All Drone Pilots are NOT created equal!
What you need to know before you hire a Drone Pilot
Posted on March 30, 2017 _________________________________________________________________________________________________
Terry and I are probably no different from the majority of people who purchase drones in the United States. We anxiously awaited the delivery of our DJI Mavic Pro after being on back-order for two months. And as soon as we unwrapped our new drone we charged up the batteries, read through the start up instructions and took “Keva1” out for a spin!
It was purely by accident that we soon learned that all drone operations in the U.S. were regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)! We learned that in order to operate “legally” as commercial aerial cinematographers, we would have to comply with federal laws governing the use of drones in shared airspace. In December 2015 it became mandatory for all drones to be registered with the FAA and in August 2016, commercial drone pilots were required to pass a rigorous remote pilot knowledge exam, known as Part 107.
Completing a comprehensive training course and passing the aviation exam with a score of 95% has given us the knowledge necessary to conduct safe, legal aerial operations and provide advise to our clients about best practices in the cinematic aerial photography industry.
As reported on by CNN on March 28, 2017, the FAA announced that more than 770,000 U.S. drone registrations have been filed in about 15 months – an increase of 100,000 in the past three months alone. Still, the FAA has only issued over 37,000 “remote pilot” certificates for commercial pilots who intend to operate “legally”. Many of todays uncertified drone pilots may be surprised to learn that the FAA is already testing tools to detect unauthorized drone operations. All drone pilots, whether certified or not, are required to adhere to strict regulations involving the use of drones in controlled and shared airspace. In January of this year, the FAA settled a law suit filed against Chicago based SkyPan to the tune of $200,000! According to the FAA, SkyPan embarked on 65 unauthorized drone photography flights between March of 2012 and December of 2014. Obviously, the FAA is serious about enforcement!
So, before you hire a drone pilot for your next project, there are three critical questions you must ask the drone pilot you are considering to hire:
1) Is your drone registered with the FAA?
Request a copy of the registration. When registered, each individual aircraft is given a registration number that must be displayed on the aircraft.
2) Do you have an active FAA remote pilot certification with a sUAS rating?
Request a copy of the certification. Currently, there is no way to verify if someone is a legitimate FAA certified sUAS pilot other than the actual certificate issued to the pilot. Please note that prior to the new FAA requirements going into effect August 2016, some current drone operators were issued a FAA exemption for commercial operators under a section 333 Exemption. These operators were not required to pass the Part 107 remote pilot exam and may not have critical aviation knowledge to keep them and your organization compliant with current flight requirements and laws governing shared airspace. Which leads to one final, and certainly most important question...
3) Do you have liability insurance?
Request a copy of the pilot’s liability insurance declaration page as proof of coverage. There is always a risk involved with drone operations - even with the most knowledgeable and skilled pilot! In today’s litigious world, both the drone pilot AND the person who contracted the pilot could be legally liable for accidents. In order to protect yourself, always ensure that the drone pilot has current insurance the coverage for your specific job.
Want to find out more about the FAA Part 107 rules and operational guidelines? Visit www.faa.gov.
KEVA Creative is a full service video production company committed to delivering artistic, beautifully filmed and masterfully edited digital content that exceeds clients expectations and helps redefine their visual messaging. We are passionate about our work and about working with you to bring to life the business or organization that you’ve poured your life into creating, sustaining and differentiating from your competition.
KEVA Creative is FAA Part 107 remote pilot certified with a sUAS rating and insured.