Dirk Dallas: A pioneer in the drone community

The drone world is growing and changing constantly, but it’s still a relatively young industry. In many cases, current drone pilots have only been flying for two to three years. Many other people are still hoping to get their first drone soon.

Yet there are some drone pilots who have been in the hobby as long as drones have been a thing. Those drone pioneers paved a path for the many drone pilots who followed in their footsteps.

Dirk Dallas is one of those pioneers.

Dallas, a Southern California-based drone pilot, acquired his first drone in 2013. That was well before the boom of the industry as people were just starting to figure out the capabilities of these flying cameras.

“I got a hold of a drone, got a hold of a GoPro, took it up and my mind was blown,” Dallas said when interviewed on “The Drone Dish” on AirVuz.com. “I’ve been hooked ever since.”

Dallas actually started as a regular photographer before adding drones to his arsenal, a path not uncommon in the drone world. He had been posting his photography to Instagram since the very beginning of the popular social media app. In fact, Dallas signed up for Instagram on the first day it launched.

Since first joining Instagram in 2010, Dallas has garnered a large following, both on his personal account and on a drone-specific account he started called @fromwhereidrone. His personal Instagram account, @dirka, now has more than 311,000 followers. Not everything he posts there is aerial photography, although that certainly is the primary focus of the account.

Dallas created @fromwhereidrone on Instagram, and the account has surpassed 145,000 followers to become one of the largest Instagram followings for a drone-specific account. The #fromwhereidrone hashtag has also garnered tons of popularity among drone pilots. That hashtag has been used more than 370,000 times on Instagram.

The creation of that hashtag, Dallas says on his website, started off as a joke. It was a play on a hashtag that was very popular at the time: #fromwhereistand. Dallas added an aerial twist to it to include the word “drone” instead. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I then started using it on every drone photo I posted and each time people seemed to think it was funny,” he said. “Then one day several months later I decided to click on the tag and I saw over 500 drone photos using it as well and I was blown away!”

The @fromwhereidrone account is now used similar to the way the AirVuz Instagram account works in that it features the work of other drone pilots. With the popularity of the @fromwhereidrone account, Dallas decided to launch a website as well, fromwhereidrone.com.

“People were being introduced to drones and what you can do with them, and they were being inspired,” he said. “One of the things that would happen is I would get a ton of direct messages and emails. People would be like, ‘Hey, what drone do I need? Hey, how does the camera work?’ Just all the various questions people would have about drones.

“After a while, it kind of got to be a lot, so I thought, ‘Hey, maybe I should start a website.’ … It all stems from when I first started flying, there was really no info.”

While the site does include plenty of aerial photography, it’s also a great resource for drone pilots who want tips on taking great aerial photographs. With a background in graphic design, Dallas uses his trained eye in that field when taking drone photographs and shares those with other pilots on his website.

“I feel like the way I compose my shots are based a lot on some of the design principles that I learned in school,” Dallas said. “Just to name a couple, like symmetry and contrast and repetition and always having a focal point, a subject.”

Dallas began flying with some of the older DJI Phantom series drones and has witnessed first-hand the progression of drone technology over the years. These days, his drone arsenal has grown to include many DJI products as well as the Typhoon H by Yuneec. But there’s one drone in particular that Dallas is currently partial to when he flies.

“I have to say that my favorite is the Mavic right now,” he said. “I cannot believe how small they made that drone, and I love that I can literally just put it in my pocket of a jacket.”

Most drone pilots have a favorite shot they’ve taken or a favorite video they’ve put together. While Dallas has done plenty of creative aerial work over the years — including a baby announcement of he and his wife’s third daughter — he has a few specific shoots in mind when recalling his top choices.

“I have a little series I did with one of my friends in a red dress that’s one of my favorites, because it’s kind of like a faraway portrait,” Dallas said. “Typically with drones, we’re always taking shots of landscapes and buildings. (And) probably my stuff from Iceland. That was the first time I really got to see Iceland from the air.”

Dallas is one of thousands of drone pilots from around the world who has uploaded his work to AirVuz.com. On the drone media website, Dallas posted some of his dronies (a selfie taken with a drone) as well as his aerial reel. He also shared some of his photos, from desert landscapes to water features to wooded forests in Wisconsin.

Dallas shared the story of his introduction to drones and much more on the AirVuz original program “The Drone Dish,” which features drone pilots from around the world. The pilots tells their stories of how they got their start with drones, tips they have for drone pilots, and what their favorite footage is that they’ve taken. To hear from other drone pilots featured on “The Drone Dish,” click here.

