"I don't need a license for this job.." "No one will know.." and more lies we are led to believe....
So, you're thinking about getting some aerial photography or video for your project or job? We get it! People love excellent drone footage. It's one of the first requests we receive any time we're working on a project proposal: do you have a drone?
Drone footage is eye catching and is a great way to boost visual appeal in your marketing.
I've heard this several times over the past couple years from people asking for drone services: "I just need someone to put a drone up in the air for a few minutes..." This was after explaining that the job would potentially require airspace clearance or came with obstacles that they weren't aware of. By the way, it's part of our training to recognize unsafe attitudes related to flight and we are strongly cautioned against flight if recognized. Here are a few obstacles you may not be aware of:
1. Airspace Restrictions:
There are specific zones in which drone flight is prohibited because of overhead hazards and air traffic patterns. If caught in these zones without permission, operators face stiff penalties and potentially jail time. (Someone was just fined nearly $1 million USD for a long list of infractions) These zones are not always obvious, for example, flying within 5 miles of an airport. These zones can change within just a few hundred feet. Drones are only allowed vertically 400 feet at ground level and within visual sight without binoculars.
Not all drones are created the same, and many have limits on their ability to operate safely in certain weather conditions- both visibly observed and invisible. Flights are prohibited if air visibility is less than 3 statute miles. High winds & rain can pose risk to structures and damage to equipment. Tall buildings can also create strong updrafts which can cause a drone to become unstable- these drafts are not immediately noticeable.
3. Local Restrictions & Structure Requirements
The FAA has to know within 10 days if damage to property occurs over $500. Some zones, like Indiana University, require permission from a board and a $2 million dollar insurance policy. It's both in the interest of protecting private property and a safety measure for people on the ground. You need permission to operate over people, otherwise you're facing a hefty fine from the FAA & litigation if someone were to be injured. NOTAMS alert pilots of special restrictions that you generally won't hear about on the news or social media.
Those are just a few things you may not be aware of that licensed pilots have been trained to recognize. Hiring a pilot may cost more money than you realize (depending on the request), but it outweighs the cost if something were to go wrong. If you're making money from any content captured in the air via drone, you need a Part 107 licensed pilot. Licensed pilots have the ability to capture quality content for you and can determine the best environment for the ideal imagery.
Reach out for any inquires for aerial photography or videography.