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333 exemption for volunteer work

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by chaznolan1117, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. chaznolan1117

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    FWIW I contacted my reptesentitve regarding a unique to me situation that could effect all of us.

    Dear Congresswoman Rice,

    I hope this message finds you well in the new year. I am a constitute who is an avid remote controlled aircraft pilot and photographer. Over the past few years I have been lucky enough to be able to meld these two hobbies together using a quadcopter ( also known as a drone or UAV). In 2014 I was fortunate enough to learn of the Museum of American Armor, a military history museum focusing on the armored vehicles of world war two in Old Bethpage, NY. I became friends with Mr. Gary Lewi who is a trustee of this institution. I explained to Gary the capabilities that I have with my quadcopter, and how amazing it would be to capture images and video of the events the museum hosts. He agreed and I began on an incredible journey as a volunteer photographer for the museum.

    The museum hosts a variety of events throughout a calendar year, including but not limited to reenactments, public displays and holiday celebrations. During these events, I dress in a period correct WW 2 uniform (as a combat photographer) and fly my quadcopter, safely, capturing photos and videos for use by the museum.

    My problem is that the federal aviation administration has told me that this useage of a quadcopter would be considered commercial under their current rules and in order for me to comply with these laws, I would have to apply for a 333 exemption (forcing me to become a corporation in the process) and either become a fully licensed pilot (full size aircraft) or hire a licensed pilot to fly my device for me. This requirement is prohibitively expensive. My research shows that the pilots licence alone would cost me upwards of $5000.00. The absurd part of this is the fact that the minimum requirement the FAA requires is for a licence to operate a lighter than air craft, otherwise known as a hot air balloon. That is correct, for me to legally fly what basically is a remote controlled toy, I need a licence to fly an aircraft that has no other controls other than up or down. The two devices could not be any more different than these two are.

    I have hundreds of hours of experience flying and operating remote controlled vehicles. I have voluntarily become versed in the airspace rules set forth by the FAA. My device is on the cutting edge of technology as it includes firmware that uses GPS location and the internet to either allow or disallow flight in any place in the United States, and worldwide, based on up to the minute guidance issued directly from the FAA. My work for the museum is completely voluntary. I receive no compensation for my efforts, in fact it is an expense to do this.

    My images and videos have been used by the museum to educate the visitors about the history of our great Nation.

    To restrict my ability to volunteer my services to an institution such as this is a disservice to the public.

    Please look into this matter with the FAA on my behalf. I can provide correspondence to and from the FAA regarding this matter to your office upon request, as well as samples of my work if needed.

    I would like to be able to continue volunteering for the museum in this capacity, without the horrific financial burden of becoming a corporation and licensed hot air balloon pilot.

    Thank you in advance for your help in this situation.

    Yours truly,

    Charles Nolan

    Please provide input and suggestions...

    Thanks Charlie Nolan
     
    #1 chaznolan1117, Jan 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  2. GmanTerry

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    Thanks for your article. Please keep us all posted on the response from your Congressman.
    Happy Hovering.
     
  3. SanCap

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    If you accept no money or compensation, I can not see how any one could clasify you as a commercial operation. Did you receive a letter from the FAA?
     
  4. chaznolan1117

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    This was my interrogatory to the FAA:


    I am questioning the legal usage of a UAS ( DJI Phantom 3 Professional) by a volunteer of a non profit Museum. The images/videos acquired would be used by the institution for in house display and or website usage.

    The operator is not compensated in any way for participation in these events. In fact it would be an expense to the operator.

    The use would be under 400 (usually much lower, under 100 foot) feet in altitude and always line of sight.

    The area of operation is located 3.61 miles North North West of Republic Airport (KFRG), and proper notification to the airport control tower (@ 631-752-7707) would be made prior to and at the completion of flight operations, as confirmed by the website Know Before You Fly.

    Would the above mentioned useage be considered commercial?

    The museum does not profit from the images/videos captured and all (but not limited to) time, editing, useage, electricity, travel expenses and food are donated by the UAS owner/operator.

    As required, the owner/operator will be registering via Register My UAS website on December 21, 2015.

    Thank you in advance for your consideration in this matter.

    Charles Nolan

    A clarifying question, in order to fly using the 333 exception, the operator would need to have a

    On Dec 17, 2015 11:22 AM, <9-AFS-UAS-Inquiries@faa.gov> wrote:

    Dear Mr. Nolan,


    Thank you for your inquiry.


    As this activity does not qualify as for hobby or recreational use only, you will need a Section 333 grant of exemption. Please see our website for details:Section 333.


    The new system does not yet support registration of small UAS used in connection with a business. It will in the future. In the meantime, these entities must continue to register using the paper-based process.


    Regards,


    Thea Dickerman

    FAA UAS Integration Office

    www.faa.gov/uas
     
  5. barefootbeachcombing

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    Good luck with your quest. I sincerely hope that you are successful.

    A note for the future that you might want to have someone spellcheck your letters before sending them to a member of Congress. Just a suggestion.
     
  6. chaznolan1117

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    That was a draft...I fixed my oops's before sending... Lol
     
  7. barefootbeachcombing

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    Good to hear.

    Keep us updated on any responses you receive.
     
  8. SanCap

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    I think I would reply to Thea Dickerman asking for clarification, citing that the FAA is creating a "Financial Burden" on a non commercial operation. Good luck.
     
  9. chaznolan1117

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    I am hoping to get my representative to do that on my behalf....
     
  10. SanCap

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    Your representative might but it still would be good if they heard that from you. I have worked with the FAA in aircraft operations in the past where they did create a "Financial Burden" on our operation and we did receive some relief.
     
  11. chaznolan1117

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    Thanks ....I will try Monday
     
    SanCap likes this.