The second day of the FAA’s drone safety awareness week is underway, the week runs from November 4th through 10th, 2019. Drone safety is in our hands, you know this, you control your drone and ensure it is handled safely. From the FAA’s perspective, there is more to a safe flight than just making sure you don’t crash, they have many rules and regulations for drones, all designed around safety for other air traffic, as well as for people on the ground below.
Day two of the FAA’s Drone safety awareness week is for Business — Photography, real estate and insurance.
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[newsletter title=”Don’t Miss Out!” description=”Sign up now to get the latest Drone news delivered directly to your inbox! We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will never be shared.” alignment=”right”]The business of drones is vast, what the FAA refers to today is conducting mostly photography services with drones, such as basic photography, real estate photography, insurance inspections and more. For the most part, the FAA wants to talk about true inspection and mapping services another day, so today we are talking about the easy businesses you can get into with your Part 107 license and almost any competent camera drone.
Do I need a license to fly?
If you will be compensated for your flight, yes, you need your Part 107 license before you fly. In a candid chat with an FAA representative once, they explained that the FAA is very clear cut on this matter, compensation for the flight, or any photos or videos captured during that flight, make this a commercial operation. Notice that the FAA uses the term compensation, not payment. One example given to me was flying at the park, if a random family at the park asks you to take a group photo of them, offering you a hotdog and soda for your troubles, that’s compensation, that’s a commercial operation.
We don’t have to like these rules; You can absolutely reach out to the FAA and your local government representative to seek change, but for now, any compensation for your flight makes that flight a commercial operation. This goes for those popular YouTubers as well, if they collect monetization for a video containing drone footage, that flight best have been flown under Part 107 guidance.
I want to start explaining the available aerial photography business ideas out there, but you probably know just as many as I do. A drone is a cool addition for a wedding photographer, landscape photographers can get to new places, animal photographers can get shots without risking their lives and new perspectives from the sky make some of the best images around. For more practical uses, real estate photographers and real estate inspectors can quickly get a number of detailed and unique shots of a building. There is no substitute for putting hands on a roof to understand its health, but a quick fly-over can help an inspector know where to start looking for issues.
In the insurance world, hail damage, or other roof damage is a big deal, and can take a long time to identify and diagnose. Fall safety for trained professionals is manageable, but eliminating fall risk by putting a drone into the sky is a huge shift in the industry.
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Beyond those prominent uses, don’t forget that there are many others like them. We fall into this category as well. Drone reviews are a photography task, most days. We pay the $5 per drone to register machines before we do a video review or share photos from them on the site. Perhaps you are doing something similar, maybe just making fun drone videos to put on YouTube, or maybe you volunteer with a non-profit group to help them with their festivities, all of these are fun uses for drones, just be sure you know the rules, and those rules generally focus on safety.
The good part here, the basics of flight safety apply. If you follow the rules of keeping your drone in view, don’t fly over people, know your airspace and get authorization to fly, if needed, and stay below 400ft, you’ll be safe. Of course, those alone do not ensure safety, be sure to be smart out there, consider the weather, be aware of manned aircraft that may pass by and other things like that.
Truth is, the most prevalent obstacles you are likely to encounter are trees and power lines. There are no rules here, just make sure your drone’s obstacle avoidance sensors are on, and do not rely on them, as the pilot, you need to be in command, take the time to fly carefully, even if that means a test flight or careful route planning before you take off. That in control, totally get out there and make some money with that drone!
Catch up on all of the FAA’s safety week content
Day 1: Public Safety and Security
Day 5: Education and STEM
Day 6: Recreational Flyers
Day 7: Recreational Flyers
Some ideas for photography drones:
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