With the growth of the retail drone industry market, determining a drone’s airworthiness becomes the owner’s responsibility. The FAA does not have the manpower to inspect every drone to determine if it’s airworthy. Therefore, it is the Pilot in Command’s responsibility to determine if the drone is in condition for “safe” operation. A good rule of thumb is DO NOT take your drone out for its maiden flight with an audience of bystanders. Not all drones come out of the box and work properly.
Begin with an exterior view of the craft and make sure that all the parts are properly attached. Turn the craft and the controller. Make sure the running lights on the drone are normal and that the controller display has a good connection to the drone. Pick a good vacant site to begin your field test. Start with a few take-offs and touch-downs, then hover about three to four feet. If you crash, it should not be as devastating. Next, move from Point A to Point B, then the box pattern, and finally a few figure eights.
For recreational use, the owner must be 13 years or older and a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident to be able to register a drone for recreational use.
Aircraft Registration required for anyone who owns a small unmanned aircraft that weighs more than 0.55 lbs. and less than 55 lbs. (250 g and less than 25 kg) must register with the FAA UAS registry before they fly outdoors. The weight includes everything that is attached to the drone platform and is lifted into the air. It is the drone plus attachments (camera, gimbal, batteries, sensors, etc.) With batteries getting smaller and lighter, I believe the weight requirements will be readdressed into categories of uses. Civil and criminal infractions are currently being legislated with penalties being assessed on a case-by-case basis.
It only costs $5 to register a drone. The FAA UAS Registrationsite is easy to maneuver and understand. You can either register your drone for recreational use or for commercial use. All that is needed is an email address, credit or Debit card, and proof of a physical address or business mailing address. BE AWARE – There are many sites out there which will register your drone for you for a larger fee. Be sure to go to the FAA DroneZone site to register your drone. Once you receive a registration number, you must mark the registration number on all aircraft. The markings on the drone must be easily accessible. You can mark the inside of the aircraft as long it has easy access. In other words, it does not require a tool such as a screw driver to access the compartment which has the registration number. Masking tape with the registration number written on it is considered to be a sufficient marking.
The commercial registration is the essentially the same as recreational registration with the main difference being that you have to identify each individual drone being used for commercial operations. You must identify each commercial use drone by nickname, manufacturer, type, and serial number. You will have the same commercial registration number for all of your commercially registered drones.
A Certification of Authorization for Part 107 (107.41) requires that you have an authorization from Air Traffic Control prior to operating in Class B, C, D, or the surface area of Class E airspace.
For UAS, authorizations are processed through the Drone Zone (FAA portal) or with a third-party App offering the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, also known as the LAANC.
The FAA has stated that for commercial operations a Certificate of Authorization needs to be filed. Certificates of Authorizationscan take up to 90 days to be issued. Business can be easily lost filing certificates of authorization. I have found an area where I want to practice and that has given me a good opportunity to file a certificate of authorization. The certificate of authorization can be for a time period of a day to a year. I suggest that if you are going to solicit business in areas near airports where permission is necessary then getting permission may be a good way of being able to solicit business.
After you fill out theCertificate of Authorization, COAapplication, they will send you email notifications of the progress of each stage, beginning with submitted. You will first start out with an administration review check to make sure the application has been filled out properly and then it will go to an Air Traffic Control Facility for coordination review. Once it has passed this stage, it will go into a completion stage where you will be given permission to fly within the airspace.
You must have the signed COA document before you can fly the operation. Make copies in both pdf and paper duplicates for future flights since the COA is usually good for two years.
If you have been given a Certificate of Authorization to conduct operations in Class B, Class C, Class D, or Class E airspace, you will need to file a Notice to Airman, also known as a NOTAM. It’s also good practices to check for NOTAM on the Flight Service website. The website has a link to the FAA NOTAMS. You need to check for NOTAMs before each flight to obtain information about airspace restrictions. Drone flights are prohibited in areas of Temporary Flight Restrictions, such as firefighting or disaster relief efforts. Because a TFR may be issued with little advance notice, it is always good to check before your flight. To file a NOTAM is easy. Don’t let calling the proper authorities to get permission to fly your drone scare you. This is important to ensure the safety of your flights. Only file a NOTAM if the airport has a control tower, otherwise, you may need to contact a city or county official if you are within five miles of the airport. If you feel you can’t make the phone call, then stop right here and sell your drone. I don’t want you flying if you can’t be responsible enough to ensure my airspace is safe.
