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Operating for Free? P3S

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by KingJ, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. KingJ

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    I am a hobbyist with a P3S. I have been approached by local clubs and schools programs asking if I can shoot footage for them. Neither myself or the organizations would be receiving compensation or profit from the footage. Is this considered as using the drone for commercial purposes?
     
  2. msinger

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    I don't think so. You should contact the FAA if you have any doubts though.
     
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  3. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Agreed. If any doubt seek legal council and if your local FSDO (FAA Office) gives you the OK by all means get that in writing. Always CYA. It's the intent of the flight that matters in the eyes of the FAA and the way they use the images is how/what will draw the FAA's attention.
     
  4. oakmeadows

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    I'm sure you can make this easy decision yourself if you want to do it then just do it , don't let stupid rules from idiots stop you doing what you love to do.Many people do it and even for money and so what who will ever know


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
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  5. EnterLeftDownwind

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    In the eyes of the FAA it could be commercial use. Tread carefully. It's a grey area.

    Compensation/income/profit is not the only determining factor in the FAA's eyes.
     
  6. snerd

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    Here you are again saying dumb things. We have to follow FAA guidelines over here in the States. I'm sure if they decide it's commercial use, you'll be right there to pay the big fine he gets? Or serve the jail time for him? OP, do not listen to this poster! Do what was advised above................ check with the FAA to be sure. That's what it is all about now.
     
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  7. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Well put :)
     
  8. mactech

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    So are there restrictions what a hobbyist can do in regards to taking videos from drones, posting them on the internet in the public domain?

    If the club provided a signed document that it was a 'private donation' by you as the hobbyist and there indeed was no money exchanged, it's not a commercial business contract. If you received any compensation from them, ie.. free membership to the club, perks or otherwise, then all bets are off.

    Many people have businesses which the IRS considers a hobby.

    When the IRS Classifies Your Business as a Hobby - TurboTax Tax Tips & Videos

    Where is the line drawn in the distinction of what is a hobby by one government agency vs. another?
     
  9. TheRealNick

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    If it were me I would just do it and call it part of your hobby. I like taking aerial pictures, if my friends or some other group I am associated with wants me to take a picture for them it is also part of my hobby, because it is fun to have a "mission". I would not worry about any of this unless you start making substantial money of it...but hey that is just my opinion...
     
  10. EnterLeftDownwind

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    I've been in aviation for a few decades now as a commercial pilot and CFI (fixed wing manned stuff ;) ) and over those decades I've read plenty of FAA regulation interpretation letters re: private pilots and commercial operations.

    One that sticks out in particular is a private pilot wanting to or being asked to "donate" a passenger flight to be auctioned off at charity - with all proceeds going to that charity. The pilot pays for all expenses related to the flight. No money exchanges hands - but the FAA considers it a commercial operation. Granted, in the last few years the FAA has created an exemption to that rule but it is very tightly regulated.

    If I apply the same logic to the first post I would think there's a chance that the FAA could consider that a commercial operation. However, there's been no FAA interpretation in that specific case that I know of. I would recommend the original poster play it safe and wait for the FAAs upcoming regulations to hit the street, but that's just me. I fly quads and RC as a hobby - and with my actual commercial pilot certificate on the line - it's not worth the risk taking. YMMV.
     
  11. mactech

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    I wouldn't jeopardize a commercial pilot certificate either.
     
  12. Illina

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    I've seen several articles on the net where one particular FAA official has contacted several operators about needing a commercial license for their videos.. One in here where an operator put a video on YouTube and this official informed him since YouTube has ads there was money to be made from his video. The other was just just this month in the P2V+ Facebook group where the operator took a picture in the air from his back yard. The local media picked it up and the same FAA official notified him that the media uses advertising to boost revenue therefore his video was being used for profit and he needed a commercial license. Both incidents where in Arkansas and the fella' is out of Little Rock.
     
  13. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    This particular myth that putting aerial videos on Youtube is commercial use just won't die.
    The story comes from March 2015 when one FAA official overstepped his authority.
    The FAA clarified the situation soon after.
    Read all about it here: FAA Admits That They Shouldn't Be Ordering People To Delete Drone Videos
     
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  14. mactech

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    Thanks Meta4, I have not seen that and it's the proof of what I have been saying all along about the authority of the FAA.

    Calling the Airport is a safety guideline and you don't need permission, you only need to notify them of your flying near airports within 5 miles.

    Further, it does not say you cannot fly if you are unable to contact them. Do you think these operators are keeping logs of who calls? I don't.

    Is there any evidence of where the FAA has fined someone for their Youtube videos?
     
  15. EnterLeftDownwind

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    I haven't read any stories of an actual fine resulting from a YouTube video. The FAA, however, is in the process of fining (or attempting to fine) numerous individuals/companies operating drones in a commercial manner without the required 333 exemption, or operating them in an unsafe manner.
     
  16. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    While I do think that the FAA is over reaching in their attempts to regulate the hobby in many ways I would bet you my bottom dollar this: "If you notify the airport of your intentions to fly and they refuse this on grounds of safety to manned air traffic and you fly anyway... you will get yourself into a world of heat."

    The FAA can and does have ultimate authority to restrict any type of actions that would endanger manned aircraft travel. If they have a legitimate safety reason for refusing/denying the notification (and not just because they are against UAS or don't want to fool with them) and you go against that you have opened a whole new can of worms for yourself.

    The system, the way it's currently "Worded" is a mess indeed but regardless of how you feel or think about the system Aviation Safety will trump the rest of your desires, thoughts, and freedoms. If you do something that could genuinely be dangerous to John Q Public you can be assured that the FAA is going to throw all the stops at you in order to appease the whining and crying and unfounded fears of the public. Right or wrong if it creates even a remote safety issue they will hammer you to the wall with no regard for anything else just to avoid mass public worries and fear of Manned Air Travel. It's about the $$. I'm confident that at some point someone is going to be made an example out of and when it does happen it won't be pretty or cheap.

    I've not been into the "Tower" in several years so things might have changed (I doubt it) but there used to be a very detailed phone log. It was a CYA type of thing but they logged a ton of information and at that time it was all by hand in a large notebook. Today if they still do it I'm sure it's electronic but I seriously doubt they've stopped logging the phone calls.


    No fines from the FAA for YouTube only some nasty and overreaching letters which have since stopped I do believe. They were "Told" to concentrate on SAFETY and not watching and worrying about monetized YouTube videos which I completely agree. It should be about safety and not about making $0.25 a month on a video.
     
  17. mactech

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    Agreed.

    I would not go against their decision to impose a restriction to my flying. It's easy for them to come up with a reason to deny and it would be very hard to challenge that.
     
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  18. BigAl07

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    Unfortunately, at this time you are correct. I am hopeful that a more "refined" notification system will be implemented in the not too distant future.
     
  19. Illina

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    Interesting, yet the other incident involving the same FAA person happened this month, 9 months after the article. Like I stated, it involved the local TV station picking up and airing the photo. I've seen this done several times on the local station here where I live. The operator gained no monetary valve from the photo.
     

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  20. mactech

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    Somebody didn't get the office memo perhaps?