YouTuber & Video Creator
For today’s interview session, we have someone special from the drone YouTube community.
He is Billy Kyle, a young and passionate drone YouTuber who posts drones and other tech videos.
Hailing from the United States, he just breached 80k subscribers and keep making drone videos for the internet.
In this interview, we talk in-depth with Billy on how he introduced himself to drones, peek inside his drone kit, plans for the channel, opinion about the FAA Remote ID proposal, tips for making a living off producing drone content, his hobby, and so on.
Billy is a jack of all trades when it comes to drones. Thus, we’re sure you will find this interview fun and informative and may even inspire you to become the next drone YouTube star like him.
Let’s sit back and see what Billy has to say for us!
Let’s Start the Interview
Welcome Billy Kyle, Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you fall in love with drones?
Thanks for having me on and putting together these questions, Oliver.
I started flying drones 4 years ago after I bought my Phantom 4 with some money that I saved up from a summer job.
It was on sale at the time, and I thought it would be a cool gadget to take different photos and videos. I was determined to fly it as much as possible to justify my investment and ended up falling in love with traveling to different places to fly my drone.
I noticed a lack of short, informative tutorials covering drones on YouTube, so I decided to step up and fill the niche, which has led me to where I am today.
What does your drone kit contains? Have you ever before crashed up a drone?
Right now I am rocking three drones inside of my bag, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, the DJI Mavic Air 2, and the Autel EVO II 8K. Some might say carrying three drones is total overkill, but they each serve a different purpose inside of my kit to accomplish certain tasks.
Aside from drones, I’m also rocking a DJI Smart Controller, a GoalZero power bank, various charging cables, and a set of SanDisk External SSD’s to store all the footage that I shoot.
Addressing that next question, of course, I’ve crashed a drone! I think it’s a part of the learning experience, but it sure doesn’t mean that flying drones recklessly is acceptable.
All of my crashes have been mitigated to low-risk areas, so luckily, no people or property has been damaged.
Will the DJI drones face stiff competition with Autel EVO II and Skydio 2 or continue its drone market dominance?
Like the three drones in my kit right now, EVERY drone has its purpose. The Skydio 2 is a great drone to track fast-moving subjects, the Autel EVO II is excellent for the prosumer drone flier that wants to be free of DJI’s FlySafe system, but with my experience, DJI’s drones will remain at the top for one reason: reliability.
They have proven over the years to improve the flight characteristics with every new drone release, and this is evident with the small Mavic Mini that you’d expect to fly like a toy, but flies like a true Mavic drone that everyone is used to.
On top of that, there should be a level of trust an operator has with their drone to do the right thing every time it encounters an obstacle, every time it returns to home by itself, and every time that something goes wrong.
My level of trust in DJI’s products surpasses that of every other manufacturer, which makes it very hard to switch.
How are you staying motivated to post drone videos during the COVID-19?
Despite this hard time, the entire world has been faced with, drone flying is one of the many activities that has kept me sane, and I’m sure it has helped many others cope with the change. It’s something I can do by myself from secluded locations while maintaining my distance from others.
All-in-all, right now, my motivation comes from the fact that I just graduated from college. Now more than ever, I need to prepare myself to enter the real world, and while the pandemic has hurt a lot of people, I am trying to do everything I can to stay afloat.
With 80k YouTube subscribers accomplished, what do you wish to achieve next in your drone adventure?
Something that I have always wanted to incorporate with the name I have built for myself is a paid training course sharing my knowledge on how other drone operators can turn their hobby into a part-time or full-time job. I’ll always be posting a majority of my content for free to YouTube, but I think my next big project is to create a masterclass of sorts for those who want to learn even more about the drone industry.
How have people reacted to your content? Where do you see your drone work making the highest impact online?
With my content being heavily tutorial-based, I find it makes most of an impact on YouTube. So many people love learning from YouTube videos, and I can’t blame them; I’d much rather watch a YouTube video than go through a manual or forum.
I consider myself to be a visual learner, and I think that with drones, being able to walk a viewer through the topic at hand in video form is the best way.
