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Airnest understands drones. So they decided to come up with a brilliantly simplistic idea to help those with a lesser understanding. A much lesser understanding. In fact, there are some that say Airnest’s first and namesake app so well caters to ease-of-use, it presents itself as the least complicated on the market. Which, for many, is a very good thing, as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) – commonly known as drones – can be difficult to grasp, let alone fly.

“We’ve always been focused on simple, accessible ways to fly drones. Our hope is that with our mobile tools available for free, we can provide an easier path for new and existing pilots to capture a wider range of imagery and data,” said company co-founder Ben Brautigam in an interview with

Airnest’s application allows users to operate a drone by drawing the desired flight path with the tip of a finger. Along with the essential ability to maneuver, the software offers video and photo capturing. Far from fancy, Airnest brings the best of the basic at no cost to beautifully unassuming design, providing pleasant reprieve throughout use within an overarching drone technology that can be truly complex.

“The commercial use cases are growing by the day. So our focus has been in news and broadcasting, agriculture, of course aerial photography and video, filmmaking, oil and gas inspection,” said Brautigam.

The opportunities appear to be endless for air-bound Airnest. One can genuinely imagine the vast number of potential or present flyers, which could gain greater access to controlling their drone, for purpose of personal enjoyment or purposeful profit. From etching out the pathway for a drone-delivered package, to capturing current footage for a major news broadcast, the avenues opened up go far beyond the act of physical travel. Airnest provides previously untapped user pools with the gift of usability, while connecting current users through flight logging and sharing.

Justin Miller, another member of the tech brand’s founding trio, remarked, “There’s so much more these things (UAV) can do. And as they get less and less expensive and there are new sensors and new tools that can be attached to them, in five years, there are going to be people doing things with them that we haven’t even thought of right now.”

He has good reason to be hopeful. Drone usage is becoming aggressively popular among a dynamic group of users who participate for a myriad of purposes. New uses are implemented daily, as those who fly discover more of the sky’s benefits; and while spikes in popularity have inspired recent legislations restricting where and when and why there are used, unmanned aerial vehicles led by applications like Airnest will always have a bright future in flight.

What makes it even better? The more they move forward as a business, the more they move upward as a community. “As we continue to collect logs we will be able to tell both hobbyist and commercial pilots things about their drones; the state of their battery and drone, how their GPS is performing compared to other pilots, how specific firmware versions can affect performance,” said Brautigam.

The ability to share flights with friends, log data pertaining to your drone’s performance, and plan flights with the flick of a finger. Is there anything this application does include? Oh, yes. A cost. Previously a popular paid app, Airnest is available at no cost via the Apple Store.

There’s no catch and there never was. Just a simple idea. “So we had this idea – what if to control a drone, you just draw on a map and where you draw the drone would fly?” Brautigam said. Using that as their launching point, Airnest’s founders took off and never looked back.

They’ve even partnered with DJI, the world leader in easy-to-fly drones and aerial photography systems, for the purpose of developing innovative software. All of this after humble beginnings as an Innovation Park’s TechCelerator program participant, which granted the team a greater view of what it truly takes to start and sustain as a company.

“You have a good idea and you think you can build a company around it, but there is so much more to consider,” said Brautigam.

All things considered, Airnest will certainly keep their vantage point at a bird’s-eye view.

Hear It From Our Tenants

  • The greatest benefit of our location in Innovation Park is the cross-pollination that goes on. We can inspire and help each other, and we do. We get together for lunches and offer one another advice.

  • Here at Innovation Park and Penn State people are willing to help with no strings attached. We can find top flight researchers and very experienced people. We are confident we can succeed here.

  • We do conferences here at the Penn Stater, attracting 400-500 business leaders and entrepreneurs from across the country. It’s a huge plus to have that facility in walking distance.


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Innovation Park at Penn State
101 Technology Center
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Phone: 814-865-5925
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