Young Girl Earns The Title “World’s Youngest Female Drone Videographer”

Since 2019, the AZDrone Festival has been held on the Grand Canyon University campus in Phoenix, Arizona. As stated on the festival website, “AZDroneFest is a film festival and UAS Expo designed to educate, promote, cultivate and celebrate the art of aerial cinematography in Arizona…Attached to the film festival is an education expo with industry panel discussions, keynote speakers and workshops for commercial drone pilots, drone enthusiasts and aerial cinematographers to attend.” This year’s free event took place on October 7, 2023.

Festival attendees had a chance to witness drone demonstrations in races and obstacle courses, meet with countless vendors, and see films made by some of the best drone videographers in the world. One of these videographers was awarded the AZDrone Fest’s 2023 Best New Drone Pilot Award while simultaneously being certified by the Guinness World Records as the World’s Youngest Female Drone Videographer.

A third grader at Evansville Day School in Indiana, 8 year old Louisa Royer asked for a drone for a Christmas present a few years ago. Wanting to encourage her love of science and technology, Louisa’s parents happily bought her a DJI Mini 2, a drone that retails for less than $300. As explained on DJI’s website, “Small but mighty, DJI Mini 2 features 4K videos, 4x Zoom, and stunning panoramas, allowing you to explore a whole new perspective.” Weighing in at less than 249 grams, the DJI Mini 2 does not need to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for recreational use.

Though the drone is exempt from FAA registration, for anyone intending to use the drone commercially, registration and a Part 107 would be required. To obtain a Part 107, pilots must be at least 16 years of age. At only 8 years old, Louisa is still too young to apply for this certification. However, as a responsible drone operator, Louisa did make sure to study FAA regulations and learn how to safely fly her drone.

It took some time for Louisa to become a proficient drone pilot, but once she did her teacher encouraged her to use the drone as a way to explore the world. Fortunate enough to be able to travel the world with her family, Louisa took her teacher’s suggestion to heart and brought her drone along on her travels. She began documenting her trips to places like Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Europe with her drone.

Upon returning home, Louisa would edit the footage she collected with her drone, set some music to it, and share it with her family, classmates, and teachers. While watching YouTube, Louisa stumbled across a 13 year old boy who had set a record with the Guinness World Record organization for using his drone to create maps. Louisa became determined to set a record of her own. After a family trip to Europe, Louisa had the drone footage necessary to accomplish such a feat.

Her video, titled Dangerous Plants- A Student’s Drone Journey Through Hungry and Romania, highlights several tourist locations from a bird’s-eye-view. Louisa skillfully navigates her drone to show parks, cityscapes, waterfronts, architecture, monuments, and even a water park. Towards the end of the video, Louisa is sitting on a bus, presumably talking with one of her parents as to how she envisions drones helping future scientists. It is in this clip that the title of her film is explained.

“Here’s the thing about drones and things,” Louisa says. “If you were a scientist who studies plants, with a drone, you could like see what the plants look like. Like if it was dangerous, like if it was a dangerous plant, and you wanted to learn more about it…then you could use a drone to get close even if you’re not really close, you know.” It is this forward-thinking that will set Louisa up to reach her goal of becoming a future professor. For now, Louisa is content with submitting her drone films to festivals, winning awards, and setting records.

Dangerous Plants was first showcased at the Thunderbird Drone Festival in Oklahoma in August of 2023. When she submitted the drone film to the AZDrone Fest, Louisa and her family made sure to contact the Guinness Organization. When being certified by the Guinness World Records, Louisa was asked how she felt about winning the Best New Drone Pilot Award and becoming a Guinness Records holder. With a big smile, Louisa went on to exclaim, “It’s amazing! It is really exciting and all of my friends and family are very proud of me which is a great feeling.”

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