Let me begin by welcoming you to Menet Aero’s updated website and Blog. We’ve grown a lot since our humble beginnings in 2015 and we felt that with the recent website update we wanted a venue to share some of our insight from working in the UAS industry every day for the past nearly three years. When we set out to update the website we agreed that we wanted to help distinguish ourselves by saturating our website with quality content. My wife, a successful marketing professional who writes for a living, cautioned us on our approach and has humorously started referring to the site as the Menet Aero online novel. Although we understand we would be wise to heed her advice, we are beyond frustrated with the lack of accountability in the hype filled market claims plaguing the UAS market right now which are threatening its legitimacy. We feel this is our way of trying to address that hype head on and hopefully speed the process of UAS technology becoming mainstream instead of making generalized market claims that fail to measure up to expectations in the field.
UAS are an extremely useful tool but they also have some significant limitations. Marketing UAS as simple to operate while also effortlessly providing mountains of valuable data is a flat out lie. I can confidently say this because I have been working everyday with some of the best – yet – unrefined, heavily regulated, buggy, complex, and poorly integrated UAS technology available on the market. The fact is that providing a client with an accurate deliverable is a lot of work. Work, such as quality control, that cannot be simply automated. These are not new problems. In fact, much of our success in navigating these rough waters is attributed to the lessons learned operating manned aircraft and doing geospatial research. Quite simply, our success lies in our people and partners – not the technology.
On that note, I want to give a little background on why I started Menet Aero. I am a soon-to-be retired US Army Officer who flew UH-60 Blackhawks for 14 years. In 2012, after returning from a two-year back-to-back deployment to Iraq and Kosovo, I was frustrated with the reality that it was near impossible to be both a successful Military Reserve Aviator, climb the corporate ladder, and still have time for family. Even though an Army helicopter pilot has almost a million dollars in training when they walk out of flight school, it is decades before they’ve build up enough flight hours to meet the insurance requirements to fly for a hospital. Some of the aviators I’ve flown with over the years resorted to part time jobs doing manual labor because being gone from a civilian employer an average of 1 week per month over the course of a Reserve Aviation career (not to mention the 9 to 12 month deployments) made it difficult to be promoted in a professional career. Unfortunately, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) only guarantees your employer won’t fire you for your military service but they are not required to promote you for work you didn’t do because you were deployed.
At about the same time, I began watching the emerging UAS industry and started to see an opportunity to apply my decade of aviation experience in a civilian environment. I thought that owning my own business may provide me the flexibility to achieve a work-life-military balance. So, in February of 2015, a few months after the birth of my first son, I made my move. Although it was rocky at first, especially simultaneously dealing with being a new business owner and new father, three years and another beautiful boy later, I haven’t regretted a moment of it. I just hope that my boys grow to love aviation as much as I do so they too can carry the torch I’ve lit forward some day. It is also my hope that we will also be able to create more career opportunities for my extended Army Aviation family who have helped me become the man I am today.
2015 - Ronan (6 months) with Menet Aero's first UAS.
2017 - Ronan (3 years) and Ably (1 year) with Menet Aero's C-Astral Bramor
I’m both fortunate and thankful for the team that has joined me over the years, especially Dr. Joe Hupy. Joe has taught me how to leverage my aviation knowledge to provide others accurate geospatial data. He is truly a UAS industry pioneer and one of the best teachers I’ve come across. I hope you’ll enjoy reading his blog articles. Joe, more than anyone else I know, understands how UAS bring capabilities that used to be relegated to government or large scale projects, into almost anyone’s reach. He has taught me to think far beyond the simple aerial photos and videos that have resulted in so much market intrigue. Although this stuff is neat, I’ve always been more interested in using aviation for more than just entertainment.
Prof. Joe Hupy and Peter Menet
As we continue to grow, I wanted to take an opportunity to communicate the core values Menet Aero is built on. These are values that go beyond our work. They are the intrinsic values we look for in anyone who wants to be part of our team – whether they’re an employee, partner, or client. It is also the values I hope to instill into my children. I expect that like everything, these too will evolve over the years but hopefully this will serve as a snap shot in time to help guide our unified efforts going forward.
- Credibility – speak from experience
- Ownership – you are your word and actions
- Service – support the community that supports you
- Grit – adapt and overcome with a smile on your face
- Focus – drive with traction
- Humility – give and receive wisdom without ego
I would like to finish by thanking my wonderful wife Luella, for standing behind me through all of this. She is a wonderful wife, mother, counselor, accomplished professional, and a true humanitarian. Without her, Menet Aero wouldn’t exist.
Luella Dooley-Menet on her last flight with the WI Army National Guard
Peter A. Menet