UAV022 Manie Kohn – Don’t Tell Me Show Me

UAV022 Manie Kohn - Don’t Tell Me Show Me

Guest Manie Kohn is the Owner and Creative Director of, and a trained, certified, and insured civilian drone operator.

Manie tried using helicopters for real estate shoots, but found those lacking in some important aspects. After trying alternatives, nothing satisfactory, he turned to UAVs. Manie found those better, but not perfect for his needs.

He began to share his experiences and advice with the manufacturers and also the insurance underwriters, focusing on safety and drone capability, With the accessibility of drones, there is a need for training and certification to help ensure safe operation. That includes minimum training standards, such as FAA ground school or other approved training programs.

Manie considers four important components for his ideal drone: the flight characteristics of the aircraft itself, the gimbal that stabilizes the camera, the camera itself (still, video, or both), and the FPV and data link.



DJI Phantom


6 thoughts on “UAV022 Manie Kohn – Don’t Tell Me Show Me

  1. Chris

    I appreciate Manie Kohn’s enthusiasm and dedication to creating a standardized drone certification and safety protocol but I have two issues. As a professional aerial “drone” cinematographer who’s been involved in numerous luxury real estate, cinema, television, and event shoots, I can say without doubt, he is operating illegally according to the FAA. His certification, as rigorous and comprehensive as the criteria may have been, holds no legitimacy nor provides special permit over obtaining an actual FAA COA. Second, he’s certainly not the first trained, certified, and insured civilian drone pilot in the USA. Myself and dozens of other operators have held policies and conducted operator training for nearly a decade. I feel as if Manie’s podcast was nothing more than a shameless plug in which he gives false information and ignores the reality of commercial drone use and regulation.

    1. Trey Wright

      I have been trying to find any sort of school or certification program in this area of cinematography and have only found a hand full of programs. The Unmanned Vehicle University seems to be the most respected institute, but what are my other options? He seems to be making a lot of claims without a lot of paperwork to back it up. Where/how did you become a certified drone pilot and what standing does it hold with the very vague FAA regulations?

  2. Tim

    ” As a professional aerial ‘drone’ cinematographer who’s been involved in numerous luxury real estate, cinema, television, and event shoots,… ”

    Please tell me how you (and several others) have accomplished this in view of -(“No commercial use of UAV…”) Have you found a path through 8130? (SAC-EC – 21.191, ) ? If so, how have you managed to obtain the requisite “factory training” and “airworthines” certification?

    1. Chris

      At this time we have not found a path to achieve an airworthiness certification nor obtain a COA permitting commercial use of a UAV for cinema or real estate purposes. In fact, we received a cease and desist letter from the FAA late 2011 threatening a $10,000 fine for continued operations, effectively shutting down the business. Great measures have been taken to start the process and get ourselves in the pipeline for certification when commercial use will become legal. This process has been confusing, drawn out, and at times a waste of time and resources. For now it’s a waiting game and a period to prepare and educate ourselves.

  3. Manie Kohn

    Max, David and esteemed UAV Listeners…,

    Thank you for having me on your show. The direct feedback that I have personally received has been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic.

    As a statement of fact, I would like to illuminate for your listeners that, as discussed with you just before the taping of the show, my stated intention was to share my unique experiences. It was never intended to be a “step by step roadmap to certification and insurability”…at least not yet. There is a lot of unchartered territory for all of us here which can be both inspiring and frustrating as we struggle to find our way, each with our own unique backgrounds, desires, skill sets and spheres of influence.

    While seemingly unrelated to aviation, as a former certified Instructor, certified by another heavily-regulated entity (The Department of Real Estate) I am credited with developing a unifying curriculum used by tens of thousands today within the real estate industry.

    My Silicon Valley based start up company, Don’t Tell Me SHOW ME, the first and only of it’s kind, has a core mission of establishing heightened standards, protocol, quality control and highly-coveted performance reviews, not readily available to the public.

    This, combined with my unique experiences within the emerging sUAS industry, opened up conversations within the aviation industry that decision makers found meaningful, defensible and, economically speaking, profitable.

    Starting to see a common thread? Standards, Curriculum, Training, Education, Execution, Quality Control, Transparency, Accountability…

    At the request of a conglomerate of UAV underwriters, aviation insurance companies, Nationally-recognized legal firms with pending aviation cases, and several sUAS manufacturers, I find myself again in the familiar role of consulting and developing curriculum – identifying significant engineering and design flaws not advertised, and critical information lacking from classroom-based, online, and “in the field” training programs which I had personally undergone from several National and International sUAS manufacturers, including one independent sUAS training facility.

    Upon review, our aim is to create an independent unifying standard amongst sUAS training programs, improve UAV underwriters’ and insurance companies’ risk selection and low loss ratios, and thoroughly equipping sUAS operators with an unprecedented level of education, safety and social responsibility.

    All that being said, I will share more when I can. Good things are coming. Be Safe, Be Responsible.

    Manie Kohn


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