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Altitude is everything

Axis Aerial Photography & Video can provide a new angle to events

HENRY — While many fly drones as an enjoyable past-time, Joe Stanbary has seen a way to turn his hobby into a profession. Having earned his Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) license in December, he's now ready to venture high into the sky to capture the view from above for his clients.

Stanbary, an 11 year veteran of the postal service, said, "It all started as a hobby; but I realized there's a market for this, and it's an amazing opportunity for me to begin doing something I love."

Flying drones or, as the FAA refers to them — unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), doesn't require licensing if flown for recreation, but if used commercially, the pilot must pass an aeronautical knowledge test. Once the pilot receives their Remote Pilot Airman certificate and passes vetting from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), they are allowed to use their drones professionally.

"It was difficult. There's more to it than you'd think, and there was lots of studying involved before going to Bloomington for the test. I had to learn how to read aeronautical charts and know all the requirements and limitations of what's allowed." Stanbary said.

Now that the testing, licensing and insurance requirements have been completed, his next challenge is to build his portfolio with the DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone and show others the possibilities of an aerial viewpoint.

Stanbary's new professional drone service has been given the name of AXIS Aerial Photography & Video, and he's looking forward to photographing and recording community events, sports, parties, concerts, fundraisers, weddings and proms. He's also anticipating its use for construction and specialized agricultural inspections and providing real estate agents with a new way to showcase their property listings.

"It's changing perceptions. There's so much drones can do and they're a wonderful tool. As long as it's safe, I'm always open to new ideas," he said.

One idea Stanbary is hoping will take flight is to photograph and record the motocross races at Walnut's Sunset Ridge.

"I love the freedom of flying and of being able to go where others can't," he said. "It's fun to see people's reactions when they view something from a new perspective."

For more information call Stanbary at 815-303-3247, email or visit his Facebook page at

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