It is easy to contact the NOTAM Flight Service Station. The number is 1-877-4-US-NTMS or (1-877-487- 6867). They will direct you to the proper region for you to file your flight plan. Try to give at least eight hours’ notification prior to the operation. It is suggested that 24 to 72 hours is preferred but sometimes scheduling and weather conditions limit the amount of advanced notice that you can give.
No matter who you call, the issuing agency will require four items. The items include the remote pilot in command’s name and phone number, the location, altitude, and operating area, the time and nature of the operation, and the number of drones to be flown. The name and phone number is critical because it gives emergency access to the remote pilot in command if critical information were to be relayed from the air traffic controller.
The FAA grants waiversas an authorized way of being able to operate your drone outside of the operational rules. A waiveris an official document issued by the FAA that allows you to fly an aircraft outside the limitations of an operational rule, but under conditions ensuring an equivalent level of safety. It is not the same as an airspace authorization. The FAA may approve an application for a waiver under the provisions in Part 107 only when it has been determined that the proposed operation can be safely conducted under the terms in the certificate of waiver.
A waiver addresses the “what” and the “how” of an operation. The “what” meaning the action or equipment that an operator will take or use while operating under the waiver. The “how” meaning the method in which the action will be accomplished or the equipment will function.
The official document issued by the FAA that allows you to fly an aircraft outside the limitations of an operational rule, but under conditions ensuring an equivalent level of safety.
Under the Part 107 Operating Rules, the maximum altitude is 400 feet above ground level (AGL), up to 400 feet above a structure, or within 400 feet horizontally from a structure. A structure is basically defined as an unmovable object like a mountain, building, or cell tower. The maximum altitude of 400 feet has been used by modelers for years, and it ensures the flyer will not interfere in manned airspace. Manned airspace is typically defined by different classifications and height restrictions of 1,000 feet above manmade structures and 500 feet above rural areas.
According to the FAA’sPart 107 Operating Rules, all operations must occur during daylight or civil twilight. Civil twilight is 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset. In the 30 minutes before sunlight and 30 minutes after sunset, you need to have appropriate anti-collision lighting. If the sky conditions deteriorate to darkness, then you are not allowed to fly. This does not apply if weather conditions prohibit appropriate anti-collision lighting.
According to the FAA’s Part 107 Operating Rules, do not fly directly over people. This rule applies to flying over anyone that is not directly involved in the drone operation. Never fly over groups of people. If you are flying over a structure, you need to look at that structure as being fully occupied and make the necessary precautions. It is recommended that persons in the immediate area not directly involved in the operation of the drone, be notified of the operation.
The rule does not specify a safe distance from people. A safe distance is considered one in which if the drone were to be in an emergency situation, it would not impose any risk or harm to individuals or property. If the FAA has to investigate an accident, one of the first questions will be what safety procedures did you put in place to mitigate the risk.
According to the FAA’s Part 107 Operating Rules, you must alwayskeep drone within line of sightof either the remote pilot in command or a visual observer. This includes drones that have GPS capability. Preprogrammed flights are allowed as long as they adhere to the line-of-sight rule. Using a drone’s camera, also called first-person view, FPV is not allowed under the line-of-sight requirement. A drone’s camera can only see a portion of the sky as it flies in a three-dimensional space. Problems can occur outside of the view of the camera. You cannot use visual aids to see a drone such as binoculars.
The FAA’s insistence on line of sight is for another important reason. Typically, line of sight is a good indicator of a good connection with your drone. There is less opportunity for loss of signal.
