Guest AIRONE

SKYVIEW HD - PILOTS BEWARE

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Guest AIRONE

I recently attended a 4 day Cell Tower Training in Georgia with SkyView HD with the promise of $100/ tower    5 towers a day.  The best opportunity in the drone world with the promise of a six figure income is what the phone interview was like.

It was by far the most unorganized, unprofessional, and unfriendly training I have ever been to in any discipline over the last 20 years.                                                                                                                          The phone "Interview" was full of misleading information and was not transparent at all. Meaning - they never tell ya that the pilot is 100% responsible for ALL expenses;  Nor do they tell ya that it is very much a full time travel job. Cell Tower Pilots are ALWAYS on the road.  

We were told on the 3rd day of training that we probably wouldn't make much money the 1st few weeks out; because a beginning pilot could never shoot enough towers in one day to cover there own gas, time on the road and Hotel and food expenses.  The whole thing was one big rip off. Skyviews Training was a good example of how Industry takes advantage of pilot enthusiasm thinking that pilots will somehow be happy working for nothing.  One pilot did the math on a job he would have to drive a few states away to.  After 4 days he calculated he would be at - $52. Not exactly moving towards those six figures is it?  I tried complaining to the company and demanding a refund for the training, but you can imagine how well that went.

They were not upfront and honest about what was required of the pilot before the training. I felt like I was being handled by pro use car sales men from the 1st phone call.  I should have known better. I hope my experience can serve as a warning to others. Beware of Skyview HD.  Training with them was a very very unpleasant experience. Beware Pilots SkyviewHD is NOT what they pretend to be.

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Thanks for that post.  I live in Georgia as well and although I never thought about them, at least now I know to stay away!  I have no personal experience with cell tower inspections but I believe we have other users of this site who are well versed in it. Let's see what the reaction is.

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I had to find it, but I have a mailer on my desk from a "drone pilot network".  "Sign up now and start making money".  8 missions per day at $50/mission would give you $400 per day.  That all sounds great if the pilot stood in one position and the clients came to him and stood in line and waited their turn! Well, not gonna happen.  And then factor in gas, insurance, maintenance, blah, blah, blah.  This stuff really gets to me.

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It gets to me too.  But when I mention my concerns I’m often critisized for “causing controversy, having an agenda, etc.  it’s really getting old - so am I so I’m becoming less politically correct in my assessment. 

Sure, there are a lot of people desperate to hang out a shingle and claim their professionals and yes there’s a lot of opportunity to make money with drones.  Consider the work, companies need actionable information to make all kinds of decisions about all kinds of things. Look at the things they need to inspect and the consequences of making the wrong decisions!  

Does anyone have any idea how much a cell tower costs to construct?  The engineering that goes into it?  The value of the equipment on it?  What it takes to install and repair the equipment etc.?  They are expensive little engineering marvels. Does anyone honestly believe that data collected for $100 with a toy drone was going to meet the needs of cell tower owners?  

What did you think was going to happen, they were going to give you a company truck, a credit card and pay for your room and food?  Did you honestly think you could scan eight towers a day?  When was the last time you even saw eight towers in a day?  There’s approximately 250,000 cell towers in the US (I have no idea if that’s correct, just a number that’s been floated out there) how big is the US?  It’s not like the cell towers are next door to each other.

if you thnk these guys are a-holes what do you think Crown Castle or American tower thinks of them?  It’s true cell tower owners don’t want to pay much for inspections but as long as people keep buying drones at Bestbuy and showing up at their door willing to practically pay them for the chance to inspect for them and jerks with websites continue to run scams like this why should they pay more?  Why should they change?  

I’ll tell you why it will change.  Has anyone else noticed how crappy cell service has been getting over the past couple of years at the same time the phones are supposedly getting better?  It will start to change when those responsible for the uptime reliability start getting fired for decisions based on data collected by toy drones by people stupid enough to attend these seminars. 

