Why surveyors should care about this stuntman’s experience with drones

The oppressive humidity of Kenya. Intense snow and ice in the Alps. The scorching heat in a desert near Death Valley. What do these harsh environments have in common? Microdrones UAVs have flawlessly conquered them all – and there’s video footage to prove it.  

Ferdi Fischer is not your typical Microdrones customer. Our UAVs are most often used by surveyors, engineers, and agronomists that need a vehicle of Microdrones caliber to efficiently and accurately collect data and create maps.

Fischer, on the other hand, is an international stuntman and filmmaker who regularly uses Microdrones aircraft for his work in exotic and challenging locations. Fischer’s team has traveled the world, filming death-defying stunts and collecting incredible aerial footage that elevates the quality of their productions.

Microdrones’ Sara Furlong interviewed Fischer to find out how our vehicles performed in a variety of adverse conditions. The resulting conversation was the ultimate Microdrones testimonial. Fischer’s experiences with our drones unequivocally demonstrate their reliability for professional applications.

Ferdi, his team, and Microdrones UAVs on location in Kenya to film animal migrations.

Furlong: You have used Microdrones UAVs all over the world. What was the toughest place you’ve ever shot?

Fischer: Kenya was the most extreme environment I have ever filmed in. We were out in the middle of nowhere. The heat was horrible, it rained frequently, and there was mud, sand, and dust everywhere. Because of these conditions, all of our equipment kept malfunctioning. Our computers failed, the car broke down twice, cameras and chargers were not operating properly because of the intense moisture in the air – we had to charge batteries directly off the car’s engine.

But despite all of this, the drone just kept flying. It was soaking wet at times, but nothing impacted its performance. It worked perfectly every time. This is why I love working with Microdrones UAVs.

Ferdi Fischer and the team responsible for the Microdrones Alps Crossing in 2013.

Furlong: You’ve certainly tested our aircraft in a number of intense locations. Tell us about making the Mercedes-Benz videos in the Alps.

Fischer: We were so high in the Alps. It was -20 degrees and there was an insane amount of snow, ice, and glaciers. We switched from 2-blade rotors to 3-blade rotors because of the high altitude, but, again – the Microdrones UAV did not falter.

Furlong: The snow and wind didn’t pose a problem for the drone?

Fischer: No. It stayed very stable and performed without any problems. The end result was very good.

Furlong: That was a great video. You got some amazing shots. And you and your team even flew the drone all the way over the Alps on that trip.

Fischer: Yes! And that was a few years ago when technology wasn’t as advanced. It was a big accomplishment.

Furlong: As awesome as that was, my favorite videos you made with a Microdrones UAV are your footage of the animals in Kenya for NBC television.

Fischer: Those were particularly good animal shots. Usually if you see aerial footage of animals, they are running. That’s because they are scared of the helicopter or drone taking the video. Otherwise, the shots are often from far away. The Microdrones UAV is so quiet, we were able to capture video from about 3-4 meters away without bothering them. So we got amazing footage of the animals in their natural habitats.

Furlong: The animals didn’t mind?

Fischer: Most of the animals weren’t bothered at all by the UAV hovering around them. The elephants looked a little skeptical at first and tried to protect their babies a little, but after a couple of minutes, they didn’t mind it at all. We had this long list of animals that we needed footage of and we were able to get it easily from a close distance.

Furlong: And this is mostly because the aircraft is so quiet?

Fischer: Yes. Other drones make a loud, high-pitched annoying noise. The sound of a Microdrones UAV is about 20% of the volume of other drones and it’s more like a hum. People in our crews don’t even believe it when we start flying because it is just so quiet.

Furlong: Is filming animals the only time the noise level is an advantage?

Microdrones UAVs stand up to the harsh environmental conditions on a video shoot for NBC in Kenya.

Fischer: Well, it’s a lot less irritating, so I’d say it’s always an advantage. (laughs) But the quiet operation actually helps us out a lot. In the movie industry, time is money and because the drone is so quiet, we are able to do two shoots at once. That’s huge. While the actors are shooting on the ground, we are able to fly over and do aerials and stay in the air the whole time. With other drones, that would not be possible because of the noise. Microdrones UAVs allow us to achieve simultaneous shooting that saves time and money.

Furlong: I bet that makes your producers happy.

Fischer: Yes! Saving time makes them very happy. And the directors, too. Going over schedule and budget on a film could mean the death of their career.

Furlong: Speaking of death . . . you also used Microdrones md4-1000 UAVs to film a car chase in the desert near Death Valley, California, right?

Fischer: Yes.

Furlong: How did that go?

Fischer: It was so hot there, our computers wouldn’t even start. All the equipment was so hot we couldn’t touch anything and everything kept malfunctioning. The heat, wind, and sand just caused a ton of problems. But, again, the Microdrones UAVs flew great and we got really good shots.

Furlong: Wow. I know our drones are made to perform well in harsh environmental conditions and I’ve talked to lots of customers who swear by their reliability, but even I’m a little surprised that you haven’t had any issues in these intense locations.

Fischer: This drone is tough. We’ve transported it in trucks, vans, upside down, carried on horses, fully exposed in a jeep, thrown around on airplanes. Because the box is so big, a lot of times we take it out to travel to remote locations. This UAV has taken a beating and it’s never let us down.

Furlong: Well, thank you for so rigorously testing our drones! (laughs)

Fischer:   We really have! I know Microdrones UAVs are more commonly used for things like surveying and mapping and, after the experiences I’ve had, I can’t imagine a better aircraft for a job like that. The drones are so stable in all kinds of conditions. And they have such long flight times, so you can collect so many images in one deployment. Not to mention reliability. A professional in any industry needs to be confident that the thing isn’t going to fall out of the sky on the job. You can’t use a toy. Microdrones UAVs are meticulously engineered in Germany. I completely trust them.

Furlong: This is a great testimonial! Can I share it? Who knew that an international stuntman could provide such great insight for surveyors and other GIS professionals who are considering making UAVs a part of their business?

Fischer:   Absolutely! I hope my experiences give new drone users peace of mind. If you can satisfy the high-budget movie industry, with its time constraints and extreme locations, you can satisfy any industry. My team and I love Microdrones aircraft. They never let us down.

Ferdi Fischer, renowned stuntman, filmmaker, and Microdrones UAV fan.

Ferdi Fischer is a renowned stuntman and videographer.

He runs two companies: SLAM ARTIST, which specializes in stunt performance, coordination, and design for the film industry, and Microdrones Pictures, which specializes in aerial videography.

He has produced projects on location in four continents. Check out his work at and