Lindsay Pierce Martin

November 01, 2021

Aviation and Aerospace

VIDEO: Drones find new fans: high school football coaches

Aerial-videography company Angel Hawk provides athletics programs across the state with a bird’s-eye view of teams' action.

Lindsay Pierce Martin

November 01, 2021

Collin Caffrey has taken his drone-videography company, Angel Hawk, to new heights under the Friday-night lights.

The Aviation Management graduate of Metropolitan State University of Denver and his team of certified drone pilots specialize in filming high school football games and practices, giving coaches and players a bird’s-eye view of their teams in action.

After focusing on search-and-rescue and other more-established commercial uses for drone technology, Caffrey pivoted to providing a coaching tool for 21 high school athletics programs across the state.

More and more high school football teams are using Angel Hawk’s filming and sideline replay system because it reveals so well how plays develop – where they go right and wrong.

“It’s similar to that big camera that hangs down behind the quarterback in NFL games, but it’s even more versatile because you can put it wherever you want,” said Harald Hasselbach, a former Denver Broncos defensive end who is now a defensive coach for Regis Jesuit High School. “You can get right in tight and watch the linemen or get out wide if you want to watch the wide receivers.”

“We try to ensure that other teams don’t get our drone film, because it does reveal so much,” Hasselbach added. “But a lot of teams are going to the same system in high school, thanks to these guys (Angel Hawk), who have kind of taken it to another level.”

MSU Denver student Joseph Link flies a drone during a high school football practice in Aurora. Photo by Amanda Schwengel.

Caffrey said his pilots make safety a priority when setting up and flying at events, getting proper authorization for using the airspace and making sure all operations comply with Federal Aviation Administration rules.

Angel Hawk’s niche in drone video exemplifies how quickly new applications are emerging for unmanned aerial vehicles. While most of Caffrey’s work focuses on football, his company is also branching out to other sports, including lacrosse and skiing.

“It feels like a new blue ocean,” he said of the commercial drone industry. “So it’s exciting to be at the forefront of it.”

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