June 2020 Pilot Spotlight | Nelson Aerial Productions, Inc.

Nelson Aerial Productions, Inc.

Name: Jordan Nelson

Year Established: 2013


Welcome to the first edition of the ‘Pilot Spotlight’.  The goal of the Pilot Spotlight is to introduce you to Pilots whose work I follow and greatly admire.  Also, it’s a great way to gain the perspective of Pilots who are running their own businesses.  They will offer their foresight for where the industry is headed; all from a Boots-On-The-Ground perspective.  And, guide us to where they see is the greatest demand for the Drone Industry.  So if you’re just starting your Drone Business, or are interested in starting one, here is some great advice from Pilots who are ‘In the know”.

So, please join me in welcoming my first guest, someone who lives in one of the most beautiful parts of the US; Boone, North Carolina, and someone who happens to take un-believable images of building demolition.  How Slick, how Unique:  Building Demolition from a Drones Eye View!

 So, please help me welcome Jordan Nelson, from Nelson Aerial Productions, Inc.

The Droney:  What propelled you to start your company:

Jordan Nelson: The positive feedback and referrals I was receiving within the first few days of posting content made me realize this was a great business opportunity.  I had always felt that owning my own business was what was best for my future and I knew the industry was in its infancy at the time so I decided to act and take advantage of that.

The Droney: What did you do, before you built your company:

Jordan Nelson:  I had just graduated from college in Dec 2012 and started working for the same University in February 2013 doing housekeeping for the academic buildings.  I bought the Phantom 1 in March 2013 and balanced the 2 until July 2014 when I left my job to pursue my business full time.

The Droney:  Which of your Drone Services are in the greatest demand:

Jordan Nelson:  For me, videography/cinematography and photography are the greatest demand.  I do some mapping from time to time and also volunteer my services to local emergency management and police departments to assist with S&R or other LE needs.

The Droney:  Your best method for finding business:

Jordan Nelson: By far my best method is word of mouth.  95% of my business to date is via word of mouth.  I find that if you can produce an incredible finished product your clients will want to bring you more business.

The Droney:  Best thing about running your own business:

Jordan Nelson:  Time freedom

The Droney:  Worst thing about running your own business:

Jordan Nelson:  Time freedom, to clarify there are times when you can take some time off whenever you like but there are times where you might work 7+ days past midnight.

The Droney:  What accounting software do you use for your drone service:

Jordan Nelson:  I use Quickbooks

The Droney:  Did you start a professional entity for your drone business:  LLC? Corporation? S-Corp? C-Corp?

Jordan Nelson:  For the first 5 years I was only a sole-proprietor but starting in 2018 I became an S-Corp.

The Droney:  How do you handle liability for your flights:  Per flight or is your entity covered as a Drone Service Provider?

Jordan Nelson:  I have a 1-million dollar liability policy through Selective Insurance.  Fortunately, I’m grandfathered in because they no longer offer drone policies.  For jobs that require more than one-million I offer per-flight additional coverage through Verifly.

The Droney:  Where do you see the drone business in 5 years, 10 years:

Jordan Nelson:  It will certainly be more corporate IMO.  Almost all industries and big companies have a drone department of some sort and that will continue to grow.  There will always be work for individuals but the big money will be with the large corporations.  I think drone delivery will certainly be a thing in that time frame starting in the cities and spreading out to suburban areas.  I think you’ll see drone hubs on rooftops where packages will be delivered.

The Droney:  What is the most interesting drone “Use Case” you have heard of:

Jordan Nelson:  I recently read an article about using drones to plant millions of trees.  I think that is as quick and as efficient as planting trees can be.  Being able to fly pre-programmed grid routes allows for unprecedented coverage for growing forests.

The Droney:  Can you share with my readers a couple of your all-time favorite photos and the story behind them?

Jordan Nelson:

This photo is of Hole #15 at Linville Ridge Country Club near Banner Elk, NC. The reason why it’s one of my favorites is that it’s a great example of utilizing drones to achieve angles most don’t think of.  This could pass as a ground photo but anyone that knows this course knows that this can’t be from the ground.  Using a drone isn’t all about getting high shots.  In the early years, any drone shot was awesome because it was an angle no one had ever seen.  Now, high drone shots are a dime a dozen.  Factor in using tighter focal lengths and you have images that really grab people’s attention.  This was shot with a 45mm lens at about 20ft AGL.  From this height and focal length, one can see the entire hole as well as the drop off behind the hole that reveals long-range views of Table Rock and the Linville Gorge.

The Droney:  Wow!  What a great explanation of this image.  If you hadn’t ever thought of using tighter focal lenghts to provide some Gravitas to your Drone Images, you may want to start.  You can add intensity to your images by adjusting your Focal Lengths, which are sure to be real “crowd pleasers”.

Georgia Dome Explosion

This photo is a top-down view of the Georgia Dome implosion in Atlanta, GA. This implosion is probably best known for The Weather Channel’s live feed being blocked by a MARTA bus! We’ve filmed 16 implosions and this still shot is our favorite because of the uniqueness to the roof of this dome.  The way that the material tore and waved as it fell into the dust was incredible, throw in the morning sunlight shining in and it’s one of our favorites!

The Droney: I have to admit, this is Pulitzer Prize material here!  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a photo so perfectly timed and authentic.   I’ll bet Jordan was under some serious pressure to get this perfect the first time through.  It’s not like he could say; hold it, hold it!  We’ve got to do another take, the building didn’t collapse in the right direction and dust got in the way of my angle..  You’re a true professional, Jordan!

The Droney:  What other services do you provide:

Jordan Nelson: We also provide full video and audio production to fully integrate our aerial video and photo work if need be.

The Droney:  Where can we find your work?  And how can we contact you?

Jordan Nelson:  www.nelsonaerialpros.com and jordan@nelsonaerialpros.com

If you want to follow Jordan’s work, connect with him on Facebook

or Instagram, or, even better, if you want to see some of his Mad Videography skills visit his Youtube Channel


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