“The Drone Dish” is a episodic program by AirVūz Productions. Since its launch two years ago the show has interviewed over 75 drone pilots from around the world. It is the sister show to “Behind the Goggles,” which interviews drone pilots who fly first-person-view and race or fly freestyle. Click here to watch each of the 24 episodes of “Behind the Goggles”. The two shows are formatted to highlight as well as give understanding and perspective to other drone pilots or drone enthusiasts who visit airvuz.com or are a part of the 1.3 million plus social media fans the site has.

For more great drone content from the international community of drone pilots, or to share your drone photos and videos, check out airvuz.com.

🎅 Even Santa says its better than the Naughty list. 📝

And waaaay better than the Nice list.

It’s this week’s list of FPV Pilots to Watch, on AirVūz!   

Each week, we show off the latest work of great FPV pilots!  This includes we’re pretty sure you should follow, as well as our insanely talented Team AirVūzFPV…check ’em all out!

No one loves your FPV videos like AirVūz ❤️s your FPV Videos!

😎

Team AirVūz   |  #UnitedbyDrone

TopVūz: Dec 22, 2017

The world’s best drone videos come to AirVūz, and every week, we celebrate the best of the best as our TopVūz! 

This week’s TopVūz, uploaded by you, the talented members of the AirVūz community are:
DriftKelly’s Heroes
Above The Seathedronebooth
NURK’s Flight of the Year // Trains, Bridges, Rapids, Mountains…nurkfpv
Drone For A Year (2017)Aerial Destinations
H O R I Z O NWellington Rodrigues
Flying with FlamingosBurak BÜYÜKBAYRAKT
Life is a Hyperlapsevideosophy
My Year 2017Wild Willy FPV
Magic Sea Unicornflorian ledoux
Rio Flashbackbbloss

Check out the full length drone videos with the above links! We are so thankful to be able to feature such an amazing variety of aerial views from all over the world. Keep sharing the world beauty! One love.

Thanks for helping make our community so diverse and full of inspiring views! We truly are UnitedByDrone.

How do you get your chance to be featured in TopVūz? If you’ve recently uploaded a stunning aerial video to AirVūz.com then you already have! If you haven’t… well, upload your best work and we will find it!

Did you know you can upload your photos to AirVūz? See Ours!
See more TopVūz of the week here on AirVūz.com
Guess what? Our Thankfulepisode posts December 27th! Were you featured? Who will win $500?
Follow us on Instagram
Need some AirVūz gear? We’ve got it.

Team AirVūz  |  #UnitedbyDrone

TopVūz: Dec 15, 2017

Week after week, we’re in awe of the quality of videos uploaded to AirVuz, and we love to celebrate them as much as possible….like on TopVūz!  This week’s featured compilation of aerial views  – as found on AirVuz.com  –  includes the following:

UNITED WE RIDE // Winner – 2017 Los Angeles Drone Film Festival – FourOhFourFilmFactory
Around the world in 4K – Exclusive Aerials
2 0 1 7 – Huettehuette
The Most Epic Place on Earth. – JohnnyFPV
Abandoned Water Park in VIETNAM – The NYC Couple
From Oregon to Kauai || Adrenaline Pumping Reel – shanestiles
To the Mystery! – scientik
Winter | DJi Mavic pro 4K | Drone Footage | Slovenia | 2017 – amadejtauses
Winter Jet-ski in 20°F Weather! – AndrewAchter

We think you’ll you enjoy this riveting compilation.  Check out the featured full length drone videos (and more from these featured drone pilots) with the above links! Or, you can also check out the collection page, which includes all of the featured videos and the TopVuz compilation reel itself!

We are so thankful to be able to feature such an amazing variety of aerial views from all over the world. Thanks for helping make our community so diverse and full of inspiring views! We truly are UnitedByDrone.

How do you get your chance to be featured in TopVūz? If you’ve recently uploaded a stunning aerial video to AirVūz.com then you already have! If you haven’t… well, upload your best work and we will find it!

Did you know you can upload your photos to AirVūz? See Ours!
See more TopVūz of the week here on AirVūz.com
Don’t forget! Our thankful deadline is quickly approaching! Upload you aerial videos HERE for your chance to be featured in the full episode. $500 up for grabs!
Follow us on Instagram
Need some AirVūz gear? Get it here!

Team AirVūz  |   #UnitedbyDrone

We’ve got the list right here…This week’s FPV Pilots to Watch on AirVūz! (Dec 15, 2017)

 

We spot it.  We dig it.  We share it. 

The best FPV is on AirVūz, and yah, we like passing it along.

