Drones for Mining: A Pilot's Perspective

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Justin Hensley is a trailblazer in the Nevada Drone Mapping industry.

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As a helicopter and commercial airline pilot with twenty years of experience, Justin Hensley read the writing on the wall and easily understood the value drones would bring to his career. In 2017, he saw an opportunity to leverage his piloting skills through the drone industry. That year he and his wife Karna established Aerial Nevada, LLC, a-first-of-it’s kind drone mapping business in his home state. 

“Nevada has a strong market for mining. With the use of our fleet of DJI drones, we have been able to provide 3D modeling, supporting these mining and open-pit quarries throughout the state. It has been amazing to enter this niche and watch the business grow over the past few years.” - Justin and Karna Hensley

Justin and Karna Hensley of Aerial Nevada, LLC
Justin and Karna Hensley of Aerial Nevada, LLC


Justin and Karna Hensley incorporate DJI technology and SkyWatch.AI insurance to create a safer and smarter drone business.  

Once establishing a drone business, there were two main factors for Justin and Karna to consider: which drones they would use, and what type of drone insurance they needed? Today, when it comes to his 3D modeling jobs, they rely solely on DJI Phantom drones. Justin states that for his line of work, the DJI drones are simply incomparable.

“From my perspective as a 20 year commercial manned pilot, DJI’s geofencing capabilities and their initiative to prevent their drones from flying in certain areas is what truly exemplifies the professionalism and safety capabilities of these products.”

This ability to understand and comply with air regulations, in the same way that manned pilots do, is what gives Justin the full confidence to operate his fleet of Phantom 4 drones. Moreover, non-DJI products do not currently support Justin’s desire to benefit from some of the biggest apps in the industry -  most notably DroneDeploy.

In terms of drone insurance, Justin learned that his needs changed frequently. His coverage and liability limit differed depending on each mission, length, location, and client’s demand. Often, Justin was paying for more coverage than he truly needed.

SkyWatch.AI - DJI Flight Log Portal
SkyWatch.AI - DJI Flight Log Portal

Through SkyWatch.AI’s on-demand hourly and monthly policies, the Hensleys were able to find a quick and easy solution for Aerial Nevada, LLC’s ever changing insurance needs. 

“SkyWatch.AI has allowed us to purchase the exact drone liability coverage for our day to day needs, which is hard to do because that changes regularly. This gives us the flexibility we are looking for in our insurance.” 

SkyWatch.AI understands their desire to operate DJI drones and fly through the given DJI apps. Through the creation of the DJI - SkyWatch.AI Pilot portal, pilots are invited to share their DJI logs in return for a safety score analysis. Pilots who receive a high safety score will be eligible for a higher discount. 

“Being able to integrate my DJI flights in order to save money on my monthly SkyWatch.AI premiums has added great value to my company and business strategy. I am thankful that DJI drones give the opportunity to get my jobs done safely, and it is an even better feeling knowing my insurance company will reward me for doing so.”

When flying through the SkyWatch.AI flight module, DJI’s mobile SDK allows pilots using any DJI drone to immediately have their flight logs analyzed and scored for safety discounts.

Aerial Nevada, LLC offers drone services that transcend trust, professionalism, and safety. 

Today, Aerial Nevada, LLC is a unique and prominent company in the Reno area. There is no doubt that Justin’s career as a commercial pilot, coupled with Karna's expertise and passion for drones, have allowed them to bring a higher level of drone safety to the field.

“When operating a drone, pilots must never become complacent. More than anything, remember that you are operating an aircraft. Drones are more than a toy and when you are operating one, you are interfacing with the airspace. When you are the pilot in command - always respect that privilege.” 

SkyWatch.AI has provided Aerial Nevada, LLC with 45 drone insurance policies to date!

Justin Hensley, Reno NV
Justin Hensley, Reno NV

We are both proud and thankful to grow and develop together with our pilots. We value our customer’s needs and requests and are continuously making our insurance all the more flexible. We thank Aerial Nevada, LLC and Justin and Karna Hensely for helping us create a strong network of smart, safe, and insured drone pilots. 

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