From The Flight Line:
Hello from the flight line! While aerial photography is exciting and fun, we cannot forget some nuts and bolts issues that help make sure we get those great shots in a safe and proper manner. Other than pilot skill there are two very important considerations when choosing a drone pilot for commercial work. While hobbyists fall under different guidelines, a commercial pilot must be licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and should be insured by a company specializing in drone operations.
The FAA has recently changed regulations regarding commercial use of drones. Without getting too into the weeds here, every commercial drone pilot MUST be licensed with either a Part 107 Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle certificate OR be a licensed manned aircraft pilot with a 333 exemption. A drone pilot with one of these ratings from the FAA has demonstrated a base knowledge of how and where to operate a drone safely and will be aware of all regulations and rules to make your flight safe and legal. It is important to note that if a pilot is unlicensed and is flying for free but the photos or video are used for a commercial purpose (such as posting on a business facebook or youtube site) then the FAA considers this a commercial flight and the pilot must be licensed. Fines can reach $1,100 for each time the drone lifts off the ground! Squadron 4 is licensed under FAA part 107 and always adheres to all rules and regulations for a safe and successful flight.
Insurance is the other important consideration. As technology progresses, drones are getting safer and more reliable with redundant systems and capabilities such as “return to home” if you lose signal. However accidents continue to happen and we all want to be sure that we are covered for any unforseen consequences. While the FAA does not require it, any good pilot should be covered by a $1,000,000 liability policy though a company specifically covering commercial drone operations. These companies are familiar with drone specific issues where traditional business liability insurance simply will not cover damage caused by a drone. And here is where being a FAA licensed pilot is again very important. Any drone insurance policy says something like “the operator must be in compliance with all applicable FAA regulations” to be covered. If a pilot is unlicensed and flying commercially they are not following FAA regulations regarding licensing and their insurance company will NOT cover them in the event of an accident. Squadron 4 carries $1,000,000 of accident and liability insurance through drone insurer Verifly.
FAA, licensing, insurance, liability– are all kinda concerning words– but a professional drone pilot knows how to easily handle it all. Following the rules helps insure a safe, successful, trouble free flight. Now that we have all that out of the way, let’s go flying!