"Being a trail blazer in the industry" - DroneGrid's First Female Drone Pilot

8 March 2018

Our drone pilots are an important pillar of our end-to-end aerial intelligence solution. One of these pilots is Lieve van Gijsel, a drone pilot who excels at delivering data quality for DroneGrid’s customer projects. Lieve tells us more about her experience as a female pilot in this very male-dominated tech world.

Industrial Beginnings

Already in the industrial solutions and equipment industry, Lieve began her career with drones when she first saw drones used in the repair of a wind turbine in France. “At the time we focused on aerial platform rental, so I thought drones would be a nice added value to our business”.

While her company began in 2015, legislation that allowed flight of commercial drones in Belgian airspace had yet to be approved. This provided her with an opportunity to fully prepare. “We took this time to investigate the market, to understand the kind of drones we needed, and all the possibilities with them. We followed all courses and by the time the new legislation was passed, we were ready.”

A New Opportunity with DroneGrid

With her company, Lieve has since worked on various types of projects related to inspections, mapping, and surveying using drones. “The technology aspect is very interesting to me. The software and digital tools are exciting to work with for a lot of people.” Her primary areas of scope are petrochemical and construction industries, and her partnership with DroneGrid helped her expand her scope of projects into new industries such as Solar.

The ease of use and the speed of operations are two aspects Lieve enjoys, when working with DroneGrid, but the real highlight for her is the platform towards the end customer. “It truly provides a unique visualization experience for the customer. It’s very nice.”

A Unique Experience

Lieve’s experience in the drone industry appears unique, considering it is not a field where you find a lot of women working. “I do know of other women that work in the industry, but I often still find myself the only woman on site for a specific operation. It’s really a man’s world.” But this doesn’t seem to bother her much.

“Sometimes you can appear to be out of place on those sites, being the only woman there. But I don’t really notice it anymore and I personally don’t mind it too much either.” Considering her success in the projects she takes on, perhaps they don’t mind that on those sites either!

Lieve’s advice to women who want to be a part of this industry would be the same as for anyone else who’d be interested in being a part of it: “Be interested in all aspects of drone technology, not just the pictures. It’s a lot more than just flying! In fact, that’s only the start.”

Up for the Challenge

Willingness to take on interesting challenges is another important aspect of this job and one Lieve will not shy away from. “The more I hear a project is impossible the more I want to do it. I’m trying to go where no one else goes, to be one step ahead of the competition, to innovate.”

While sometimes this can be a tough job, for Lieve it’s worth it. “There is a lot of excitement in this booming industry and there are still lots of opportunities in the market to push things further in what’s possible with drones.”

“You just need to be a little adventurous!”

Is DroneGrid the right place for you?

With 17 countries and counting DroneGrid is constantly expanding its pilot network as we onboard new customers and industries.

Contact us for more information