Notes, 9/16 — Aerial Robotic Systems Pork Lewis

I’m asked all the time, “Pork, what got you into UAVs?”  And I’ve answered that so many times that you’ll have to excuse me if you’ve heard it all before. 

It started in a bar.  Honest.  Two of us were challenging a third friend; a bright, self-taught engineer who repeatedly came up with great solutions for stumped clients.  He successfully tackled problems in everything from under water welding, to building demolition, to sports equipment, to agricultural problems.  But he just couldn’t seem to get wealthy.  So the challenge was for him to come up with a really profitable idea; anything that would earn significant money.  I’d do the financing, within reason, and he’d do the thinking.

Well, in about a week he made his presentation.  He’d figured how to overcome the main problems of commercial drones; payload and flight duration.  OK, he is a Certified Flight Instructor, Test Pilot, A&E Mechanic, CNC Machinist, and an experimental aircraft builder [forty aircraft so far].  So we figured he probably knew what he was talking about.  When he got to pricing though, I thought, here we go again.  His cost estimates just looked too low.  Wrong.  It turns out he was on the money.

So, after a lot of questions and many meetings we decided to take the plunge.  Yes!  Some details have changed.  Design improvements, accessory choices, even scale have been rethought, but the basic idea is intact.  Tell us what you want the drone to do and we’ll build it accordingly.  Look!  It’s a flying truck.

As we live in cattle and wheat country, our initial focus was on agriculture uses.  And that is still an important area for us.  But some of those missions require a much larger unit than we wanted to use introducing our platform.  So our initial units will only lift 55-80lbs and fly for up to four hours.  But 500lb capabilities are within reason, and perhaps much more.

So that’s what got me into UAVs.  And a growing awareness of the expanding missions we can cover is what keeps me interested.  Follow us at

Carl LewisComment