In today’s exploding use of drones/UAV, many people are jumping into the pond head first with a rocky course a head. Although there is a controversy of how much the FAA controls, many of the issues start with the people themselves who are buying these device and calling themselves aerial photographers.
Like going into any business, it’s very important to plan, invest, train, and educate. If you skip out on any of these areas you are setting yourself up for failure. Many of the people think if they just buy one of these all in one solution, mount a goPro on the bottom it, and certifies them as a legit business and professional aerial photographer.
I have read, heard, and seen many of these people just buying a device and going into business, what I have not seen or heard of, is any of the precautionary needed to do such a thing. At same the time the FAA basically says as a hobbyist you are allowed to fly these copters pretty much anywhere you can fly a kite, you can take all the photos, and video you want, but as soon as you put a commercial value to any the collected media, you have now committed an illegal act.
On the FAA side, they say it’s a matter of safety but in reality gathering photos/videos for fun or commercial reason is just as dangerous. One could argue people who are properly doing it on the commercial side are safer, because they are putting more of a structure in place then the ones who are just doing it, saying they are in the aerial photography business.
A commercial person is most likely going to buy a product of stature, one that is not under powered. They most likely would use higher components needed to make these devices work. Like better communications, motors, flight controllers, frames, batteries. They probably have a pretty good understanding of rule and regulation. They most likely are putting safety first, knowledge of airspace, have a good understanding of their copter’s inner workings, a preflight check list, Insurance for the business practices, etc..
One of the issues we see and are getting frustrated from the FAA is that they were told to integrate some type of policy in place by 2015, originally it was suppose to be some type of integrated policy in place already but instead we now are learning that they are nowhere ready to do so, and most likely will miss the 2015 deadline.
Currently we are at a real critical stage of losing complete control or better yet having a situation where something catastrophic is going to happen because the lack of regulation of any type. If not properly checked over or operated, these things come down and when they do, it’s not just them falling out of the sky, usually they have added weight of some type of equipment and in most cases there are some spinning blades involved.
I think the part of the FAA’s plan knowing that they have some major issues to deal with and until they have any help behind them its best to wait. Wait for someone to crash one of these things into a crowd where someone is severely hurt or better yet killed, as soon as that happens the next day they will have all the help they need.
Right now I think what they should do is put something in place, anything. Make up some type of registration process, start strict and back off as you learn how to work with the new technologies. Make it for only people with pilot’s license, or people who have sat for the written part of it. This way you would have some tracking ability, even thought the commercial guys still may be careless at lease he’s on the same page and you know who he is.
Leaving it the way it is, is not going to end up well for the people out there trying to do things right. In the end if you are going into the aerial photography/videographer business, do what you can to make it right! Be smart and plan out your approach. Don’t be like someone I just read about who bought a small multirotor the day before, leaned how to fly it in the morning, and now is out there taking money for his aerial photography services.
There is more to it then that, and it’s that person who is going ruin it for everyone before you know it.