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FAA Guidelines and Commercial Use
3549 22 2014-9-17
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tony
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2856060 ft
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United States
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So, how are the pro's here in the US getting around the FAA "no commercial use" guideline? I assume you are being creative with your advertising and wording and not selling the use of the drone, but maybe offering aerial consulting and throwing in the aerial images and video free of charge? I am mainly involved in Real Estate and Golf Course industries. Any tips on including aerial services to my list without violating FAA Rules? I know to stay under 400 feet, and more than 1/4 mile from airports, and not over people, and not from a moving vehicle, and all that stuff. Any other suggestions woudl be greatly appreciated. Thanks and happy flying!
2014-9-17
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sibes
lvl.1

United States
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Have you actually done any of this yet?  What sort of rates are you charging?
2014-9-18
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tony
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I have flown for my clients. But I have not charged them. I am concerned about the guidelines. So far my aerial clients have been people I have standing business relationships with so I am using the quad free of charge, under circumstances where I am billing for other things. And they understand this and agree that I am not charging them for the aerial images and photo. But I would like to start advertising these services. Especially now that I have some great stock footage to show my offerings. But how do you advertise something that you are not suppose to charge for? haha

I do see websites from businesses around the country that are clearly advertising and charging for use of the drone. I suppose they have the mentality that the FAA has bigger fish to fry and won't go after them. I like to keep it legit, and would love more advice on this matter. I am in Orlando and have even called to local sherriff's office asking. They directed me to the courts to look into the laws. But I am sure this is something only a small group of FAA people would know about. Not sure how to proceed other than just hang low and continue to offer it as a free service when paired with my other services.
2014-9-18
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matzky
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Germany
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Hi Tony,

more trouble in the US as in europe !
I didn´t noticed this problem.
We are planing to produce a new film about the oil disaster in the gulf of mexico (4 years ago ... how is the situation now..)
The plan is to use the DJI Phantom for additonal aerial footage.
So this might be a problem with authorisation in the US ???
any idea...
2014-9-18
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tony
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I think you can get clearance if you are going to be filming and make arrangements ahead of time. But I really do not know for sure. You are not "specifically" using the drone for "commercial use" which I think is what the FAA guidelines prevent. It would definitely be worth looking into before yo get here and find out you can't get the shots. Sorry I couldn't help more. If I learn anything new I will certainly share it.

Remember to switch to FCC mode here! haha. A little extra power for your transmitter, right?
2014-9-18
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hd_ultra
lvl.4

United States
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The only way people are getting around this is. Charging for the editing service and not for the time it takes to get the aerial footage.
Make sure everyone is aware that you not charging to capture the video, and that they know that your only charging fees for the editing.

Just 1 of many loopholes in the system.
2014-9-22
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tmansonusa
lvl.3

United States
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It is my understanding that the FAA does not prohibit commercial uses, but the list of criteria (one of which is a pilot's certification) are significant obstacles for most folks.  At the moment the FAA has not published the new rules that they promised to do by September 2014 (I guess they have a few more days, but that's sure not gonna happen).  Having said this, I am not absolutely sure about any of it.
2014-9-22
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hd_ultra
lvl.4

United States
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The rule is not precise on the regulations.


What Can I Do With My Model Aircraft?
Hobby/Recreational Flying

Having fun means flying safely! Hobby or recreational flying doesn't require FAA approval but you must follow safety guidelines. Any other use requires FAA authorization.
Avoid doing anything hazardous to other airplanes or people and property on the ground.
"Dos"
Do fly a model aircraft/UAS at the local model aircraft club
Do take lessons and learn to fly safely
Do contact the airport or control tower when flying within 5 miles of the airport
Do fly a model aircraft for personal enjoyment
"Don'ts"
Don't fly near manned aircraft
Don't fly beyond line of sight of the operator
Don't fly an aircraft weighing more than 55 lbs unless it's certified by an aeromodeling community-based organization
Don't fly contrary to your aeromodeling community-based safety guidelines
Don't fly model aircraft for payment or commercial purposes
Model Aircraft Operations Limits
According to the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 as (1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use; (2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization; (3) the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based organization; (4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; (5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower…with prior notice of the operation; and (6) the aircraft is flown within visual line sight of the operator.

FAA SITE
http://www.faa.gov/uas/publications/model_aircraft_operators/

Guidelines:
http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/105.pdf
2014-9-24
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Tony
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hd_ultra@msn.co Posted at 2014-9-25 07:10
The rule is not precise on the regulations.

This thread is about commercial use, and the rules and regulations are very precise regarding that: it is a violation. I was just curious what people are doing to keep it legit, but still offer it as a service.
2014-9-24
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hd_ultra
lvl.4

United States
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But you talking one in a million getting busted and or fined with the current regulation. But if you charge for services other than recording your in a somewhat safe loophole. There are friends of mine here that do just that. They are running a full scale aerial photography business. Some of them are charging hourly. Some are charging a flat rates. The government is not going to stop me from making money and putting food on my table. Until the new regulations come out, which will be soon. We all will have a better understanding were this technology will take us. We will just have to see what happens. No risk. No Rewards
2014-9-24
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Tony
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hd_ultra@msn.co Posted at 2014-9-25 12:15
But you talking one in a million getting busted and or fined with the current regulation. But if you ...

