Abilene Drone is flying high over the Big Country

For an average person, the use of drones may be looked at as a hobby. For Luke Howell, drones are bringing out his business mindset and passion for entrepreneurship.

"The drone market is something that's been emerging, and is kind of a new industry," said Howell, founder of Abilene Drone. "We can do video coverage from above and we can get anywhere quickly. The drone is able to fly up to 55 miles per hour so we can cover a large land base fast."

Howell founded Abilene Drone in March of 2017.

"It started just from flying drones," said Howell. "It's something that's fun to do as a recreational activity."

Abilene Drone works to assist other businesses, cover events, and even digs deep into the agricultural roots of the Big Country.

"The drone is basically a tool that we're using, a device," said Howell.

"The goal that we're trying to accomplish here with drones is to be able to excel somebody's business further," said Taylor Durham, a partner of Abilene Drone.

Abilene Drone is certified to fly in the Big Country through the Federal Aviation Administration.

"There are two different avenues you go with flying drones," said Durham. "One you can be a hobbyist and one you can be a remote pilot and certified through the FAA."

"We are trained, we're professional, we are licensed to do this," said Howell.

One of Howell's main purposes for the drones is its opportunity to influence agriculture.   The drone offers Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) filters that have the capabilities to detect problem areas of farmland that may not be seen by the naked eye. On the NDVI scale, the color red indicates where a problem area may be located.

"It definitely saves tons of time in that you can go straight to the problem areas," said Howell.

Abilene Drone gives businesses the opportunity to use the drones as marketing tools.

"Abilene Drone has taken our business to a whole new level," said Matt Robinson, an Abilene Drone customer who uses the drones to take pictures and video of Christmas lights he puts on houses for his business, Christmas Decor. "The pictures that the drone can produce are remarkable with the clarity of it, from different views, from aerial views to ground level views."

"The drone industry is a lot of fun because you get to be really creative," said Howell.

From weddings to golf tournaments, a family outing on the lake, and for real estate purposes, Abilene Drone is continuously revolutionizing the way the general public sees modern businesses in the Big Country.

"The quality of the content that you're going to get out from the professional flying versus you doing it yourself is going to be tremendously different in the way it looks, in the way that it's handled, and the finished product when it's delivered to the customer," said Howell.

As his own private venture is taking off in the Big Country, Howell believes the launch is just the start to a much longer journey up ahead.

"We're basically pioneering an industry right now," said Howell. "It's something very new, it's something very cool still to the general public, and one that not a lot of people know about."

The drone movement has been picked up by other organizations around the Big Country. Most notably, the Abilene Police Department is beginning to use drones to monitor areas from above ground.

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