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Am I a Bad Hobbyist?

Discussion in 'Rules and Regulations' started by HarleyKen, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. HarleyKen

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    The hospital I work at had an event and I was asked to do some shots from my bird. Afterwards I began to think to myself asking, " Self, did I become a commercial pilot without a Part 107 under my belt or am I just a hobbyist who was on the clock, volunteering my time while getting paid to play with my drone?"

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. sar104

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    You're not a bad hobbyist - the activity you describe clearly falls under Part 107 so you are a bad uncertified commercial pilot.
     
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  3. Richard R

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    Oops! That was definitely a 'commercial' operation. Bottom line is that anything that isn't strictly hobby or 'fun' flying comes under Part 107. Even if not, you can't be volunteering and getting paid at the same time. Again, it's not what you were doing, but what you were not doing (flying for personal enjoyment only) that kicks in Part 107.
     
  4. HarleyKen

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    So if there a next time, if I was off the clock, say at lunch would that still be considered commercial?
     
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  5. MapMaker53

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    If you are doing it for any business or organization, being paid or not being paid, on your own time or not on your own time, you are flying commercially.
     
  6. DefiantChild

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    Did you get impose copyrights and get paid specifically for performing the work? Did you contract with the hospital to provide aerial photography services in exchange for a fee? If you weren't compensated (or expect to be) for the specific work then you're just another hobbyist playing with his quad while taking a break during a company event during your ordinary work day.

    Uncle Joe taking pictures at Cousin Jenny's wedding does not a commercial photographer Uncle Joe make. He's just another spectator, making memories to share with family, friends, and coworkers.
     
  7. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    No, you can't. Money, no money, doesn't matter. If you do it for someone else it is commercial in the eyes of the FAA.

    This is incorrect, Uncle Joe is fine if he is taking pics for himself. If HarleyKen does this as a favor or for pay for that event or hospital it is considered commercial. If it is not for fun & relaxation for your own enjoyment, it requires you to have the proper certifications.
     
  8. kennedye

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    If the hospital was only going to use the photos internally, like in a newsletter or something, there's probably not much the FAA can do about it. But, if they use them as promotional material on their website or the like, then it's what the FAA considers "furtherance of a business" which requires you to fly as a part 107 pilot even if you don't receive any direct compensation. (Annoying, I know, but them's the rules.)

    edit: d'oh, that's what I get for leaving the window open too long before posting.
     
  9. DefiantChild

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    "Commercial [or business] purpose" is intended to define where an aircraft is used in support of a revenue-generating business. Specifically, the UAS operator either operates a business or works for a business whose primary purpose is to use UAS's to generate revenues. The FAA defines "recreational or hobby UAS use as flying for enjoyment and not for work, business purposes, or for compensation or hire."

    The fact that "someone" [who?] from HarleyKen's (HK) work asked him to do some aerial shots for some unspecified purpose at company sponsored "event" completely fails to define a business purpose. Even being "on the clock" during the event does not constitute business or commercial purpose if HK would receive his normal compensation to be at the event whether he was "playing with his drone" or not.

    I'm sorry, but watching "piano cat" on your office PC during business hours does not automatically constitute commercial purpose; and neither does "playing" with one's drone. More pointedly, there's simply no context and not enough specific information to draw any hasty conclusions.
     
  10. Richard R

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    Even 'for internal use' would still be Part 107, just less likely that the FAA would find out about it. But you never know
    Wrong! Apples and oranges. Uncle Joe taking photos and vids at a family event can be personal. But now amount of trying to finagle the circumstances is going to make taking hospital related picture taking hobby. Check out bigAl's explanation of the deferences in this thread: Non-Profit Use. Hard to not understand after reading his very well written response. Pretty well sums it up.
     
  11. Richard R

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    Totally wrong, the FAA has 2 categories "hobby" and "not hobby". If you are not flying for personal enjoyment (I.e. Hobby) everything else is non-hobby and Part 107. Again read BigAl's comments in this thread Non-Profit Use.
     
  12. DefiantChild

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    Actually, I just read an FAA Policy Notice [N 8900.292] which specifically stated "Electronic media posted on a video Web site does not automatically constitute a commercial operation or commercial purpose, or other non-hobby or non-recreational use."
     
