I Was Going To Buy A Drone, UNTIL…

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    • #95329
      AvatarIRBY
      Participant

      I have been planning on purchasing a drone for some music videos I want to make, which will be linked to the commercial sale of music. I’m ready to buy, and last night I did a bit of looking into the rules and regulations around this whole drone thing. I am shocked and saddened.

      It appears that if you buy a drone and use it in allowed areas following all the guidelines, just for FUN, you need no special government blessing. IF however, you use the SAME drone in the SAME space, following all of the SAME guidelines, BUT you are capturing footage for a “commercial” purpose, you… all of a sudden need to go to pilot school, study, then go through some process by which the FAA gives you a pilots certification?

      Do I have this correct? Different articles from different years keep coming up on the internet touting “new rules” for drones. Where does this stand?

      After reading, I’ve mostly come to the conclusion that buying a drone kit is just not worth it, NOT, if I have to go through some long, costly program to be within the law.

      On the other hand, I’ve seen wedding photographers and other “small” outfits use drones for commercial purposes, which are on display all over YouTube, so what does this FAA certification actually entail? I could find NOTHING that said how long, how much work and how much money acquiring this certification usually cost.

      Can someone explain to me what’s really involved?

      Thanks!

    • #216100
      Avatarpaulears
      Participant

      You are 100% correct. Commercial use, even when done for no reward (covered by the existing rules on private flying, so they know the shortcuts and cheats) means you take the test after doing the training – which is of course quite expensive, but it’s getting quite clear that businesses who know about drones and want their material, also need to show they sourced it from legal sources. If it ends up on youtube, for example, then plenty of people will be watching it and checking you out.

      I thought I’d add one to what I do, and can just about afford/justify the training and testing, which is about twice what I want to pay for the drone itself, but for me it’s the paperwork you have to put together for each flight, showing the planning and safety processes – and that’s a lot of work for what could be a short flight, but necessary. Have a look at this CAA page.
      https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Unmanned-aircraft/General-guidance/Drone-operators-with-a-valid-CAA-permission-for-commercial-work/

      You’ll see that the list of who is a licence holder is public, so you can search people out and check they are legal operators. Have a read of what is involved. I’m not sure if non-members can read it, but the Guild of Television Camera Professionals had an excellent article on this recently, written by somebody who just took their test.

      This section is the most interesting, setting out rules – and quite a few are ones that the unknowing operator might break – like the last one, flying over the top of people at any height!

      Alphabetical listing of CAA-approved commercial operators of Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) operating sub-7kg SUA and/or 7-20kg SUA. This list is current as of 31/07/2017. In general commercial SUA must only be flown:
      > Within direct, unaided visual line-of-sight (VLOS) of the pilot.
      > No higher than 400 feet above the surface and no further than 500 metres from the SUA operator.
      > 150 metres away from congested areas (unless SUA weight does not exceed 7kg) and not within 150metres of an open-air assembly of 1,000 persons or more.
      > Not directly overhead (at any height) or within 50 metres of persons, vehicles, vessels and property, unless those persons are ‘under the control of the person in charge of the SUA’.

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