Aerial Aptitude of Morgantown is giving us a new perspective.

Licensed private pilot Shane Smith bought his first drone just a couple years ago. “As I got better with video and pictures, I realized there’s more to it than just a hobby,” he says.

Drones, he began to see, can shoot images from perspectives that previously were available only through expensive helicopter rentals. They offer quick, affordable video inspection of infrastructure like cell phone towers and the electrical grid. They can capture dramatic footage of expansive properties for real estate sales. They can reveal topographical detail for construction planning and contour mapping.

Smith earned his remote pilot certificate through the Federal Aviation Administration and started Aerial Aptitude. Two drones give him flexibility. A smaller, lighter-weight device works well for hiking out to remote places. A larger one takes higher-resolution images and is more stable against drafts.

For those considering drone imagery, Smith points out that FAA regulations require imagery taken for commercial use to be obtained by a certified drone pilot. “It’s all about safety,” he says. 304.805.4247,

photographed by SHANE SMITH