5.24.19 - Memorial Day Weekend

“I walked in the fire station all jolly and happy and no one would speak to me!" - Decatur Fire Chief Toni Washington


Are Chinese drones stealing our data?


People have worried about it for years and now the Department of Homeland Security is reaffirming suspicions. They’re officially saying we should be afraid Chinese-made drones could be taking our sensitive flight information and sending it back to their manufacturers where the Chinese government could access it, too. The report doesn’t name names but of course we all know DJI is headquartered in Shenzhen, China. And fun fact: Up to 80% of drones used in the U.S. and Canada are made by DJI (according to one industry analysis).

DJI has responded, saying our data ain’t none of their business. They said in a statement that their goal is to make a reliable drone platform that gives their customers “complete control over how their data is collected, managed, and transferred.”

So what does it all mean for you as a drone pilot (especially one in public safety)? Well... if you’re surveilling your annual watermelon eatin’ festival... then yeah, you probably don’t have to be too worried. But if Lockheed Skunk Works is in your backyard? It’s worth giving us a call.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. DHS says it has “strong concerns” that Chinese-made drones could be stealing our sensitive flight information.

  2. DJI responds by saying they want us to control our own information - it isn’t their business.

  3. We have software partners who can help keep your data secure!

Why should you care?

Because you might be flying some sensitive operations and you want to know who has access to your stuff. If this is a serious concern for you, call us -- we always have your back and will walk you through all your options!





Airplane and helicopter detectors coming to DJI drones

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Speaking of DJI… the company announced this week that it’s putting ADS-B sensors on all its drones released in 2020 and beyond. They’re branding the detectors as “AirSense” and while your drone won’t automatically fly away from a plane, at least you’ll know when one’s nearby! If you have the Matrice 200 or the Mavic 2 Enterprise then you may already be familiar with this feature.

What you need to know:

  1. The U.S. government is requiring traditional aircraft that fly through many controlled airspaces to send out ADS-B signals by January 1, 2020.

  2. All DJI drones released in 2020 and beyond will be able to pick up those signals!

  3. Some of the professional-grade drones already have this tech on board.

Why should you care?

Your new drone will warn you when a plane or helicopter is headed in your direction, which is pretty freaking sweet. You’ll still have to actually fly out of the way, but this should help make the skies safer for everyone.





Come fly drones with us in Colorado


We’re setting up a bunch of live burns and giving you the chance to have actual drone flying time in a couple weeks! We have some of the biggest names in the industry joining us -- Pix4D, Dronesense, FirstNet, MSA, and more! We can’t wait to bring you the most immersive emerging technology training experience ever conceived. Proudly hosted at SERTC in Pueblo, CO June 5-7.  

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Skyfire and SERTC are bringing you the most incredible public safety training conference EVERRR!

  2. You don’t have to be an expert drone pilot to attend! We believe in hands-on learning.

  3. Propellerheads special! Register with code XPO50 for 50% off!

Why should you care?

SafeCon 2019 is going to be the largest public safety technology conference of its kind, and you wouldn't want to miss out on that, would you?!

Register Here





June 5-7

The Safety Conference

Presented by SERTC and Skyfire, SafeCon 2019 will be the nation's most comprehensive public safety technology training conference ever. - $599

June 13-14

North Tahoe UAS Skills Camp

2-day tactical training camp - $199



Hey! We know these three ladies in the news this week! Chiefs Toni Washington, Vera Morrison and Ninetta Violante serve right here in our backyard of Decatur, Georgia. And they’re the only fire command staff in the entire world where all three top positions are held by women. Let that sink in for a minute... We’re so happy to call this city home and are proud of these women for setting an amazing example to the rest of the world!


That's it for this week, friends! We’re off to pack up a ton of gear and head for Colorado. See you when we get back!

P.S. You digging Propellerheads? Yeah? Us, too! Why don't you forward it over to a buddy or encourage them to sign up here. We have a blast putting it together each week and the more the merrier!