Over the past few months there’s been a lot going on in the world of private unmanned drones. The FAA came down pretty clearly.
No commercial use of drones.
For me that didn’t go over too well, as one of my business offerings includes aerial tours of businesses we work with. The DJI Phantom is used to fly over a park, recording the park in High Def video. It’s pretty darned cool. But the FAA has really been pushing to stop such usage, and filed suit against one film maker using drones.
Fortunately, the FAA has lost round one in what is sure to be a long and drawn out process of deciding how to regulate commercial drone usage. Recently a judge ruled against the FAA, and dismissed the suit against the film maker. You can read more about it here.
So what does it all mean? Well, today it means that my business can continue to offer park flyovers and park tour videos for clients. Clearly more will be coming in the distant future from the FAA, but today it’s pretty clear that new rules need to be created for this new technology.
Be smart, stay out of trouble
From the perspective of my business, I always play it pretty safe. Don’t violate rules and things will go okay. Recently on a shoot I was informed that a permit was required in the location we were shooting. This wasn’t with the drone, it was me on the ground with a client doing portraits. So okay, what did I do?
Apologized to the park employee who informed us of the permit requirement, packed up, and moved along. Pretty simple. Obey the rules, even if you did research prior to a shoot showing you didn’t need a permit.
When it comes to drone flight I follow the same policy. Don’t fly over private property without permission. Don’t use the drone to peep into people’s windows (folks are really worried about that…I’m serious). Make sure to fly it safely away from people…..etc, etc, etc.
For the work that RLC Design does we’re talking about a drone flying no more than 200 feet above the ground. With the GoPro in wide angle mode the video looks like it was shot from way above, and you don’t need to go higher. And with only 900 feet of control range, you keep it close and under control.
My thinking regarding final FAA decisions is pretty straight forward. The big concern is larger drones that can go greater distances, and can truly get into flight paths of commercial air traffic. I get it. There are dangers, and some type of final ruling will have to come out.
But for today, if you’d like an aerial video included in a tour of your business location (say an RV park maybe), we can do that, and you’re not breaking the law.