It is considered to be legal if visual line-of-sight requirement is met by having a visual observer. However, the rules do not specify the age of the visual observer. A good rule of practice is to use the same rules that apply to registration. A visual observer 13 years or older for recreational use and 16 years and older for commercial use. The visual observer has to have an unimpeded line of communication to the remote pilot in command. It is a gray area as to whether the remote pilot in command needs to be able to see the drone if it is involved in an emergency situation or whether the visual observer creates a compliance with the rules. It is also unclear whether daisy chaining visual observers can be compliant with the rules if there is a clear line of communication with the remote pilot in command.
Can a drone fly beyond the sight of the operator if there is a visual observer? Yes, the drone is allowed to fly beyond the line of sight of the operator as long as the visual observer has a clear view and well-established communication with the operator. The operator, remote pilot in charge, is solely responsible for the flight of the aircraft.
According to the FAA’s Part 107 Operating Rules, the remote pilot in command must yield the right of way to manned aircraft. Don’t fly near manned aircraft. This is absolutely insane. Don’t risk it. This is one of a pilot’s worst fears. It does not take much to bring down a small airplane. The general rule of thumb is that if another aircraft is in the air and sharing similar airspace to the drone then bring the drone down. This even goes for other drone operators in the air. Until you know who you are sharing the airspace with, it is always good practice to make sure that you have identified the flying parameters. Know your airspace.
Since drones are becoming more commonplace, it is easy to move from an amateur to experienced flyer. I have composed some lessons which I use to learn and test on. I have started with the most basic and built upon those skills. The following lessons are also good test to see if your aircraft is safe. As you gain experience and practice these maneuvers, you will discover that when your drone is not functioning properly, you will be able to easily tell by its performance. These tests go from basic to more advanced. All of the skills in each lesson one through three need to be mastered. Lesson four is an advanced lesson that as a mastered skill helps to give you the ability to capture exceptional images.
Lesson One: Hovering
The first lesson is just to get comfortable with the drone by flying three to four feet off the ground. Just fly around in a sufficiently sized space and get used to the controls and drone. Move the drone forward and back and to the left and right. The prop wash and air flow under the rotors will not be interfered with by the ground. This is a great lesson because crashes should not be as devastating.
Lesson Two: Point A to Point B
The second lesson helps you learn take-offs and landings. Take off from base and fly to a designated landing spot. Land, take off, and return to base and land. Continue practicing and adding difficulty with the multi-rotor facing different directions. This helps you learn the controller, too. For example: the drone facing toward you causes the controller to be backwards.
Lesson Three: The Box Pattern
Complete a box pattern with the drone flying to each corner. Add difficulty with the multi-rotor facing different directions. Practice landing and takeoffs in the corners. Master the skill by flying the drone aimed directly at each corner. Finally, begin to add more area to the box. This helps you determine your depth perception skills.
Lesson Four: Figure 8’s
This is an advanced skill to master. First, use the Box Pattern and introduce diagonally flying to the opposite corners and then rotating around while flying to the closest corner and then flying to the furthest corner. When you reach that corner, fly to the closest corner and then fly diagonally to the furthest corner. Because of inertia, the drone will appear to be flying in a figure 8 pattern. Once you get comfortable with flying, try figure 8’s. You will begin to experience the benefits to your camera work.
Do fly a model aircraft for personal enjoyment. Recreational flying can be personally satisfying, and understanding the basics will make it that much more enjoyable. If monies are exchanged for services provided by a drone, then that constitutes a commercial usage. You need to get a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate.
The FAA has tips for how to fly under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. If you have the ability, do take lessons and learn to fly safely. The first thing you should do is read the instruction manual and understand the components of the aircraft. I always recommend buying a small handheld toy drone to learn the basics. There are some which are totally manually controlled and have trim features. These are great drones because they are typically built to survive a crash and the small ones can be flown indoors.
Once you have mastered indoors flight, it is time to go outside. Typically, small toy drones do not handle outdoor conditions, such as wind, that well so you are probably upgrading to a larger drone. Here are some tips to determine the airworthiness of your drone. The tips are also good for mastering your drone’s flight.
