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First commercial gig

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by CoastlineDJ, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. CoastlineDJ

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    I'm fairly new to flying drones (quadcopters). I am a firefighter with the local fire dept. and the chief asked me if I could fly over businesses and take pictures to use for pre planning the buildings. It sounded good to me as it would allow me to get some flying time under my belt. Is there anything I should look out for or do to optimize this experience. Thanks
     
  2. clowther

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    First remember that you should follow the FAA rules. Technically this is a commercial gig and you need a 333 exemption, register your bird commercially and have a pilots license. I know crazy right? But that's how it's currently setup to be "legal"

    Not sure if there are any loopholes for fire department use.


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  3. Numone

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    The heights of the buildings I would think would be a big priority, as I think you'll need to be fairly close to the rooftops? Sounds like a great project. I'd get them to underwrite you for damage to buildings or the aircraft too.
     
  4. ryantrax

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    I believe you could get around the 333 exemption / pilots license if you don't charger for your services. You may technically need to do it off-hours.
     
  5. FrequentFlyer

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    If you are not getting paid anything extra for doing that for your department you may not need to 333.


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  6. LuvMyTJ

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    I am not sure this is correct. Why would he not need the 333 + pilots license to do this legally? Unless there is some sort of exemption for emergency responders I am unaware of.
     
  7. MikeyOnline

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    If you are not getting paid for flying or what you shoot, it isn't considered "commercial", is it?

    Mike
     
  8. ryantrax

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    You are absolutely right TJ, dug a little deeper, here is a Q&A off the FAA Site:
    Q. Do I need a Section 333 grant of exemption if I'm not charging for my services?
    A. Unless you are flying only for hobby or recreational purposes, you will need FAA authorization via a Section 333 grant of exemption to fly your unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for your business. This applies even if you are only flying to supplement or aide your business and not charging fees for doing so.
     
  9. LuvMyTJ

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    It certainly could be. If there is any use where it benefits or profits it is commercial, even if given for free.
     
  10. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    If it betters a business in any way (even FD type work) it is NOT hobby. We have to have a 333 exemptions when we volunteer to help with Search & Rescue.

    Either you're flying as a hobbyist or you're not. Black & white in regards to the FAA. Flying to help your local FD is not hobby flight.

    Now if you had made those flights just goofing around and later offered them for FREE to the FD then your intentions at the time of the flight could be considered hobbyist but you've already opened Pandora's box and you can't put the smoke back in there :)
     
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  11. DeputyDrone

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    Do you charge money? If so you're a commercial drone operator and required to have a 333 exemption. If not, then you should be fine. I made about $200 last year as a 333 exempt commercial drone business after spending a couple of hundred dollars on business licenses etc and got a $1k tax write off.
     
  12. N017RW

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    No, he won't be fine.

    It has been laid out pretty clearly that he is not doing this as a hobby or recreation.
     
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  13. LuvMyTJ

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    This advice is incorrect. Like stated in the previous post, if it is not hobby (happy fun flying time) use it is commercial.
    Forums like this are not a substitution for your own leg work. Anyone looking do do a "job" or a "favor" for someone must do your own research about how it works and what you need if you want to do it legally.
     
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  14. SteveAikens

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    Stupid idea - I know. But how about you just call FAA and ask. Get a name and position for anyone you talk to.
     
  15. GundoLarry

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  16. LuvMyTJ

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  17. clowther

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    That's kinda what I was thinking as well


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  18. GundoLarry

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    No argument, but should help understanding around Police & Fire (Municipal) usage vs. hobby vs. Film Company
     
  19. MikeyOnline

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    Well that seems pretty clear. I was just beginning to look into the 333 process until I found some links saying that everything could change in late 2016 or 2017 and the exemption may not be needed for "micro UAV's" (under 55 lb) in the future. The biggest part for me was the money required to obtain a sport pilot license which seems beyond ridiculous to me: flying a manned plane doesn't mean you'll be able to fly a UAV. Case and point: my friend who is a commercial pilot for UPS couldn't fly a UAV if his life depended on it. ;) The pilot's license part of the deal seems designed only to limit the number of people to those with fat wallets.

    So I figured knowing my luck, I'd spend all that money to get a pilot's license and before the 333 was even approved, I wouldn't need it and would have wasted $5k. So I'm waiting. I can practice my skills in the hobbyist category until the new rules come out and then make a decision. But I do follow the rules, so I'll be flying as a hobbyist for a while.

    Mike
     
  20. GundoLarry

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    Heads up my brother.
    MICRO UAVs are part of the proposed NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) being considered by the FAA.
    This classification would put all Phantom products in the Mirco UAV (sUAS) category which is limited to 4.4lbs or Less. (Phantoms weigh about 2+lbs.?).
    All of this has not been decided yet.

    The current "push" from legislators regarding hobbyists, is to get a certification of some sort. Not a pilot's license.
    Not sure what the end game is for the miniscule amount of people trying to make money off this tech (commercial flyers).

    Hobby Category: no pilot licence required. No COA. No exemption. No understanding of controlled airspace.
    Mostly reliant on software to keep them and another plane-full of people from trouble.

    Arguably, the Hobby community needs more certification than the commercial folks.

    Question for the free-thinkers:
    Who are you worried about when you consider capability, procedure/protocol, public safety, COAs, Exemptions, and formal pilot certifications (pilot's license):
    1. 20 commercial guys who stand to lose their living if they don't obey the guidance?
    2. Or....2,000,000 hobbyists who have no earthly desire to understand rules, or do anything except "Fly"?