Spoken like a true outlaw. haha.   I agree, they have bigger fish to fry. But to say the government is not going to stop you, well, that's taking a chance and breaking the law. Personal choice. Just hope you or your friends don't cause any personal injury while breaking the law. Then things could get nasty.
2014-9-25
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hd_ultra
lvl.4

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So is speeding down a federal highway' they're not going to take your car away.
The people driving and exceeding the speed limit take chances that nothing will ever happen.
We all take chances in the world we live in. Some people take to the extreme and others follow the rules completely.
We all bend the rules here n there or find loopholes in the system. That's America.. LOL

There is only one case in the court system right now and the only case that I know of.
http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/06/us/drone-pilot-case-faa/
The FAA has appealed this case, so it's not quite over.

I have had chances to take money for services but personally have not taken any money.
The city where I live wanted me to cover an event for their park system. I told them that on this event I would not charge them.
They are now wanting me to film all their parks in the city, and I told them if I were to do it. They would only be paying for the editing services and nothing more. I could make some good cash here to be able to move up to the professional series DJI. Taking a chance yes, putting people in harms way, NO WAY. I for sure will not ever put someone in harms way.

I support the AMA and try to follow the guidelines.
This organization and others are fighting the battle to keep us all up in the air.

Also if I were to do property damage I have insurance to help me cover my losses.
General Liability Coverage. And that is no excuse for flying dangerously.

The guy's I know also have a LLC and have full coverage if something should happen.
They also follow the guidelines for safe flying. They both use the 2 person flying while filming to avoid endangering people and property.
I'm sure they have taken some chances by running a business of this type.
But so far they are making money and doing great work. There main line of business of filming car dealerships, and Real Estate.
I would hope that they have consulted with a Lawyer on setting up this LLC.

So with all this said. Will I take money for my editing services, yep I think I might be tempted.

2014-9-25
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tcorwin
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Check out this attorney's/ drone operator's site here.  Check out the short video there too.
2014-9-25
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tcorwin
lvl.1

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tcorwin@veteran Posted at 2014-9-25 22:15
Check out this attorney's/ drone operator's site here.  Check out the short video there too.

The video is under 'about'
2014-9-25
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Tony
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tcorwin@veteran Posted at 2014-9-25 22:15
Check out this attorney's/ drone operator's site here.  Check out the short video there too.

Wow, definitely bookmarking this site. This is very enlightening. Not sure how it applies to Florida. I am trying to research if Florida has passed any state specific laws (other than drones for police use). But this is huge. Thanks for sharing!
2014-9-25
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Tony
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hd_ultra@msn.co Posted at 2014-9-25 22:09
So is speeding down a federal highway' they're not going to take your car away.
The people driving a ...

Absolutely! This seems like the safest bet for now. No need to open yourself up to unnecessary risk. Charge for editing and delivery, not for the fly time or use of the drone. That city parks gig sounds awesome! Congrats, hope it goes great and you get that step up. Very cool.
2014-9-25
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tcorwin
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Tony@CVP Posted at 2014-9-25 22:40
Wow, definitely bookmarking this site. This is very enlightening. Not sure how it applies to Flori ...

Florida has laws regulating the police use of drones. Other than that, It's the wild, wild west.
2014-9-25
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tumad
lvl.1
South Africa
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Even getting paid only for editing is not an option.
2015-11-18
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oakspi
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United States
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How does anyone know if a UAV was used to take video unless a blade or UAV shadow appears in the video? A manned helicopter video and UAV video should look similar to a viewer. Am I correct?
2015-11-19
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roy
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United States
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Go figure....
FAA Giidelines
Model aircraft operations are for hobby or recreational purposes only.
The FAA has partnered with several industry associations to promote Know Before You Fly, a campaign to educate the public about using unmanned aircraft safely and responsibly. Individuals flying for hobby or recreation are strongly encouraged to follow safety guidelines, which include:
Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
Don't fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
Don't fly near people or stadiums
Don't fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs
Don't be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft
The statutory parameters of a model aircraft operation are outlined in Section 336 of Public Law 112-95 (the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012) (PDF). Individuals who fly within the scope of these parameters do not require permission to operate their UAS; any flight outside these parameters (including any non-hobby, non-recreational operation) requires FAA authorization. For example, using a UAS to take photos for your personal use is recreational; using the same device to take photographs or videos for compensation or sale to another individual would be considered a non-recreational operation.