The following lessons are also good test to see if your aircraft is safe. As you gain experience and practice these maneuvers, you will discover that when your drone is not functioning properly, you will be able to easily tell by its performance. These tests go from basic to advanced. The first test is just to get comfortable with the drone.
First learn to fly three to four feet off the ground. Just fly around and get used to the controls. Go up and down, forward and back, left and right. The prop wash and air flow under the rotors will not be interfered with by the ground. Most importantly, crashes should not be as devastating. This is also a great way to see and hear if your drone is functioning properly. Before I send my drone out on a pre-programmed flight, I will take it up to hover just to make sure everything looks to be functioning correctly and I do not hear and alarming noises.
Point A to Point B
Practice taking off from a designated spot and fly to a designated spot and land then back. Go back and forth and practice making the maneuver with the multi-rotor facing different directions.
The Box Pattern
Complete a box pattern with the drone flying to each corner aimed at each corner. Then try landing at each corner and taking off.
Once you get comfortable with flying, try Figure 8’s. It will teach you how to fly in different orientations.
The best way is to operate a drone is by using the IMSAFE rule. The IMSAFE rule is an acronym used for conditions that can affect the body. The pilot poses the most risk to a successful operation. Make sure that none of these conditions will affect your ability to carry out a successful operation.
Illness – Are you sick?
Medication – Can medications affect my judgment or make me drowsy?
Stress – Are job or personal issues causing me concentration or performance problems?
Alcohol – Have you been drinking in the last eight hours? Can lead to disorientation.
Fatigue – Am I tired? Typically, only realized when it is too late.
A remote pilot could develop practices to demonstrate the right stuff that could actually have an adverse effect on safety. This is because the pilot could be generating tendencies which lead to practices that are illegal and may lead to mishap. Examples include flying over people not associated with the drone operation or flying at night. This could lead into a normalization of the deviation. This is where a behavior is normalized because nothing bad has happened. Be careful, this could lead to a potential accident.
The FAA offers some tips on where to learn to fly. A local model aircraft club is recommended. You can find local modeling clubs through the RC Airplane World website or through the Academy of Model Aeronautics. If you cannot find a local modeling club to fly, then select a site a sufficient distance away from populated areas. It should also be away from noise-sensitive areas such as parks, schools, churches, etc. Parks are GREAT. Choose days when they are unoccupied or where you can fly safely over no spectators.
Do not operate in the presence of spectators until the aircraft is successfully flight tested and proven airworthy.
Fly For Fun
Fly for fun. Recreational flying can be personally satisfying, and understanding the basics will make it that much more enjoyable.
The aircraft operates in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines. The only provider that I have found that offers a community-based set of safety guidelines is the Academy of Model Aeronautics. According to the FAA, you have to be a member to be able to fly underneath their guidelines.
The drone must weigh less than 55 lbs.
The drone does not fly with or interfere with manned aircraft.
If drone operations occur within a five-mile radius of the airport, then the proper airport authority must be notified. Typically, this is the air traffic controller but it could also be the manager, mayor, or owner of the airport. If drone operations are planned to occur with frequency over the area, then appropriate contact information must be exchanged with the airport authority.
It’s easy to study for the Part 107 knowledge test. There are a number of free sources available and there are paid services provided by companies that can help you pass. The test covers a variety of topics on manned aircraft flight. Why manned aircraft? Because you will be sharing the same airspace as a manned aircraft, and it essential that you know the rules, and you know how to communicate within that realm to prevent unintended accidents.
The instructions for taking the knowledge test is on the FAA/UAS website.
Scheduling to take the Knowledge Test is easy. You can either go onto the FAA’s websiteto find a testing center, or you can call 1-800-947-4228 and have them schedule you at a nearby testing center. The tests are administered Monday through Saturday and it cost $150 to take it. There are 60 questions and you have 2 hours to complete it.