I’m thrilled to have helped people out who were stuck in the same position: with a brand-new drone that they don’t know how to use correctly.
What do you think about the FAA Remote ID and how it will impact drone pilots?
I think that in a sense, Remote ID has the opportunity to do a lot of good for the drone community as a whole. Let’s face it; we need a way for our drones to integrate with the already busy airspace and with the even busier airspace that is about to come as drones are used even more.
Despite my hopes, I still am worried about how it will get implemented and how much of the operators’ information will be made available.
Although I appreciate the uses for drones in the future through applications like search and rescue and delivery, I am a recreational flier at heart, and the last thing I want is our opportunity to fly where we want to be stripped away.
I hope that the FAA considers everyone with their decision and doesn’t just follow the money.
You probably heard of the imminent ban on DJI drones for government use. Do you think US drone companies can compete with DJI?
The answer is flat out no. There aren’t any other manufacturers that have established such a polished lineup as DJI has, each can serve different capabilities.
Their ecosystem of products and software is truly unmatched. I understand the national government has to weigh their options in light of past encounters with products made by foreign companies.
But, with how much good drones can do, I wish they’d look at quality over nationality.
If it’s the difference between saving 100 more lives per month within a police force because they have the best tools to do their job (in this case being a DJI drone), then that should be enough to justify their use.
What are your tips for drone users who are looking to take amazing pics and clips like the ones you upload?
Practice, practice, practice. It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny outside, it doesn’t matter what the temperature is, it doesn’t matter if you have a beautiful subject matter to shoot, just get out there and fly.
Take images of trees, take images of empty lakes, take images of anything you can to improve the control of your drone further, and to enhance your shot composition.
Soon you’ll realize when you’re flying… “wow, that was easy!” and all that flying you may have thought was meaningless, actually amounted to something.
What would be your advice to rookie drone content creators just getting started with creating YouTube videos for a living?
Probably the best tips I can offer anyone looking to post YouTube videos is SHARE EVERYTHING. Anything that gets posted online should be shared through every avenue possible, text the link to your family members, send it through Facebook to your friends, do anything you can to get as many eyeballs for your work as possible.
I call this “priming the algorithm,” so as YouTube sees all the traffic you are generating, it will start promoting your videos from within alongside others in the browse section.
Even to this day, I blast my videos out through social media to bring as much attention to it as possible, I am still “priming the algorithm” in a sense.
What are a few of the most interesting cases you have discovered drones getting used recently?
I think the most exciting way I have seen drones used to this date is fighting fires. Using massive octocopter drones to carry large payloads, the operator can funnel water from a ground-based container and shoot it directly into the fire.
I have even seen these drones equipped with launchers that shoot repellent bombs into fires from further distances. I got to see these drones at CES a few years back and would love the opportunity to see them in action, so long as no one is in actual danger!
What are your predictions to the drone market?
Drones everywhere! I predict that drones will find their way into more industries than we first imagined and will further aid us in deliveries, search and rescue, and even data sharing (kind of like Facebook’s scrapped Aquila drone).
It further begs the question as to how me, as an everyday drone operator, will fly, but I intend on crossing that bridge when it gets there. I’m fascinated with how the drone industry booms over the next decade.
What is something exciting people do not realize about you? While you are not with drones and tech, where should we find you?
Something that people might not know about me is that I played lacrosse throughout high school, and college thus continue to participate in a men’s league to stay in shape.
I play goalie, and for those who are familiar with the sport will know that it certainly is not to the faint of heart.
Aside from that, I’m always spending time with my caring girlfriend, Francesca, who provides me so much support through all my ventures, she is my rock. 🙂
Many people see up to you as an influencer in the drone niche; who are a few drone YouTubers you think our readers should check out?
Their videos stand out as being fun and informative; anyone absorbing the info they put out will be guided on the right path.
This interview was great! I think we covered everything. Thank you, Oliver, for having me on, and thanks to all the My Dear Drone readers to take the time to get to know about me. Now get out there and fly!