Interview with Kara Murphy- a Bay Area-based certified remote pilot, marketing consultant, and writer

1. First of all can you quickly introduce yourself and tell us how you got introduced to drones?
I’m a Bay Area-based Part 107-certified remote pilot and freelance marketing consultant working with top companies in the drone industry including DroneDeploy, Flying Robot international Film Festival, and Drone360 Magazine. I started out with traditional photography in 2009 and made friends in the industry. When I encountered aerial shots some of them were taking as early as 2013, I knew I wanted to create something similar. I borrowed a Phantom 1 from my friend and colleague, Eddie Codel, in mid-2014. I lost it on my third flight and got discouraged from flying for awhile.
2. How long have you been flying drones and which model do you currently fly?
I purchased a Phantom Vision 2+ in May of 2015. However, I didn’t work up the courage to start flying until I visited Iceland later that year in November. A beautiful atmosphere is certainly a motivating factor and it forced me to confront my fear of flying. I posted some photos from my adventures and people loved them. That encouragement helped and everything took off from there. I currently fly a DJI Phantom 4 Pro and recently purchased a Mavic for travel purposes.
3. What do you enjoy most about flying drones? What was the most exciting or funny moment while flying your drone?
Flying drones is the best way for me to escape my comfort zone. It’s exhilarating. I also enjoy seeing things from an unconventional perspective. I’ve certainly experienced a few exciting moments while flying. One that comes to mind, recently, is when the head of construction for Salesforce Tower approached my visual observer and I on the sidewalk where we were flying. We weren’t sure what he was going to say to us. He asked to see my monitor and was thrilled with the footage I was creating around the top of the massive, 1,000-plus-foot structure. He gave us his business card and told us to contact him for a personal tour sometime in the near future. We’re still working out the logistics due to all of our busy schedules.
4. Drone flying is quite a male dominated area. Why do you think so? Do you think this is changing soon?
I think drone technology is rooted in traditionally male-dominated professions such as computing, engineering, and aviation. Women weren’t encouraged as much to enter these fields in bygone eras. However, I have noticed an uptick of women getting actively involved over the past few years – and it isn’t because some companies have created “female-friendly” drones. I belong to a private group, Amelia Dronehart, that was started by my amazing friend, Rhianna Lakin. It’s growing everyday. Women and Drones is another excellent hub for highlighting women’s contributions in this field. We’ve built strong support systems that I think will continue to gain traction and encourage more women to get involved.
I recently taught my daughter’s kindergarten class about drones. When I started out by asking if anyone had flown one, three boys raised their hands. However, once I was done explaining the numerous benefits of drones, a few girls approached me and asked where their parents could buy one. Even the teacher and her assistant, both women, wanted recommendations. I think the more we educate younger generations about what’s possible in any area of STEM, the better.
5. What excites you most about the future of drones?
Wow, this is a tough one. There are so many ways drones are, and will continue, to impact areas including agriculture, construction, and conservation. I’m most excited to see how the technology gets applied to cars for consumer use. It’ll be fascinating to follow the process of how the airspace to support their operation is constructed. Perhaps this is because I’ve lived in heavily-congested areas for most of my life and I’m hoping there’s a better way to get around. I think a solution that moves people from one point to another more conveniently (and affordably) than helicopters or airplanes is necessary as our population continues to grow and life expectancy rates increase.
Thank you very much for the interview Kara. We hope many more women will follow your lead and become part of the thriving drone industry. If you want to find out more about Kara Follow her on Instagram or find out how to hire her here.

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