Povilas Stankūnas, Drone Pilot on the Wim Hof Method

What I love the most about Drone Flying is the world of possibilities. Some time ago, getting aerial shots was only possible by using helicopters and planes. Not everyone can afford this, so drones open up possibilities to not just use it in cinema or commercials, but also in 3D mapping, search-and-rescue tasks, and much more – drones open new doors for everyone. They are a very useful tool, and they can even be a lifesaver if we use them correctly.

My name is Povilas Stankūnas, and I am a full-time drone pilot. I never imagined that my life and career would go this way – I originally only bought a drone to get some new perspectives for my videos. But while learning to control it, I noticed that it was an activity I really loved doing and had some serious potential. So, I kept on flying.

I currently live in Lithuania. After finishing my master’s degree in Media Engineering, I visited the US where part of my family lives. After that, I moved to the UK, where I lived and worked for 7 months. I met some amazing people and learned some new things. In the end, though, I missed Lithuania, so I came back and started working with various types of commercials.

I first became interested in drone flying about 5 years ago, and I was making videos only with a ground camera (mirrorless camera). At that time, I noticed that drones that didn’t require to be built from scratch started to come out on the market, so I decided to make an investment and bought one of these drones. It was a Phantom 4. I was very excited after getting in the air for the first time and seeing the world from a new perspective. I started out with a DJI Phantom 4 drone, but right now, I get to work with various types of drones: Inspire 2, Mavic 2 series drones, Matrice 210, 300, and more.

I think the most important things needed to be a good drone pilot are learning how to multi-task and always keeping your information up to date. This would go not only for technical aspects, but also for restrictions, permits, and local drone laws – since flying carelessly could get you in big trouble!

My most memorable flying experience would be a collaboration with friends on a music video – we were doing a one-take video shot with the drone. We filmed a band from various angles (4 people worked on a single drone). One person was carrying the drone, one person was controlling the camera, another was pulling focus, and the last one was responsible for flying – I was that last person who was responsible for the drone’s movement while in the air. The whole clip was around 6-7 minutes long, and we had parts where the drone gets low enough so that person could catch it. We then had parts where the drone takes off from the person’s hands and flies from a small hole in the roof. We repeated it all about 10-13 times. It was very intense and stressful because to make it happen; a lot of people had to do their roles without failure. But we made it happen eventually. It was an amazing flying experience!

Here’s the music video on YouTube:

Outside of Drone Flying, I am also interested in the Wim Hof Method. This method is an exercise that puts your body in a stressful environment. There are two parts: breathing exercises and cold-water exposure, where you get into water full of ice and stay there for one, two, three, five, or even ten minutes. The main thing is to breathe correctly so that you slow down your heart rate and get into a relaxed state where you start to endure the temperature and start to listen to your body. When you feel like it’s enough, you get out and start to do exercises to mix your warm blood with cold blood. I’ve been doing this for a year now and noticed a lot of good things. First of all, my immune system has improved dramatically. I became more relaxed and less stressed; I was really surprised at how effective it is with dealing with stress. No pharmacy or medicine can offer such an effective way on how to improve your daily life – there is nothing quite like this.

I have been getting into freezing cold water dozens of times now with this Method, and every time, it feels like it’s the first time. What I love about it the most about this is when I get into the water and just relax – it’s is really hard to describe in a good way!

The main health benefit of practicing the Wim Hof Method is the dramatic immune system improvement. I noticed that it is much easier to control yourself while working under stressful conditions. It feels like you are always in a clear mental state, and emotions do not affect your judgment like it usually would.

I see a few similarities between Drone Flying & the Wim Hof Method. A good drone pilot must be excellent at multitasking. While flying, you must be aware of your surroundings, battery level, your task, weather, watch out for any wires and branches, compass errors, and so on. There are a lot of things happening while you are in the air, so you must learn how to deal with it without stress if you want to keep your energy. That is where Wim Hof Method comes in. It really helps out to handle stress and makes it easier to navigate through every task. At the end of the day, you are not so tired and have much more energy to do more productive work than usual.

My advice to anyone interested in Drone Flying is don’t just rush in without doing your homework. If you buy a fancy drone and don’t do your research or practise, you will end up breaking it. The same thing goes with Wim Hof Method – you need to get some idea of how it works, and only then start to practice it. If you do it all with a clear mind, it will be easy.

There is always more than tech. By sharing our information, we are not just helping each other to avoid massive mistakes or failures. By sharing our experiences, we grow bigger and stronger every day. That is why you must understand that by collaborating, we can achieve much bigger results rather than working solo.

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