The Part 107 knowledge testcovers a variety of topics related to manned aircraft flight. Remember that you will be sharing the same airspace as manned aircraft so you need to understand how to operate in this environment.
The test topics include:
Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
Crew resource management
Radio communication procedures
Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
Maintenance and pre-flight inspection procedures
There are plenty of free sources to help you study for the test. They range from books, websites, and apps to YouTube channels. It is all in a matter of how you study and how in-depth you want to jump in. The costs can range from free all the way up to $250. The main free source that you will want to check out is on the FAA website. This has Knowledge Test Instructions, a Knowledge Test Study Guide, and Knowledge Test Sample Questions. It is a great way to get started. Some other free sources are Rupprecht Lawwhich has an Ultimate Guide to FAA’s Part 107 (14 CFR Part 107) with a test bank of 65 questions with explanations and with a test bank of 130 questions.
The only real knock I have against the rules and regulations for drone use is that pilots are not tested on their pilot efficiency. There is currently no test for a pilot’s proficiency in flying a drone. The only way that most drone services hiring pilots can determine whether a person has flight proficiency is by the documented Flight Log Books.
Once you have passed the test, you will need to take a Safety Class. The instructions for taking the safety training class is on the FAA/UAS website. The FAA has developed regulations to allow the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (small UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS) for purposes other than hobby and recreation. The rules are specified in 14 CFR part 107 and address UAS classification, certification, and operating rules.
When you complete this course, you will be able to identify:
Requirements to obtain a part 107 remote pilot certificate with a small unmanned aircraft system (small UAS) rating
Characteristics of small unmanned aircraft systems (small UAS) as stipulated in part 107
Exclusions from the requirements in part 107
Requirements for small UAS registration, markings, and condition
Possible supporting crew roles in small UAS operations
Best practices for crew management
Recommended maintenance procedures for small UAS
Inspection requirements to verify that the small UAS is in condition for safe operation
Restrictions and procedures for safe loading of small UAS
Procedures for evaluating performance during small UAS operations
Effects of weather on small UAS operations
Operational requirements and limitations for small UAS
Procedures for requesting a waiver for eligible requirements in part 107
Abnormal and emergency situations that may arise during small UAS operations
Requirements for reporting accidents resulting from small UAS operations
The last steps to complete to get your Part 107 remote pilot certificate is to complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate on IACRA. IACRA is a web-based certification/rating application that ensures applicants meet the regulatory and policy requirements through the use of extensive data validation. It also uses electronic signatures to protect the information's integrity, eliminates paper forms, and prints temporary certificates. Once complete, all you have to wait for is to be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Once you are vetted and cleared, you will receive an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating (NO EXPIRATION). The only future requirement is to pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.
Before you fly a drone or hire a vendor to provide any commercial service, it’s important to know and understand the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA regulations for commercial unmanned aircraft. If you are using a drone to gather information to assist you in making money, then you are performing a commercial operation. You will need to have an FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification and also have your drone registered. If you hire someone to perform the services for you, it is wise to check to see their FAA Remote Pilot Certification and drone registration. In July 2018, there were 100,000 certified remote pilots in the United States.
There are two ways that can get you a Remote Pilot Certification. The first way is the easiest and all that requires is that you already have a current private Pilots Certification. A private pilot’s certificate means that you have satisfied the aeronautical knowledge requirement for a remote pilot by completing an initial training course. Once you have completed the initial training course, you can then add the Remote Pilots Certification to your qualifications. If you do not have a current Pilots Certification, then you will need to be at least 16 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center, pass an FAA-approved safety training class, and finally, pass a security screening from the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA).
Scheduling to take the recurrent Knowledge Test is easy. You can either go onto the FAA’s website to find a testing center, or you can call 1-800-947-4228 and have them schedule you at a nearby testing center. The tests are administered Monday through Saturday and it cost $150 to take it. There are 40 questions, and you have 2 hours to complete it.
Once you have been issued your passing grade, you will have to keep a hard copy of this document. The recurrent UAS (remote pilot) process does not require a new application or a new certificate.
