Despite controversy, one ABQ drone business is booming

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE)- Two Albuquerque men are making big bucks from their drone business.

“A drone, technically is an unmanned vehicle with an imaging sensor so, we have the unmanned vehicle and then we have, our imaging sensor today is just a GoPro,” explained Paul Aitken.

Some worry the small machines can lead to prying eyes. It’s drawn so much controversy, the FAA banned commercial drone use without special permission but, two federal judges have ruled they don’t have that authority, yet.

With no law on the books, Paul Aitken and Jason Bache have a booming business.

Aitken got into drones two years ago and Bache even more recently, their client list spans more than four dozen in six different states.

“The clients began as social media clients and, you know, basically in passing saw the reels and, as a result, ended up saying, ‘oh, okay. Can you do that for us?'” Bache said.

It started with Aitken’s social media clients. Mortgage companies started asking him for aerial photos and videography, so Aitken went to school and got his certification.

“Once I started filming homes, I realized the other videos that were coming out by other “drone” operators and drone pilots and I thought, I could do it better,” said Aitken.

Before long, Aitken’s business was expanding through word of mouth. He shot virtual tours for realtors across Albuquerque before the National Association of Broadcasters caught wind of his work.

“Our business grew together through the NAB and going out to Las Vegas and presenting to almost 100,000 people how to use drones to get the work they want,” says Aitken.

It’s exactly what they needed to propel their business. The two have shot everything from the Pittsburgh Marathon to the first FAA sanctioned drone demonstration at an air show.

If you’re worried you might see yourself or your home in the pair’s next reel, don’t be. They have to have your permission first- that goes for all drone operators.

While most of their business is out of state now, the two say they’re helping the local economy and helping to ease breach of privacy concerns with a new app.

Legal Flyer is designed to streamline the process for obtaining property releases so drones can get the footage folks like filmmakers, movie scouts, aerial photographers and hobbyists are looking for. It’s set to come out in two weeks.

Aitken said New Mexico has become the number one testing ground for drones in the United States.

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