As a starting point, we have set out some tips below for you to keep in mind when choosing and working with a drone operator. Please note that we are entirely independent and are not related parties with any of the drone operators. We are also not involved in or a party to the actual agreement you may enter into with them. Accordingly, please re-familiarise yourself with our Terms and Conditions before entering into any transaction with a drone operator.
Here are the five important tips to bear in mind when choosing your drone operator:
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or “drone,” operations cover a broad spectrum of commercial and government uses for drones weighing less than 55 pounds. Highlights of the rule, 14 CFR Part 107, follow.
Just as there are rules of the road when driving a car, there are rules of the sky when operating a drone.
You can fly during daylight (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) or in twilight if your drone has anti-collision lighting. Minimum weather visibility is three miles from your control station. The maximum allowable altitude is 400 feet above the ground, higher if your drone remains within 400 feet of a structure. Maximum speed is 100 mph (87 knots).
Your drone can carry an external load if it is securely attached and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft. You also may transport property for compensation or hire within state boundaries provided the drone (including its attached systems), payload, and cargo, weighs less than 55 pounds total and you obey the other flight rules. (Some exceptions apply to Hawaii and the District of Columbia.)
We strongly recommend you satisfy yourself that your chosen drone operator holds a current public liability insurance policy that specifically covers the operation of a drone (RPA) for your project. The public liability insurance policy should also cite the names of the persons who will be controlling the actual drone/s during your project.
As an example, for an operator to perform Film or Television work, the operator is likely to require a high-end 4K camera such as an Alexa, be able to work effectively with a Director of Photography, and be skilled pilot who can fly very smoothly and get the drone into the right position for an optimal shot.
As another example, to carry out a more technical survey or mapping work, the operator would need to understand how to capture and manage data sets to ensure that the final result is accurate.
Ask your drone operator to demonstrate that they have experience doing specifically what you are asking for. Operators should be able to demonstrate this by showing you their sample images and videos and data sets/ 3d models.
Drone operators that do not have an office near the area that your job is located in sometimes add travel expenses to their quote. Please discuss this with them directly.
Depending on the nature of the job, the job location, and various other factors, drone operators may need to request approval from ATC/FAA Services before commencing your work.
You should ask your chosen operator about this directly before the commencement of any work.