Only when you arrive at the site can you really determine whether the weather, wind, and visual conditions are favorable for a successful mission. Don’t always rely on your Apps to make this determination. Use common sense at the site of the operation. Does the weather and your visual acuity allow you to successfully complete the mission?
It is good practice to walk the site and take ground-based photographs. Make note of the hazards in the flight area and their proximity. This is a perfect opportunity to find important places to stand for a successful mission. Note any obstacles that could affect flight and approximate the time needed in the air. Be aware of any unseen hazards such as possible inferring signals. Power lines, high tension power lines, and cell towers can also give off signals that could possibly interfere with the signals from the controller to the drone. Make a note of any metallic objects which could interfere with the signals from the controller. Remember you typically have two signals going to the drone. One signal control’s the motor and the other controls the camera.
When walking around the site, look for places that you can have your LTZ, look for places where you can stand and not be in the drone pictures and videos, and chose spots where you can get a clear line of sight so that the drone can be seen at all times. You can also get a good idea of how high you will need to fly to see the rear of the property. What is the distance from your drone? How far will I fly it? Do I have any line-of-sight considerations? Will I always be able to see it?
This could be the most important item that you carry out to every operation. It is your proof that you have all of the necessary paperwork complete to fulfill an operation. I carry a compliance folder that gets updated for each operation as necessary. Now some of the items I have listed in a compliance folder are not necessary to have on you at all operations but it also gives me a good place to know where everything is in case I need to get my hands on it quickly. A folder is a good place to keep copies of documents, emails, and signatures as evidence of your due diligence. Some examples of items to keep in a compliance folder are as follows:
AMA Membership Card
Asset Management Log Book
Certificate of Authorization
Copy of Community-Based Guidelines for Recreational Flight
This is an example of a drone inspection. In it are some of the items to consider while the drone operations are occurring. It is assumed that risk mitigation has been taken into account and emergency procedure are in place to perform the operation.
This is our established 20-foot radius around the 3’ X3’ circular pad for takeoff and landing our drone. It is known as our LTZ. The only people allowed in this area are those directly involved in the drone operations.
The drone will leave the takeoff area and head in a southern direction along the right side of the building. It will be flying above the grass embankment at a height of 150’. When the drone reaches and is directly above the parking lot, it will then head in an easterly direction along the front side of the building over the middle of the parking lot at a height of 150’. Upon reaching the small drainage easement, the drone will head in a northerly direction along the left side of the building at a height of 150’. Reaching the last point, the woods, the drone will head in a westerly direction at a height of 150’. When the drone returns to its original destination, it will head diagonally to the northeast corner at a height of 150’. It will then go to the other corner and head diagonally to the southeast before returning to the landing area.
You need the proper waivers signed for permission to fly.
You need to check the airspace and get clearance if necessary.
Make sure you have the proper insurance.
We do not plan accidents but we do plan strategies for how to mitigate them.
Keep all nonessential personnel away from the operations.
Fly in a pattern that keeps as much personal property out of the operation area.
Scan the sky before operations begin to make sure that there is no other aircraft in the area.
Make sure there are no improvements such as power lines, antennas, chimneys, etc. that could impede the flight of the drone.
Have a strategy for lost link emergencies (where does the drone go if you lose connection). I have a drone that will return to base if the link is lost.
Make sure weather conditions are optimal for flying
Make sure you log your drone’s time in the air every time you fly. Every time you fly is considered to be training. Make sure you log both commercial and recreational flying times. Keep separate records for each individual drone. I recommend one log book for each drone. This way you can put all the essential information in the front of the book in regards to the drone’s operation. You will also not get confused by mixing charts.
A flight log book will contain, battery charge and usage history, the date and time logging for each flight, the specific location tracking via GPS coordinates or physical street addresses, flight details, flight time for each individual flight, drone, and timespan and airspace logging.
