When I was a kid, I dreamt of flying! I don’t know what it was, but the freedom, the adventure, the thrill and the excitement of being high in the sky in a machine that you could control in all directions was fantastic. I remember seeing the movie “The right stuff” and all people with four stripes on their shoulders were heroes in my eyes.
I later became a commercial pilot working many years as a flight, and aerobatic instructor. I loved when my instructions gave the students the needed skills to fly themselves or stay on top of an intense situation.
During instrument flights, I would “request maneuvering space” once we had climbed through the cloud cover and then we were free to cloudsurf! Cloudsurfing meant flying close to the clouds and following them up and down and in between gaps and at the same time trying to avoid “hitting” them. It was like a game, where you had to stay ahead, anticipating how the next cloud was formed and best passed!
My carrier flying with passengers as a commercial pilot was a 4 month period flying for the United Nations in Congo. It was a great adventure in a challenged country! I have never flown with passengers since!
In 2006 I started a company which my twin brother. He was a photographer, and I was a pilot, and we made aerial photography!
In 2015 I bought my first drone and was at that point the only owner of the company. My brother had pursued his dream as an art photographer, and the company had specialized in photography for visualization. A more technical form of photography using photogrammetry software that can turn 2D images into 3D models. My specialty is the combination of photography with precise GPS measurements for documented visualizations of future constructions.
The thrill of getting a drone and the anticipation of becoming the greatest drone pilot ever was fantastic! Experiencing the small cool tech wonder that can stay still in front of your face while buzzing and recording in 4K were fascinating. Seeing your own excited and concentrated face on the screen was mesmerizing… but then what?
It takes time charging the batteries, and if I didn’t have a goal or task with the next flight, I would sometimes postpone it, even when I knew I could use the practice!
During practice or fun flying, I would set up challenges to test my skills and stay motivated. I would fly from corner to corner of our rabbit house or orbit a chair at a constant distance or hover a tree stump in crosswinds.
I quickly realized that I missed quick feedback from the drone on how well I was flying and whether my inputs were correct.
It is difficult if not impossible to judge if the drone is over, behind or in front of a point and it is just as impossible to register when it starts to drift away or towards you. However, being able to register this and act on it immediately is essential to learn the right reflects and for your body to get the motor skills needed.
From being a flight instructor, it is essential to have a reference when instructing and learning. If the student is flying below the predetermined altitude, the altimeter indicates it. You can then teach the student to raise the nose and increase power until reaching the altitude, and as a student, you can lower the nose and decrease power once you reach the altitude.
You can compare the effectiveness of teaching someone and learning with that of taking a driving license. If you take your driving license in a big parking lot with no markings, you won’t become a good driver. However, when you have all the stop lines, and markings on the road to tell you when you are driving correctly, you concentrate and become better faster!
This experience from teaching someone to fly was what gave me the idea for MAKKER. A tool that would give you instant feedback once you were over a fixed position. That way you would know once you had given the correct input and you would also become better at judging whether the drone was moving away or toward you and when you were over a specific point.
Drones can fly themselves, and you can program them using an app to do almost anything – but there is still something to being the best pilot there is, and practice makes perfect so let’s make practice as effective and fun as possible!