Meet the Team
Our Commercial Operators are Professional Part 107 Certified FAA Approved Pilots
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Neil's pioneering spirit is apparent in his 35 year career as an FAA instrument rated commercial helicopter pilot, flight instructor, airframe and powerplant mechanic.
Neil served in the Marine Corp as a Crew Chief logging nearly a thousand hours in the Boeing CH-46 helicopter. After his military service he logged another 4,000 hours working in a wide variety of operational environments including the VIP transport, DEA, heli-logging, flight schools, mining, offshore tuna fleet, power lines, and tourism. In Europe, Neil flew for private high worth individuals, a Saudi Sheikh and other prominent business executives. He followed this, serving the Tallahassee community for 16 years as a Life Flight pilot and provided air support for hurricane Katrina victims at the Superdome in New Orleans and local hospitals during the initial rescue efforts.
Neil is contributing his knowledge and experience to the promise of this exciting new technology as Birds Eye UAS intends to play a prominent role in its local development.
Don Spells joined Birds Eye UAS in 2014 and oversees every aspect of flight operations. As the National EMS Pilots Associations 2002, Pilot of the year, Don brings years of experience, a commitment to safety and professional flight standards, ensuring our ability to provide safe and efficient service to our clients.
Growing up in South Georgia with a passion for aviation, Don joined the Army where he developed his skills as an aviator. With a diverse background in military and civilian operations he has accumulated over 10,000 hours flying, both fixed and rotary wing aircraft
Don served his country in 2010 while deployed to Iraq as part of campaign “Iraqi Freedom”, as well the Tallahassee community as lead pilot for LifeFlight for over 30 years.
During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Don played a significant role, leading the initial response team of flight nurses, paramedics and airmen, providing airlift to medical facilities for injured and displaced victims. We are honored and fortunate to have him on our team!
DIRECTOR OF TRAINING
Trent Robinson, an accomplished aviator, joined Birds Eye UAS in 2016. With a diverse background in medicine, aviation, video production and marketing, Trent has an incredible story. As an EMS LifeFlight Nurse and Paramedic he has served Tallahassee and the region for over 25 years.
As an instrument rated pilot, Trent has provided his time, expertise and personal aircraft to Angel Flight for over 20 years, helping those in need. We are so honored to have him on our team.
As a videographer and business owner Trent honed his skills as an editor, transitioning from analog to digital, developing his skills and becoming proficient in Final Cut, Premier Pro and Sony Vegas.
Danny, a certified FAA remote pilot and editor has been creating aerial media while attending Florida State University as a junior in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in Mechatronics.
Danny has always had a keen interest in flight. He knew from an early age that flying would become a central part of his life. As a boy he began flying toy helicopters then graduated to drones (UAS) in college.
When his busy schedule allows Danny sails for FSU, competes in robotics competitions...and always finds time to fly his drone!
Private Pilot SEL and Commercial UAS Pilot
Bob Van Riper
DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Bob brings his extensive experience in aviation operations, sales and management to the Birds Eye UAS team. Bob leads the sales effort for Birds Eye focusing on bringing the benefits and innovative opportunities that unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) deliver to industries and government entities by providing highly accurate and timely data. A key role for Bob will be informing the local business and civic community on the safety, capabilities and applications that UAS advanced technology can bring to companies and the community.
Prior to his current position, he was the lead salesman at HondaJet Southeast for the sales and service of Honda Aircraft Company’s HondaJet, the most advanced light-jet in the world. Bob had responsibility for aircraft sales in an 8-state territory and delivered more HondaJets than any other salesperson during the HondaJet’s first two years in service. He also brings leadership and management experience in all aspects of aviation support services, gained as an executive in Fixed Base Operations (FBO) at the Tallahassee International, Gainesville Regional and Okaloosa Regional Airports. Bob has in-depth knowledge of aviation sales, flight training, customer relations and federal aviation regulations. He has also negotiated and managed numerous civilian and government entity contracts, as well leading high value airport development projects.
He was a pilot in the United States Navy on active duty for 12 years and completed his Navy career as a Commander in the Navy Reserve. As a Naval Aviator, Bob completed two deployments aboard aircraft carriers and gained international operations experience flying Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Search and Rescue (SAR) and logistics missions. He was also a helicopter standardization pilot in the Naval Training Command and received commendations for his actions as a Search and Rescue pilot while stationed at NAS Key West.
Bob developed and earned FAA certification for a Part 145 Maintenance Repair Station and has held leadership roles in both civilian and military maintenance departments. He holds an FAA Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) license.
His other FAA certificates include Airline Transport Pilot Ratings for both Airplanes and Helicopters and a Part 107 Remote Pilot license. He has over 4000 hours of flight time in a variety of fixed, rotary wing and remotely piloted aircraft.
He is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Maintenance Management and holds a master’s degree in business management from Troy University.