Spidertracks Customer Spotlight: ZatzWorks, Alaska

Jan 09, 2019

If you’ve ever watched a nature show about Alaska, chances are you’ve seen some of Daniel Zatz’s work in action. A veteran of the film business, Daniel’s been living in Alaska for the better part of three decades and has established himself and his company ZatzWorks as the go-tos for aerial imagery of this stunning part of North America.

With four Emmy awards and more than 4,000 hours of filming time under his belt, it’s no surprise that Daniel’s built a client roster including giants such as the BBC, Discovery, and National Geographic. But flying in wilderness like Alaska poses risks — remote regions where communication gets hairy, weather changes forcing re-routes — so to keep tabs on ZatzWorks’s R66 helicopter and to increase his overall safety, Daniel uses Spidertracks. Here’s what he has to say about our product:

Tell us a bit about you and your organisation. What does Zatzworks do? How long have you been in operation?

ZatzWorks is an aerial cinematography business that mainly operates in Alaska and shoots television and film production. Our R66 helicopter is in the air around 300 to 400 hours per year in some of the most remote regions of North America. These areas don’t have radar, cell, or reliable marine-band radio links to the world.

How did you become aware of Spidertracks, and when did you begin using us? What was involved in your decision to become a Spidertracks customer?

I learned about Spidertracks from another Alaskan pilot who flew a float plane in a commercial operation. To anyone who understands the system, it’s instantly apparent that Spidertracks is far superior to traditional flight plans — especially for operators who can easily be diverted because of weather, light, or wildlife travel. The cost is trivial compared with the operation of a safe flying business.

What Spidertracks features and functionalities are the most important for your organisation, and why?

Our primary use for Spidertracks is as a reliable safety device, but it goes far beyond that. I regularly send an ‘I’m OK’ text to my family while working in the bush, which is immensely helpful to them. When working over Arctic and sub-Arctic waters and other remote areas to film wildlife like whales, otters or sea lions, I check in more regularly.We also use the Spidertracks website to review our tracks, especially when doing non-wildlife filming like power line inspection work.

What would you say are the biggest strengths of the Spidertracks system?

There are two aspects of the system that we love.

The first is reliability. We’ve learned over the decade that it’s rock-solid and that if anything happens to us while in the bush, we’ll be found quickly.

We also love having real people on the other end of a phone line who can support our team members and family in case of a false alarm — like in the times when we forget to turn off the Watch system. Having good, knowledgeable Spidertracks support is amazing and a great reflection on the quality of the company.

What key issues for your business has Spidertracks helped with?

Spidertracks makes our operation safer. When we’re flying in the Arctic and a herd of caribou leads us in an unexpected direction or a flock of migrating geese leads us beyond the reach of our originally intended destination, we always know that the folks back home are keeping up with our new route and destination. Spidertracks allows us to respond to changes in the natural world without adding stress.

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