Derrick J. Ward is the founder and CEO of Hot Shots Aerial Photography


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Mesa, Arizona

Industry Experience:

Career Experience Derrick has decades of experience as a career firefighter working for the last 32 years for the Los Angeles City Fire Department assigned at fire station 80 at LAX International Airport. This has provided him with critical insight that allows him to lead emergency aerial response missions in the event of military attacks, fires or other natural disasters. His expertise in this method of gathering crucial data while keeping responders safe can often mean the difference between life and death. Derrick served as a crew leader for the 14-member Los Angeles County flight crew in Malibu. This crew is extensively trained in wildfire submission tactics, has high fitness standards, and requires specialized flight skills. Derrick and his team flew in Huey helicopters across California to fight fires, often in remote areas with little logistical support. During his career as a firefighter, Derrick gained skills in air- traffic control communication, airport familiarization, HAZMAT standards, and arson investigation. He is certified in Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting and has over 990 hours of UAS flight time. Derrick J. Ward is the founder and CEO of Hot Shots Aerial Photography, a professional aerial imaging service using advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) technology to provide clients with critical photos and footage in a variety of industries, including construction, agriculture, real estate, and emergency response management. He also has an extensive background with swift water rescue, urban search, and rescue. Derrick got his start in the field many years ago when he began flying UAV’s as a hobby. As his interest grew, he pursued extensive training in the operation of UAV’s, completing Dart Drone Flight School where he mastered flight systems, emergency flight maneuvers, and videography. He sought further training at Drone Pilot Ground School, where he completed UAS training in essential aeronautical knowledge concepts. Derrick can train your company or public safety personnel in how to use drones legally and safely in the field. He offer an array of training for individuals and large organizations that have been developed and certified by UAS industry leaders. Derrick was instrumental in helping develop, and implementing, the LAFD’s drone training program, and he has in-depth experience both flying and providing training for an array of commercial and public safety scenarios. Fire Department Trainings In 2018, Derrick and his LAFD UAS team led a new course at FDIC, the Fire Department Instructor’s Conference International, called UAS Use in Emergency Response. Derrick is certified and experienced in many scenarios, including: • Arson investigation • Swift-water rescue • USAR search and rescue • Brush fires • Structure fires • Thermal imaging, including the use of FLIR technology • Airport and controlled airspace operation procedures • Hazardous Materials Technician/Specialist • LSU Academy of Counter-Terrorism and Biodetection Safety Management He is an FAA-licensed remote pilot and a master of the Airman Certification Standards, which is constructed around four functional components of a safety management system: Safety policy that defines and describes the aeronautical knowledge and risk management as integrated components of the airman certification system Safety risk management processes through which internal stakeholders identify and evaluate regulatory changes, safety recommendations or other factors that require modification of airman testing and training materials Safety assurance processes to ensure prompt and appropriate incorporation of changes arising from new regulations and safety recommendations Safety promotion in the form of ongoing engagement with both external stakeholders and FAA policy division Derrick completed the Aerial Postproduction Course from Cinematic Aerospace. He is proficient at color grading, adding music and transitions, storyboarding, assembling rough cuts, file sharing, and collaboration. He is also an Emergency Medical Technician and has completed education with the Federal Emergency Management Association Institute (FEMA) for Incident Command System and initial action incidents. He has completed Haz-Tec Systems course for familiarization of Weapons of Mass Destruction and biological weapons. Always on the leading edge of technology, Derrick invests extensive resources into the ongoing research and development of aerial imaging and data collection systems. Technology provides a wealth of advantages that will help everyone if appropriately used.

Other Services:

Skills: Aerial Mapping, Ground Photography, Aerial Photography, Video Production, Videography, Aerial Cinematography, Real Estate Photography, Solar PV Inspections, Cell Tower Inspections, Transmission & Distribution Line Inspections, Wind Turbine Inspections, Pi

Insurance Available : Yes


The Public and Commercial Impact of Drone Technology- An Interview W/ Derrick Ward

Understanding How Law Enforcement,, Firefighters and Search and Rescue Teams are using UAS

Derrick Ward Helped to Lead the Creation of the Drone Program In L.A>

Derrick Ward Of the Los Angeles Fire Department conducting a demo during period of intense fires.

Derrick Ward Of the Los Angeles Fire Department conducting a demo during period of intense fires.



Thermal RPIC
Aerial Mapping


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