I realize that’s a harsh criticism, however remember, I’m old And my bark is worse than my bite.  @Air One I’m sure you realize how stupid a mistake attending that seminar was but by going public with your experience demonstrates that your have a lot of integrity and your not ashamed of your mistakes.  I’m bitter about your experience because I’ve made the same mistake.  But I’m angry because I tried to warn others and was critisized for the warning.  

This is going to be a very competitive industry, but it can be very lucrative if people would stop, use a little common sense and focus on figuring out how to use drones to collect actionable data to solve a real world problem.  For those that continue to think you can buy a $1000 drone and use a cell phone app to make critical business decisions well your going to be separated from the herd and starve to death...

sorry if I invaded anyone’s safe space.

 

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Well said Chuck - I hope many folks read it before making the same mistake that @Air One (no fault of his own - he just fell into the trap).  And to him I would say, consider an attorney in an effort to recover the "tuition".  You might very well get the money back and even cover legal expenses.  That's the way to stop these scammers.

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Sometimes I actually feel bad or guilty for what I write.

I’d like to believe that the folks at Skyview HD believed that they had figured out a good model and their intentions where honest.  But there’s a certain amount of group think happening in this industry, if anyone questions the prerogatives of companies like DJI, AirMap, DroneDeploy or even the FAA you get labeled as a troll. 

It’s a bit like the mid 90’s when everyone spoke out against land mines, if you said anything about any of the stupid things being said at all the benifit concerts you were an anarchists.  But was anyone FOR landmines?  

Anyway, I think that even if Skyview HD’s intentions were good they should have known better, but since there’s really very little dessenting debate about the policies of the companies influencing this industry, maybe they didn’t know.  

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Guest AIRONE
39 minutes ago, Av8Chuck said:

Sometimes I actually feel bad or guilty for what I write.

I’d like to believe that the folks at Skyview HD believed that they had figured out a good model and their intentions where honest.  But there’s a certain amount of group think happening in this industry, if anyone questions the prerogatives of companies like DJI, AirMap, DroneDeploy or even the FAA you get labeled as a troll. 

It’s a bit like the mid 90’s when everyone spoke out against land mines, if you said anything about any of the stupid things being said at all the benifit concerts you were an anarchists.  But was anyone FOR landmines?  

Anyway, I think that even if Skyview HD’s intentions were good they should have known better, but since there’s really very little dessenting debate about the policies of the companies influencing this industry, maybe they didn’t know.  

"They didnt Know!?"  Naw man, they were deceptive and misleading from the very 1st phone call. ANY human being KNOWS when they are not being fully honest.  They know what they are doing: trying to make as much money as possible per tower and they dont care if the pilot gets burned in the process - they still get paid well for the data the pilot gathers at his own expense . They make money off the pilots efforts whether the pilot has anything left over after All Expenses...? they dont care about that, and they dont want you to know about that either. Thats why its not till the 3rd day into the training that they then reveal how unlikely it is for a beginning pilot to do much more that break even; because of all the expenses.  They Know!

They dont want YOU to know. Because the the pie in the sky they are "used-car-like" selling would come crashing down, and they would have no one attending their rip off trainings; nor would they have a pool of pilots they could take advantage of.  

I posted this to warn other Pilots, not to split hairs about intentions or analyse the industry. I wanted to Warn Pilots to Avoid SkyviewHD. I dont like the drama inherent in making this kind of post and I waited weeks before I did. Finally it came down to wanting to warn other Pilots; other people like me.  I did not want SkyviewHD to be able to operate in the shadows and take advantage of other pilots. That is my personal bottom line.  I lost a lot of money pursuing their false promises, and I realized I owed it to the Pilot community to warn them about SkyviewHD.  The Most Misleading, Unorganized, Unprofessional and Unfriendly Training I have ever experienced.

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Guest AIRONE

Thanks Ed,

Its not my Goal to go after them. I wanted to put out a big heads up for Pilots to be aware of company tactics like this. The more of us who are aware of these kinds of companies the better it is for the industry as a whole... the better the industry.. the more respect Pilots will get.

