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A little about us

Since I could remember I wanted to be a Soldier.  I joined JRTOC in the ninth grade and completed all four years during high school.  I enlisted when I was seventeen with my parents’ signature.  I had a break in service from about 1996 to 2001, until two days before 9/11.  For the next twenty something years I served in the military which included two combat deployments to conduct route clearance operations (IED hunting).  About two years ago, I began thinking about what I would do when I retire from the military after almost thirty years of service.  One of the guys I served with was retiring close to the same time and he showed me a video of agricultural spray drones.  I was amazed.  I had always been interested in RC cars and planes but had never flown a quadcopter and this was a huge one.  We had utilized the feeds from various intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms while deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, so we had an idea of their capabilities for combat, but this was a whole new ballgame.  We began researching the requirements and options for operating these types of drones.  After hitting a few roadblocks my focus changed from the large agricultural drones to smaller unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

I began researching the various use cases for drones in construction, mapping, crop management and various other areas.  This began my adventure into the world of drones.  I was intrigued by the different types of drones, the various use cases and how the drone industry was exploding.  I was like a kid in the candy store as I looked at all the different technology that had emerged over the last few years.  This started a fire in my bones.  I jumped in with both feet. What started with large agricultural drones changed into an overall search of robotics and aerial technology.  I didn’t know much about crops, but I wanted to learn all I could about drones.  I bought my first drone from Amazon and began crashing it into everything in the house.  When I found out about the FAA Drone Zone, I took my TRUST test and registered my little drone, just to make sure I was abiding by the regulations.   After a few months, I had gained enough confidence with the small indoor drone that I graduated to a larger drone that I could fly outside which had at least a bit of GPS stabilization.  The beautiful views that you could capture from a couple hundred feet above the ground were amazing.  I was hooked.  I knew that I wanted to fly drones when I transitioned out of the military.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to fly them for, but I knew I wanted to be in the middle of everything drone.  It didn’t matter if it was small or large, I wanted to fly.

Wanting to learn all I could, I began to search for courses or programs that could help me in my new interest.  I found the Clemson Drone UAS Vocation Course taught by Dr. Joe Burgett.  It looked like it had everything that I needed to dive into the small UAS world.  It offered the FAA Part 107 preparation course, Airborne Public Safety Association (ASPA) Basic Proficiency Evaluation for Remote Pilots (BPERP) flight proficiency certification, and the Level 1 UAS Thermography Certificate.  Best of all the fees would be covered by the GI Bill.

The course was great.  Dr. Burgett is an awesome instructor, and he breaks down the course material in a way anyone can understand. The courseware is laid out in a very easy to follow way.  I was able to pass my Part 107 test within the first couple of weeks of the course and it gave me a great overview of the possible verticals that I could pursue.  I really liked the inspection and mapping sections of the course.  I like operating with standard operating procedures (SOP), list and clear guidance.  Flying drones seemed to fit that bill, especially with the inspections and mapping verticals.   I started Crosswinds Drone Services, LLC in June of 2023.  

I jumped into the deep end and bought the DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise with the RTK module and battery kit.  This thing is awesome.  It was a far cry from the Amazon specials I had been flying.   I began experimenting with Drone Deploy, Pix4D, WebODM and any other software that would allow me to use a free trial.  I found a veteran’s non-profit called Vets to Drones.  They offered help, job opportunities, software discounts and many other benefits.  I joined immediately.  This group of veterans has helped me tremendously over the last year or so.  We have a weekly video conference that offers new partnerships and information regarding opportunities and changes in the drone industry.  So, if you are a veteran check them out. 

I signed up for every drone platform on the internet to start getting data collection practice.  I started out offering some “free” samples to try to drum up business.  I have successfully flown missions for everything from church 3D digital twins to Christmas videos in the park.  I like the autonomous flights that are done for mapping, but I have really started enjoying the more creative side.  I love catching “Hometown Views” in various communities around the area.  There isn’t anything better than a beautiful sunrise or sunset.  We have recently added virtual tours for real estate and businesses utilizing our Insta360 X3 camera. 

This drone business isn’t just a job, it is a passion, and it is very therapeutic.  Like many other combat veterans, I suffer from PTSD and flying drones is so relaxing and enjoyable that you forget about your problems at least for a few moments.  It is just you, the drone, and the task at hand.

My wife and I do everything we can to help the customer get the desired shot or accurate data they need to succeed.  We are customer and safety oriented.  If we don’t feel like we can do the job safely and to the customer’s expectations, then we don’t take the job and will try to refer them to someone that can get them the data they need.  My military background has taught me to be detail and task oriented, which is crucial when collecting data for construction projects or inspections.  It has provided me with a framework to build a safe and effective business that provides the fast and accurate data the customer needs.

We have several programs and services in development.  We are currently working on our Part 137 waiver for drones weighing over 55 lbs.; we are looking at a couple of thermal sensors and a first-person view (FPV) drone to use for future data collection and video.

We have added a 360-degree camera to build virtual tours for real estate or local businesses.  We can build these virtual tours and upload them to all the major platforms such as Zillow or Google Maps. 

If you need highly detailed map, construction progression, real estate videos, infrastructure visual inspections, 360 virtual tours or just a beautiful video of the sunrise for commercials or publications, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and at our website: www.crosswindsdroneservices.com.

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Contact

I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect.

123-456-7890 

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