ELK GARDEN - The mountain weather was perfect for Drone Day at Blackrock Saturday, April 21.

For the News Tribune
ELK GARDEN - The mountain weather was perfect for Drone Day at Blackrock Saturday, April 21.
Seven drones took flight and none landed poorly enough to cause any damage, so it turned out to be a great day of flying!
Pilots came from as far as Lost River on one end of the region to Cumberland on the other, with lots of support from the Girl Scouts in Elk Garden.
The Mineral County Chamber’s recreational drone pilot, Kaitlynn Jackson, encouraged kids and adults to know their machines and learn how to fly them, and in one instance helped with such tasks as taking it out of the box to getting it in the air with the new owner.
The focus on career awareness of emerging employment opportunity through drone flying was quite well-illustrated by a new friend from the Lost River area, Chris Burroughs. He, along with his wife Ashleigh and daughter Aliegha, heard of the event on Cumberland Radio, thanks to Amanda Mangan, and travelled the distance to fly.
Chris is completing the FAA Part 107 certification to fly drones for commercial purposes. His skills and drones amazed those in attendance. The family has a drone for each member, and it was fun to watch Aleigha take to the air with hers and direct its movement with her hand. And since she also enjoyed the rock obstacle course and ropes area away from the flying base, her parents were able to keep watch for her from the air.
Guidelines for the day were influenced by FAA regulations (federaldroneregistration.com) and West Virginia law, all of which are important elements to drone flying. In addition to these, a 100-foot separation was added between bases for flight, and away from spectators. Participants were not to overfly or photograph the neighbors, it was not a day for racing or chasing, and no wildlife was to be followed or disturbed. All pilots agreed.
The potential for making money by doing what one loves to do, in this case being certified as a drone pilot, was noted throughout the experience. In researching the avenues for current drone-related work, participants were amazed at the opportunities. Indeed.com alone has over 1,000 jobs posted for drone flying. Right now, in Bridgeport, West Virginia, Civil and Engineering Consultants is advertising for an Unmanned Aerial Systems Pilot.
“Your Chamber of Commerce encourages new entrepreneurs and special skills certification for emerging employment opportunities such as drone piloting,” said John Lecky, chamber president. “We are getting ready for our 2020 world. What about you?”
 More flight days will be upcoming and announced.
Drone pilot career opportunities include:
 - Agriculture data gathering including crop health, moisture and livestock monitoring;
 - Utilities monitoring, including electric line, solar field and wind turbine examination;
 - Real estate videography for marketing;
 - Engineering services including mapping, surveying, site examination;
 - Disaster monitoring by FEMA, towns and rural areas, in cases of flooding, downed power lines;
 - Law enforcement traffic monitoring, surveillance, accident observation;
 - Military applications including troop movement, intelligence-gathering, minefield examination;
 - Overhead filming for movies, sporting events;
 - Special occasion videography, including weddings, anniversaries, vacations;
 - Home, business and industrial security;
 - Tourism videography for regional presentations and marketing;
 - UVA instruction / Drone Camp management;
 - Drone sales, maintenance, and repair;
 - Broadcast and communications, both “eye in the sky” reporting and assistance with communications towers maintenance;
 - Research in wireless aerial communications technology and systems design;
 - Competitive flying and film festival prizes and awards
heavy lifting robotic helicopter ground control;
 - Drone-building, research and development of UAV / UAS technologies;
 - Fire and EMS applications where it is unsafe for first responders, large fire site examination; and
 - UVA robotics engineering, including potential for package delivery.
Sites for more information include indeed.com; flyguys.io; dronebase.com; azurdrones.com; airlitix, and airvuz.