The industry is young. I think SkyviewHD, along with many similar Industry Brokers, are caught in the growing pains of how to manage themselves in a respectful way with regard to pilots. The industry is making a big mistake treating good and qualified pilots like they are a dime a dozen. Thinking that "any kid with a toy from Best Buy could do this job"  is a self destructive attitude to have if you are a data broker, and it compromises  the Key commodity of this Industry; no matter the application, Quality Data. Without qualified and reliable pilots they have nothing to sell. I find it surprising that Pilots, being such an intergral part of the data stream, get so little respect.

Without a well trained and well paid Pilot base there is no reliable data stream to offer the various industries. The applications of drones is massive and wide reaching; so much so, every used car salesman thinks he can grab a piece of the pie. But there is more to it than that. Its a bigger river than the small / selfish minded can see. The Broker companies who win the race for these "Territories" are going to be those with good and Respectful Pilot Relations! 

 

Edited by AIRONE

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Frankly, I feel the lack of respect starts with the FAA.  Like all pilot certificates, we are required to study long and hard.  We are then required to take an FAA exam at an authorized facility, pay our $150 and then we are certificated.  But there's nothing we can do to get authorization to fly in many areas.  Sport pilots and above get on the radio or the phone and are cleared to fly.  It is assumed, since they hold a certificate, that they are knowledgeable and responsible.  So what are we?  Chopped liver?  I know, LAANC is coming soon (my area goes live July 19th). And to your point about pilots, it will be interesting to see what percentage of current certificate holders take the recurrent test and "re-up".  I've said before that I believe the renewals will drop off substantially.  I'm due at the end of August but no word on what I will need to do.

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It's been almost two months since my SkyViewHD class, and first out of state mission. Let me say it's been a learning experience. Most of what I learned has been about the potential of this industry. We are the first to use consumer technology to solve industrial challenges. Fellow pilots, we are the ones saving lives by keeping linemen off 200 foot tall towers. And we are paying the price all pioneers pay. When I look back at my classmates, I saw those who dove in head first; driving cross country and roughing it for weeks. I also saw those who couldn't pass the final exam. But what I saw most is potential. No one is going to get rich inspecting towers with a drone. But I can say that anyone who is properly trained and supported can generate income. Let us as pilots and independent contractors demand that this industry provide support and training before the cell phone companies move the drone inspection in house and phase is out altogether. I can only speak for myself when I say that my SkyView HD experience was one of tremendous growth and personal sacrifice for an opportunity. 

Edited by Joseph Dell
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I completed their training, and actually worked a few jobs for them. With that being said, this company is a sham. They make most of their money getting people to take their overpriced training courses. It's not worth it. Watch a youtube video lol. I personally think the majority of the problems starts with Wes Watkins. Very poor management skills for someone with the title director of flight operations. It's been almost 4 months since the "big rollout" was suppose to occur, but I doubt it's going to happen. A lot of talk, but then again, how else get someone to pay that much money for their so called investment in your drone future lol. Please save yourself the money, and stay away from this company. 

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On 4/20/2018 at 6:46 AM, Joseph Dell said:

But what I saw most is potential.

That's a great observation but I think much of the pushback in this thread is that you don't need to pay for training to realize the potential that's out there.

On 4/20/2018 at 6:46 AM, Joseph Dell said:

We are the first to use consumer technology to solve industrial challenges. Fellow pilots, we are the ones saving lives by keeping linemen off 200 foot tall towers.

One question you might want to consider is are consumer drones the right tool.  Its not really about the drones, its about methodology.  Can you create a workflow that is safe, redundant, repeatable etc., with a consumer drone.  That's where lives are saved and value is added.  What these types of companies are claiming is that you can accomplish this with consumer drones.  I think most people who have experience with this sort of work would tend to disagree.  If the cell tower owners believed that drones could provide reliable data and save lives they'd be willing to pay considerably more for the service.

 

 

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