Are you thinking of doing that aerial photo job yourself? Or are you hiring a drone pilot for your next aerial photo or video job?
Here are five points to keep in mind to ensure get the best aerial content and also keep yourself out of hot water with the authorities:
- FAA Certified
If a drone is used for any commercial purposes there are several legal requirements which include remote pilot certification, aircraft registration and safe operations.
The pilot of the drone needs to hold a current Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) UAS Remote Pilot Certification (Part 107), commonly known as a Drone License.
Any “drone pilot” who is flying a drone for commercial purposes without an FAA certification can face civil penalties up to $27,500, as well as criminal sanctions including a fine of $250,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to three years upon conviction.
“But no one will know! ” Be aware that every drone is controlled and monitored by GPS and the flight data including drone serial number, location, altitude, speed, length of flight, date, time, and exact flight path are recorded. This flight data can be requested from the drone manufacturer by the FAA and law enforcement. There is also a system called Aeroscope that can track and record all drone activities. This system is readily available for use by law enforcement, military and many local, state and federal governments to track and record all drone flights for safety and security reasons.
Any law enforcement agent can also ask onsite to see your FAA Certificate. It’s just like your car license in that it has to be carried with you and produced when requested by law enforcement. If not produced you might incur penalties.
All drones used for commercial purposes must be registered with the FAA. If your drone is not registered and you get caught or have an accident your liability increases. Flying an unregistered aircraft and unsafe operations result in similar penalties to not holding an FAA Part 107 certificate.
2. Liability Insurance
Any commercial aerial operations need to be covered by specific aviation insurance. Most people are under the false understanding they are covered by business insurance, but they are not. In the event of an accident while flying without an FAA Remote Pilot Certification and no aviation insurance can add up to a hefty bill.
3. Pilot Experience and Background
Flying smoothly and creatively to get “that shot” cannot be mastered in ten minutes from watching a YouTube video! If you need high quality work you need an experienced commercial drone pilot.
Most commercial drone pilots know how to make beautifully composed images and cinematic video moves with their drones. Their years of knowledge, experience, aircraft understanding and flight hours can provide high quality images and video that will sell your property or product and promote your business or event.
4. Special Airspace Approval
All United States airspace is governed by the FAA. Some areas have certain restrictions for aircraft — such as near airports, military instillations and certain infrastructure sites.
Depending on the location of your aerial job the drone pilot may need to request FAA Authorization to operate there. Being FAA Certified, the pilot will have knowledge and the ability to access airspace authorization to safely and legally complete the job.
5. Knowledge of Air Safety
Did you know…
- Sustained flight with a drone over people or moving traffic is illegal and unsafe.
- You need to keep your drone in line of sight at all times.
- You must conduct a pre-flight inspection of the aircraft and the environment, and document it in your flight plan.
- You’ll need to understand weather conditions and the operating parameters of your drone, e.g. when it is too windy to fly safely.
If you want reduced liability, safe and effective operations and high quality images and video, hire an FAA UAS Certified Remote Pilot (drone pilot).
Contact me if you have any drone photography or video needs.