With the introduction and massive adoption of smart phones at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, social media was catapulted from a fringe business to one that completely dominated the internet in just a few years. A new form of entertainment was born, and a new wave of individuals who could identify an audience and discover a need adopted new ways of introducing concepts and products to a young audience that had turned sour on established media such as radio and TV.

These individuals are called “influencers.” Not surprisingly, many of these individuals have found their way into unmanned aviation.

Recently, a powerful group of influencers have emerged in our industry as forces to contend with. They analyze new products and have a huge impact in the sales and general acceptance of new technology.

We reached out to one of these influencers in our industry, Rafa Ocón, also known as DroneGuru. Rafa has over 100K followers in every continent where Spanish is spoken.

“There’s an immense need for information regarding what can be done and what’s prohibited in the world of drones,” Rafa said with enthusiasm. “There’s also an appetite for training and formal instructions, so we do both. I see my role as an educator, and nothing gives me more satisfaction than to read that my followers are getting certified and are flying safely.”

Originally, Rafa was a filmmaker, a profession that he enhanced and upgraded when he added drones to his portfolio, creating unique and visually stunning videos that catapulted his company to huge success. His original struggles to find appropriate and accurate information about drones and how to pilot them gave him the idea to add a training school for pilots as part of the services of his company.

“I had a real hard time finding real and accurate information about the different drone models, the requirements of the civil aviation authority, and the implications of flying an unmanned aircraft with the local authorities,” Rafa said reflectively. “That gave me an idea to create a YouTube channel focused on giving my followers the most accurate and relevant information that would allow them to be successful in the world of unmanned aviation with a minimum amount of wasted time.”

Rafa’s channel grew exponentially the first year, reaching 120,000 followers just a few weeks ago and adding new subscriptions almost daily. His audience encompasses every Spanish-speaking country around the Globe. The reviews of his multiple postings and videos are a demonstration that Rafa’s initial instinct for the need of information was correct.

“At the beginning we focused on the use of drones for aerial photography and the amazing things that can be done and the stunning effects that can only be obtained from high above.” Rafa said with enthusiasm. “But then we moved on to add specific lessons on what do in other areas such as mapping, inspections, and many other industries that can be improved by the use of these incredible uncrewed machines.”

Rafa and his team are planning to expand the flying school to other regions where regulations are different, and a deep knowledge of the airspace is needed for success. We wish him all the luck in the world in his role of not only evangelist but also educator and a voice of reason in this new and exciting industry.

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