From sibling inspiration to soaring high: a recreational drone pilot’s journey
Dominic Papasergio’s love for all things aviation spans over 40 years, stemming from when his brother was a pilot in the United States throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
He first experienced remotely piloted aircraft technology when watching a remote-control aircraft fly, and this sparked his interest to explore more forms of remote aircraft.
‘At a school reunion my friends and I were reminiscing about flying remote control planes, and while on the topic, a friend said he had started flying drones,’ Dominic says. ‘That night, I went home and researched the topic.’
He went on to spend hours researching drones, aerial videography and photography.
‘I first researched drones during the Victorian lockdown in 2020. In Melbourne we were in lockdown for a while, so I found myself indulging in drone videos on YouTube.’
Once the lockdowns were over and after being inside for so long, Dominic was keen to finally meet fellow drone enthusiasts face-to-face, although he found the majority were located overseas.
‘I found a thriving community of drone flyers, although it felt like 98% of people were in North America,’ he says. ‘I felt like there needed to be more Aussies talking about this amazing technology online.’
In May 2020, Dominic made the leap and purchased his first drone.
Fast forward to now, Dominic has found a true passion for aerial videography and recreational drone flying.
Since purchasing his drone, Dominic has been part of countless drone enthusiast YouTube streams, discussing creative tips and tricks for capturing the best shots safely.
He also emphasises how the drone community has been an adventure in interacting with others internationally.
‘My experience learning about drones is credited to the passion and knowledge shared by people all over the world,’ he says.
‘I have collaborated with people worldwide. I’m in contact with over 150 pilots from New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada!’
He also explained the real sense of community in the drone community.
‘Almost everyone I have met has been warm, kind, friendly and willing to share their knowledge,’ he says.
‘My best memory was when I got the chance to fly with an expert pilot. I wasn’t as confident as him, but we conducted all pre-flight checks, planned our route and remained 30 metres away from people.
‘It was truly an amazing experience because I learnt a lot from the other pilot. He gave me some good tips on how I can improve. I’m grateful I had the opportunity.
‘I really would be keen to meet more people in Australia. The more knowledge we can share about this technology, the more we ourselves learn as recreational flyers.’
In terms of safety, Dominic believes that flying a drone should be treated just like riding a bike or driving a car.
‘Be alert not alarmed, use common sense, [and] follow the CASA rules,’ he says.