekstein is a drone enthusiast from Lake Elsinore, California. She’s been flying drones for four years. Her hobby has evolved into a part-time business and an educational outreach to young people. If you think mastering the world of drones is difficult, then you’ll want to listen to Desi’s story and find out just how easy it can be – if you take things one step at a time, reach out to the many helpful people in the drone community, and let your imagination fly.

In This episode

  • [01:23] An avid videographer, Desi was introduced to a Parrot AR drone by her mother who happened to think a camera in the sky might provide some interesting perspectives. This happened 4 years ago.
  • [01:51] She started with two AR Parrot Drone, because one always seemed to be in need of repair, and so she always had one for flying. She knew nothing of drones and had to teach herself to fly and repair the drones.
  • [03:28] It wasn’t long before two drones, turned into three drones and eventually, Desi had a fleet of 12 drones, earning her an article in the Orange County Register and the nickname, “Drone Diva Desi”.
  • [04:29] As technology advances and drones evolve, Desi continues to upgrade her fleet to include the latest drones.
  • [04:52]Her favorite drones are the Yuneec, for all round ease, and the DJI Phantom 3 for photography.
  • [05:45] Desi studies the works of other drone photographers as she perfects her craft.
  • [06:06] Everyone has an idea of what they would do if they had a drone, and some are able to develop a business around that idea. For Desi, that idea was about filming wedding venues. She’s done about 25 to date.
  • [08:33] Starting a drone based business, even a small one, triggers a request for a Section 333 exemption. Desi received her exemption and is now working on her pilot’s license.
  • [10:13] When she’s not in pilot school, Desi makes time to practice flying, following a list of pre- and post-flight protocols to ensure safety.
  • [11:32] As her interest and experience in drones grew, so did Desi’s desire to share that experience with others. Her first effort was writing about safety for online drone sites.
  • [12:24] In 2015, Desi attended the Interdrone Expo in Las Vegas and sat in the Women’s In Drone Segment. There she met several women that shared their experiences in developing educational programs and materials to guide young people on the use, operation and enjoyment of drones. That sparked an idea to create a local education event for middle schoolers in her own community.
  • [13:30] Leslie Bates, the founder of SheDrones, a national nonprofit dedicated to addressing the country’s need for more female innovators, employers, leaders and entrepreneurs in the UAS industry provided guidance and encouragement to Desi as she developed her first drone class set for March 2016. The focus of the class is ‘safety’.
  • [15:21] To Desi, flying safe means one should (1) Be aware of their surroundings, (2) Be aware of privacy issues and (3) Take proper care of their drones.
  • [15:38] In an industry that is heavily dominated my men, it can be challenging for women to gain a foothold or even feel comfortable asking questions or for direction. That’s where communities like the Amelia Dronhearts comes in. The Dronehearts is a worldwide community of women RC Pilots that serve as a resource to women who have an interest in flight. Desi describes how the Amelia Droneharts have been a great resource, and source of encouragement, along her path of mastering drones.
  • [16:54] Its been four years since Desi made that first drone flight into the desert and a lot has changed since then. Desi discusses what she feels has been some the biggest advances in drone technology during this time and what she’s learned.
  • [17:50] Her fascination for technology is what drives to her seek out the advances in drone applications and the drones, themselves.
  • [19:37] Thankful that she happened upon something really exciting and armed with her fleet of 12 drones, Desi is looking forward to the future. She hopes to teach more and is really excited to be part of the ever changing drone industry.
  • [20:20] Closing

Mentioned Links

Desi Ekstein shows off her DJI Phantom
Desi Ekstein shows off her DJI Phantom
Image taken by Desi of a sunrise over the Parker Ranch
Image taken by Desi of a sunrise over the Parker Ranch

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