Pretty streight forward!
2015-11-29
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bclarkworld
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roy@mcscomputer Posted at 2015-11-29 17:47
Go figure....
FAA Giidelines
Model aircraft operations are for hobby or recreational purposes only.

Guidelines sure...
2016-5-17
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5horns
lvl.1
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I think the main way someone will get busted for breaking this FAA regulation is when there is an accident or incident. People are really hanging it out when ignoring a federal law. I've been a pilot for 31 years and have dealt with the FAA on occasion. They don't mess around. They aren't always nice. I think the plan to say you are only charging for editing something you couldn't get without flying your drone won't fly (pun intended).

I don't think the rule makes much sense, since recreational drone flyers can be in the same airspace as a commercial operator without a pilot license. Maybe it will change eventually. I think a demonstrated understanding of airspace for everyone flying in it is all that is needed. Maybe an online course and test.

For now though, I am having fun getting ready (333 waiver pending) to do some drone photography on the side. I was already a professional photographer, and a fighter pilot/Airline Transport licensed pilot. The rule that I don't agree with has created a niche for me right now. I do think it should change to include all of you who can fly just as safely as I can.  
2016-5-18
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medurden2
lvl.2

United States
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How about obey the law and let's be safe and legal or the FAA is going to make this potential business opportunity totally illegal and give all the work back to helicopters, planes and balloons. I have been flying a P3P for a year. I got my 333 exemption from the FAA in January... actually got my congressman on board to help process and move it along... those donkey's work for us... when is the last time one of them did anything for you or anything at all??? The process still takes a minimum of 120 days. I then went out to New Mexico and got a Private Pilot License in a Hot Air Balloon. It was an absolute blast and if I lived somewhere like New Mexico it would be a new hobby. After much research and looking into it... I found this to be the cheapest, fastest, and safest way to get a Pilot's License. More and more people are going through the expense and time of getting legal. More and more Pilot's are seeing the potential and enjoyment of a UAS/Drone business. If you are skirting the law you are hurting everyone and the future potential of a growing business. One of the earlier post is correct... the FAA is not an agency to mess around with. There are cases where people have been fined up to $100,000... settled for $10,000 and tons of attorney fees. There is another case pending for a larger fine than that one. I have a website, Facebook page, and have canvased my area with brochures and business cards. Business is just starting to come pick up but I believe over the next year or so it will really surge. I do this full-time. Mostly real estate but I am currently working on a golf course and I shoot pics for local paper as well as the chamber of commerce for any fairs, markets or celebrations they sponsor. Someone asked... How can you get caught??? Just like Airplane Pilot's who see individuals flying without a Pilot's License report them... this is occurring for UAS/Drones. No person in their right mind who wants to pursue this as a career... sees the potential and has gone through the time and expense to be legal is going to let someone who is illegal just come in and compete for his or her business!!! Some may say... snitch... whatever... if I illegally hurt your business would you stand for that??? People who are legal... want this industry to grow... and have done everything by the book for a reason. Stop the madness with trying to be illegal... I don't charge for the drone photos or video... I just charge for my consulting... the pictures are free??? That is ILLEGAL... that is NUTS!!! If responsibility is used by all this will be a great business for those entrepreneurs that want a small business and their will be lots of drone pilot jobs for major companies!!! Power companies... Train companies... inspecting power lines, train tracks, cell towers... you name it... IT IS COMING!!! Auburn University is currently working with the FAA to come up with a process that will allow individuals to get a Sport Pilot or Private Pilot License with a drone. At some point you will not need to go get a Pilot license in plane, glider, powered parachute, or balloon... it is just not here yet. It took congress nearly 10 years to work out the Sport Pilot Licensing... so for those who think this will happen tomorrow... I would not count on it... that is why I went the route I did... but it is coming and schools that already have aviation departments see the value of this and are pushing for it too... which will help our industry. Again, it is not that hard and is not that great of an expense to GET LEGAL!!! All the people I work for say that is the reason they use me... they don't want to skirt the law or be involved with people who are!!! Do the right thing!!! You will find more work and a greater sense of freedom!!! Or be illegal... but NOT IN MY BACKYARD!!! I and others I have spoken to are not going to sit by and watch illegal operators try and take business!!! I know one guy in Atlanta that is seriously after checking on competitions legal status. He will contract you and then turn you in to FAA... Haha... Crazy to go that far but he is old school pilot for 40 years... not happy with people breaking the law. I know for myself... I am not trying to find illegal pilots and have not run across one in my area... Delta is located here... there are too many existing Pilot's that either see this as future business or just enjoy the side work. The faster we as UAS/Drone users and Pilot's claim responsibility the more jobs will be out there and the more they will PAY!!! All may disagree... just saying... I don't care.. but NOT IN MY BACKYARD! Enjoy your recreational flying and good luck to all those legal Pilot's that are starting businesses!!! GO LEGAL!!! This business has a huge future and the sooner you are legal the sooner you will be able to surf the blue water of that wave!!!
2016-5-18
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