Our Story

Darkwing Aerials was founded by Dean Engela in 2012.

Combining creativity with safety is the magic that the Darkwing team strive for every day.  We have extensive drone cinematography and film experience and have worked on a great deal of local and international productions.

The team has developed drones with numerous specific applications and has evolved into a versatile company that offers film, survey and industrial inspection of the highest standards.

Darkwing Aerials is committed to delivering an accurate, efficient and cost-effective product to all of its customers. This ambitious approach in a relatively new market necessitated the use of a team of highly-skilled individuals that share the same vision.


Key Achievements

We have worked extensively in the film and media industry, as well as the renewable energy sector performing wind turbine inspections and PV Solar Plant Inspections.

Film & Media:


  • Performed a 3D Lidar scan on a bulk storage tank, one of the first drone companies in Africa to do so.

  • Introduced NACE coating inspection to our service line-up, with the first job taking place at the Durban harbour in July of 2018.

  • Performed a demo wind turbine inspection, a first for the client and one of the first successful drone inspections in Africa.

  • Performed a visual inspection on floating roof storage tanks and a smoke stack at a refinery owned by a internationally-renowned oil company.


Our Team

Drone filming has always been a passion of ours

Dean Engela

Founder, CEO & Chief Pilot

Having completed his Qualification in Art Direction and Graphic Design at the Red and Yellow Creative School of Business, Dean worked in film and media. He identified drone technology as a game-changer and major innovation with the potential to shape the future of several industries.

He has since pioneered several innovative applications including successfully developing and completing the first drone delivery back in 2013. Dean’s creative and technical background enables him to interpret his clients’ vision and achieve images of the highest quality - no matter the technical difficulty. He is people-orientated and always strives to achieve the best possible results for his clients.

After gaining considerable experience flying drones for the film and media industries, he was contracted to do several jobs in industrial sectors and expanded the business beyond its initial applications.

Getting the job done on time and within budget is critical to Darkwing’s leading member. Dean’s personalized approach ensures that he hand-picks and personally approves only the best pilots for Darkwing Aerials. Dean and his team are committed to regulatory compliance and above all, safety.

Marius Geyser

Director of Marketing and IndustriaL Operations

Marius started his working career in the oil and gas industry in 2004, working offshore in Angola and Congo as a rope access and inspection team leader for 6 years. From 2011 to 2017 Marius worked as a Business Development Manager for prominent oil and gas service companies focused in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2018 Marius joined the Darkwing team to bring a new service lineup to the company in the form of Industrial Inspections and Techniques in new markets such as Oil and Gas, Renewable Energy, Power and Maritime.

Thomas McLeod

Quality, Security & Safety Officer

Tom is the guru in the office that keeps the team on the ‘straight and narrow’ ensuring top-class Quality and Safety standards at Darkwing. Tom plans, implements and coordinates all of Darkwing’s Quality, Safety and Security Protocols.

He ensures that Darkwing is compliant with Aviation Safety regulations, procedures and policies. Tom is passionate about aviation, live music and skate boarding.

Tom Lautenbach

Operations Officer & Pilot

Tom is a nature conservationist and qualified UAV pilot. 
After completing his Diploma he focused his energy on the use of drones for conservation.

Tom spent his first two years as a licensed drone pilot flying for anti-poaching units within the Kruger National Park and numerous other parks run by the KZN Ezemvelo wildlife authority. He then became team leader for Zimbabwean operations, working with the WWF to gather data on the effectiveness of UAVs for anti-poaching. He found a new passion for film and joined Darkwing over a year ago as a freelance pilot. Tom has moved up into a full-time position as Operations Officer.

In addition, he is currently laying down the ground work for his Masters which will integrate drones with present-day conservation management practices in order to assist with human-elephant conflict.


We are always looking for top talent to join the Darkwing team. Our current vacancies include pilots and an intern.
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