Hazards are real or perceived conditions. It could be an event or circumstance that a pilot encounters. The thing that you encounter is a thing that can be easily identified such as power lines. But there are other items that can get a little dicey when assessing a hazard and that is putting the drone into the sky. This is where it can get more difficult. It becomes questions of what if this or that happens and how am I going to deal with it.
After the hazards have been identified, you then need to assess the risk. Risk assessment is NOT equal to common sense. You need to consider both airborne and ground-based risks. This means you look at the hazard and then assess and compare the likelihood against the severity of the event. Will an accident pose a threat of physical harm to people or damage to property?
One of the main concerns to the FAA is the normalization of a deviation. Most people are guilty of it. It is normalizing a behavior because you have never been impacted by it. A good example is speeding in an automobile. The speed limit may be 60 miles per hour but you have normalized driving at 65 miles per hour because you have never been pulled over by the police and ticketed for it. Therefore, it has become normal for you to drive five miles over the speed limit. This is an extremely bad habit to the drone industry. Normalizing behaviors like flying beyond line of sight or over people could have dangerous consequences. As a drone pilot, you are a steward for the industry. By normalizing deviant behavior, you are demonstrating characteristics that are bad for the industry. You need to recognize limitations. If you have difficult recognizing the limitations then it makes it impossible to recognize hazards.
Landing and takeoff zones are critical to safe drone operations. You need to select a takeoff and landing area which is as far away as reasonable from any structures. Also consider putting your LTZ in a place where it will not be picked up in your photographs or videos. Make sure that you have at least 15’ to 25’ of radial clearance from the takeoff zone.
Choose a site that is level. This is so that your sensors will function properly when you start your drone and there won’t be any problems when you land. Most importantly, make sure there are no obstructions above that could get in the way of the drone. If you have obstructions above, then you will have to have another area designated as the landing area. If you were to lose signal and it was to return to home, it would not be able to because of the obstruction.
Sometimes you develop attitudes which are hazardous to flying a drone. Recognizing the attitudes is the first step. Once you recognize that you have a hazardous attitude, it is necessary to take the necessary steps to change. The steps typically are by preprogramming yourself with responses or antidotes to the hazardous attitude. There are five identified hazardous attitude to flight. They are:
Anti-authority – don’t tell me what to do.
Impulsivity – it has to be done regardless of the situation.
Invulnerability – Nothing can happen to me.
Macho – I can do it because I’m the best.
Resignation – What’s the point, what’s the use?
Once you have identified those hazardous thoughts, here are the antidotes that you need to remember:
Anti-authority – the antidote is “Follow the rules, they are usually right.”
Impulsivity – the antidote is “Not so fast, think first.”
Invulnerability – the antidote is “It could happen to me.”
Macho – the antidote is “taking chances is foolish.”
Resignation – the antidote is “I am not helpless, I can make a difference.”
A training manual shows how much time pilots need before they are qualified to perform your businesses operations. It defines the parameters and qualifications needed for operating a fixed wing, multi-rotor or vertical take-off, and landing drone. It also defines the expertise in operations. All operators are required to read the guide and sign it before they are sent to perform operations for your business.
Understanding the weather is essential to flying an aircraft. There are so many different scenarios that affect flying caused by meteorological conditions. As a remote pilot, you will need to understand weather and how to access aviation weather source. The effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful operations.
When scheduling an operation, it is always good practice to review the weather conditions multiple times prior to the operation. Definitely check the weather at the time of the operation. Also, use your common sense, the weatherman has been known to be wrong every now and then.
The one good thing about a drone operation is that missions can be flown within breaks in the weather which gives it a distinct advantage over manned aircraft flight. If a manned aircraft flight is scheduled for the morning and weather conditions prohibit flight, there is a good chance that it can’t be conveniently rescheduled and can’t be scheduled for a potential break in the weather. In other words, a manned aircraft mission is definitely put in jeopardy due to weather conditions whereas a drone operation can be easily rescheduled.
Drone Education Services
Lamar H. Ellis, III, President
2020 Howell Mill Road, NW, Suite D-168, Atlanta, GA 30318