Like, for example, this week’s The FPV Pilots to Watch on AirVuz
and this ‘extra’ from our Behind the Goggles series, featuring FlyLife
 It’s the latest and greatest in drone racing and FPV freestyle (from the drone pilots we’re pretty sure you should follow), and we’ve made it all ready for your viewing pleasure. 😎

➡️    ➡️    ➡️

Team AirVūz  |  #UnitedbyDrone

Netherlands no longer using drone-catching eagles

Back in 2016, we at AirVūz told you about how police officers in the Netherlands were using eagles to catch drones.  Dutch authorities trained the birds to locate drones and take them out of the sky.

Just recently, those drone-catching birds have been retired by the Dutch police. The eagles will no longer be used to snag drones. The program will be ending, and the eagles will be relocated to new homes.

The reason for the retirement of the program is that eagle-catching drones just aren’t especially practical.  As it turned out, there wasn’t much of a need for this type of training. Additionally, it’s not cheap to train eagles how to identify and take down drones.

As more drones take to the skies, there will certainly be a need for identifying rogue drones and potentially taking them down in emergency situations. A few months back, DJI unveiled Aeroscope, which aims to identify and track any of its drones that are flying. SCI Technology released AeroGuard, a drone that shoots a net at rogue drones or drones that could pose a safety threat.

While drone-hunting eagles sounded like a cool idea, it apparently wasn’t meant to be. But if you’d like to re-watch our AirVuz News story on the interesting concept, you can do so below:

 

Drone registration reinstated by FAA

If you’re a hobbyist drone pilot in the United States, you’ll soon have to register your drone again.

After a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration deemed the FAA’s drone registration unconstitutional, the organization rolled out a new registration policy this week. President Donald Trump signed a bill into law on Tuesday that included a section on registering hobby drones.

Drones pilots will once again have to pay a $5 registration fee, though other details remain uncertain at this point. It’s unclear whether pilots who had previously registered under the old system will have to re-register their aircraft with the FAA.

Attorney and drone pilot John Taylor successfully sued the FAA earlier this year when a Federal Appeals Court ruled the drone registration unlawful. Taylor cited Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which prohibited the FAA from enacting any rule or regulations regarding model aircraft flown by hobbyists for recreational purposes.

Under the previous registration rules, pilots had to pay a $5 fee and display their registration number somewhere on the aircraft. Taylor’s lawsuit was only applicable to hobbyist pilots, meaning those who flew drones commercially still had to register.

The FAA issued a statement regarding the latest registration news, telling TechCrunch: “We welcome the reinstatement of registration rules for all small unmanned aircraft. Ownership identification helps promote safe and responsible drone operation and is a key component to full integration.”

Recapping the Los Angeles Drone Film Festival

For the first time ever, some of the most talented drone pilots in the world came together for the inaugural Los Angeles Drone Film Festival last weekend at The Downtown Independent. With filmmakers from the Netherlands to Belgium to Germany and various cities throughout the United States, the collection of creativity at the LADFF was inspiring.

The LADFF, sister show of the popular New York City Drone Film Festival, featured 12 total categories, including aerial photography. Winners received prize packs that included drones and other drone accessories.

The weekend also included panels from filmmakers such as Ty Evans and a variety sessions at the RED Digital Cinema studios. RED also had some cameras on display at an event for sponsors and finalists.

Paul Nurkkala
FPV pilot Paul Nurkkala chats with AirVūz

AirVūz was in L.A. to check out all of the action. If you missed either of our Facebook Live streams, you can check them out here and here. For the AirVūz Original program “The Drone Dish,” we chatted with a few of the finalists of the LADFF, including Maarten Slooves. Stay tuned to AirVuz.com for more great content from Los Angeles!

Congratulations to all pilots and filmmakers whose work was featured in this great festival. Winners and their respective categories are listed below:

Extreme Sports — “United We Ride” by Four Oh Four Film Factory

Landscape & Architecture — “Winter Wonderland” by Daniel Riley

Freestyle FPV — “Flight Of The Year” by Paul Nurkkala

Featuring Drones — “Merry Crashmas” by thisisTilt

Still Photography — “The Tree of Life” by Mike Bishop & Donal Boyd

Dronie — “There’s No One Else” by Wellington Visuals

X-Factor — “DRIFT” by Frank Dewaele

News & Docs — “The Big Ugly” by Máquina Voadora – Produções

Drone Use in Feature Film, TV or Advertising — “The Eagle Huntress” by Otto Bell

Showreel — “Aerial Frontiers” by Sam Short

Narrative — “Cardboard Cadet” by Chris Castor

Made in LA — “Muscle-Up” by Robert McIntosh

The New York City Drone Film Festival will take place on March 3, 2018. Submissions for the 2018 NYCDFF are open until January 7th. Be sure to enter your film to have a chance to be featured in one of the top drone film festivals in the world!