Story by Jessica Vik
4-H Wahkiakum Robotics Club
Wahkiakum 4-H and Wahkiakum High School hosted Hilltop Aerial on May 11 at the football field. The small business owned by siblings Kyler and Maddie Standley and their friend Trevor Kent, brought their six-prop drone named Wingnut to give a demo. Wingnut is a work drone with a 6′ diameter. It can legally lift 25 lbs. and fly at 35 MPH.
This drone was the idea of their grandfather Mark Standley Sr. who owned Pacific UAV. They worked under his guidance after school and during the summer learning the trade for six years. Kyler who wanted to be a logger had to wait till age 18 to join the family business, but at 16 he could take his Part 107 test and fly drones. This got him in the logging industry two years earlier, laying out yarder settings by flying Phillystran (an engineered rope with a 7,500 lb breaking strength) across canyons for the yarder to pull haywire through their tailhold and lay out their lines. The job is now complete in 30 minutes instead of two back breaking days of stringing it through the bottom of the canyon by hand.
After their grandfather retired, they created their own business, Hilltop Aerial, which just celebrated their first year in business. Along with the logging industry they are active in agriculture, firefighting, and water rescue. Depending on the industry you are in, the drone can fly toy hose (small diameter fire hose) making a fire break, spray for fields, life jackets or inflatable rafts that it can then in turn pull back to shore. This is a tool they see as making industries safer and saving lives.
Hilltop Aerial strives to give excellent customer service starting with delivering the drone in person, flying lessons, and support. When pilots crash, they are right there to provide service getting them back in the air as quickly as possible because time is money for loggers. Growing up in a logging family they understand this concept well. Cathlamet’s Jerry Debriae Logging was one of their early customers. Word of mouth between loggers is by far their best way of spreading business on how new technology can join the long standing industry. To find out more about Hilltop Aerial go to https://hilltop-aerial.com.