Ian Smith

Commercial drone industry expert

Looking down at the planet has always been one of my favorite things.

ian smith helicopter pilot

Ian has had a professional career which spans 11-years. He has extensive experience in aviation, drones, and technology startups—specifically, SaaS. He started his career as a commercial helicopter pilot and flight instructor but pivoted towards robotics and automation. He is based in San Francisco, CA.

Ian has a laser focus on the commercial drone industry and has worked for two of the world’s leading drone companies—one a hardware OEM in France (Delair), the other, a SaaS company, in San Francisco (DroneDeploy). His well-rounded business acumen stems from his years brokering jet fuel to the Fortune 500 and propensity for thriving in high-pressure environments comes from his hundreds of hours in the cockpit as a pilot.

In 2017 Ian was named one of the most influential people in the drone industry by Commercial UAV News.

In 2016 Ian created Commercial Drones FM, a media company which produces a podcast that helps listeners explore the people, concepts, and business of commercial drones. It has held the #1 spot in the Aviation category on Apple Podcasts, generated over 375,000+ downloads, and is supported directly by listeners through Patreon.

Ian also created the Commercial Drones Slack group, which has grown to over 450 members—of which include CEOs and founders from Pix4D, DroneDeploy, Skyward, Propeller, Redbird; team members from PrecisionHawk, Kespry, QueenB, Drone Base, Skysense, Skycatch, DJI, Esri, Delair-Tech, Airware, 3D Robotics, Google[X]; global commercial drone advocates; legal experts, and more.

Follow Ian Smith on Twitter @SkyCapture and @DronesPodcast