  13. DefiantChild

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    I read Big Al's comments and agree in part and respectfully disagree in part. You can choose to buttonhole the choices into a binary decision, but both Parts (101 and 107) are subject to broad interpretation. I would argue that the issue at hand is not which Part HK's operation falls into, rather, did his operation constitute sufficient commercial purpose as to (1) be in violation [of something enforcable]; and (2) require an RPC pursuant to 107? My position is that there is insufficient information to make such a judgement and the information so far provided does not support commercial purpose.
     
  14. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    It wasn't "Commercial" although we and the FAA use that term incorrectly (even the FAA admits this) but it was not RECREATIONAL. If the flight is not 100% recreational then it's a CIVIL operation wwhich falls under Part 107. If ever aspect of the flight does not fit completely inside Part 101 frame work then the whole flight falls under Part 107.

    If someone "happens" to be flying and captures an event and later decides to share this with someone else (media, employer etc) it's ok. They can even get compensated for it so long as the flight was 100% recreational from intent before flight until the flight is completed. But if someone asks you to fly to capture pic/video then you are well outside of "hobby/recreational".

    We can sit here and split hairs all day long but the FAA has "recently" made it clear and closed all of the loop holes sufficiently.
     
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  15. HarleyKen

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    So taking my bird out to film some of the company picnic was a possible violation? Seem there is not a whole lot of clarity defining what is commercial vs hobbyist. I'm more confused than ever
     
  16. sar104

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    The argument over whether an operation is commercial misses the point, because that is not the distinction that the FAA makes. As pointed out above, the distinction is whether the intent of the flight was purely recreational (or educational in some circumstances) or not.

    So, if you had just been flying for fun during lunch then that would count as recreational, even if your company later saw photos/video that they wanted to use, and you could even get paid in that situation without breaking the recreational criteria.

    The single distinguishable issue that makes this non-recreational is that you were flying at the request of your company in support of their business. Whether you were paid to fly is irrelevant.

    It may also be true that you have a certain level of deniability in this case, in that it might be hard for the FAA to determine the intent of your flight, and it may also be that it is unlikely that this kind of violation would ever come to their attention unless reported by a third party. So probably you are not at much risk of penalty here, but that was not your original question, the answer to which is clear.
     
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  17. HarleyKen

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    Thank you. That makes it more clear for me. I was just playing some "what ifs" to get a better grasp on the whole idea of what defines a commercial flyer. Thank you!
     
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  18. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    sar104 answered perfectly. I merely want to add... should there be an incident of any kind you've opened yourself and potentially your employer up to added liability.

    HarleyKen, if you can get beyond the "commercial" term it helps make more sense. I fault the FAA for not only allowing that term to be accepted but for furthering the incorrect use of the term. While Commercial operations definitely fall within Part 107 operations they are not the sole portion of Part 107. I feel like if they had more clearly defined CIVIL operations and concentrated on that term early on a lot of confusion (and debating) could have been avoided.
     
  19. tcope

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    I'd agree with everyone who states if the flight itself was done as hobby then no requirements under Part 107. It's what is in effect at the time of the fight.

    I'd also add that if I were the OP, I'd fly at the event and not pay it any mind. The FAA is simply not looking for people like the OP in that situation. The regulate commercial as those people are out flying all of the time in situations where they are "required" to fly in order to make a living.

    Good thread. Good posts.
     
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  20. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    My only "deep" concern is that this is a hospital and as such might get a lot more "attention" than your average corp company picnic. All it would take is for one person (most likely a commercial operator in your area who might be jealous of your work) to see the pics/video on social media and to make "that phone call/web submission". Once that happens the FAA has no option but to investigate to the best of their ability. Most of the time they can't investigate much because they need a specific person/entity to contact about the flight in question. In this case it would be the hospital, directly making the OP an easy mark for further investigation.

    They are not looking for the occasional person flying to take pics of company events or fun things. They don't have the resources nor the desire to be that type of organization.

    On the POSITIVE side: So long as no incident occurred they merely talk to you and give you educational guidance (over the phone or in person as you might be at work at the time they visit). Then a few weeks later you get a certified letter with additional (redundant) educational information inside.

    I'm speaking from first-hand experience and I personally got "that phone call" last fall. Someone had "reported me" for flying without the proper credentials. They called and we resolved it all over the phone.

    Whatever you decide to do, do it safely and HAVE FUN!
     
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