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Using my drone for profit

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by vadajohn13, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. vadajohn13

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    Okay, I've read a lot about the new hobby rules from the FAA; what do I have to do to operate my Phantom 2 for profit? Photography for businesses, not delivery uses. Can you even do that?
     
  2. RussA

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    No one here can answer that for you, although many will probably try. There are a lot of armchair lawyers on this forum and interpretations of what the Pirker decision means (in the US) and how it will be applied in the future differ greatly. There are also various laws in place or being promulgated about where and whether you can fly your Phantom by all kinds of local agencies or cities and these may or may not be enforced or even enforceable. Other countries have even different laws. There are ways to avoid - or at least try to avoid - the issue by not charging anyone for flying but only for video editing, etc., although it's dubious this distinction will hold up. In the US enterprises with large, professional legal staffs, like TV stations, are pretty much not doing drone photography until this legal landscape is more certain, but there are definitely people doing real estate photos and other commercial uses (e.g. farming) right now and getting no hassle.
     
  3. vadajohn13

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    Great common sense answer, thanks. I'm going to read up on the Pirtle decision and do a few small jobs with those suggestions in mind. Also, I know this is off topic, but can anyone tell me how to stream the video from my drone online? I'd like to set up a link clients can click on to watch the video I'm taking for them.
     
  4. N017RW

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    You can visit this site.

    http://dronelawjournal.com/

    A lawyer with an interest in drones.

    There's an email available too for direct contact.
     
  5. OI Photography

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    It can certainly be done, but will take some DIY. You'll need the following elements:

    -FPV Transmitter/Receiver to get video from drone to ground
    -Standard VGA video adapter to pipe the video from the Receiver into a PC or Laptop
    -Capture/Streaming software to broadcast from your PC. I use Open Broadcast Software (OBS) for this (it's free and pretty robust)
    -A site to display the stream. You can add that as a plug-in to many common website frameworks for a site you already have, or use a streaming site like Twitch.tv
     
  6. vadajohn13

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    Thanks, if you have the tablet connected to the drone wirelessly you already have FPV, right? Or do you need additional hardware?
     
  7. OI Photography

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    Depends on the version of Phantom you have. If it's a Vision or Vision+ then you'll get FPV video on the phone or tablet you choose. If it's a P1 or regular P2 then you'll need the FPV hardware I mentioned above, as well as a monitor (no direct way to see the vid on a tablet).
     
  8. lvzx14

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    In my honest opinion if you want to take it seriously I would recommend a different platform. But that depends on how serious you are and what you want to do with it. Keep in mind everybody and their grandmother is doing AP now so a lot of competition. I would honestly learn to build them and repair them as that will be huge.


    But the correct thing to do is if you have no experience build a small 250 size fpv multirotor or a P1 to practice with before thinking of adding a camera and equipment. There is A LOT more to it than just flying around taking video/pictures just like regular photography.
     
  9. Andy T

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    \
    Eric Cheng does it using Google hangouts sometimes http://skypixel.org/post/87844495874
     
  10. kydan

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    Check your local and state laws regarding drone regulations.

    Too many are afraid of what the FAA says instead of what's actually the law.

    There are no restrictions where I am so I am free to fly and charge commercially as I please for the footage rather than thru post editing.
     
  11. RussA

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    There are ways to use drones for profit legally. I just wrote a novel that used personal UAVs (including a cameo appearance by a Phantom) as a major plot element. See my avatar. I make a profit from my books and I fully intend to deduct the cost of the Phantom (or perhaps depreciate it) on my taxes. I couldn't have written the story without hands-on experience. I hope the FAA reads this and fines me for using it "commercially". I could use the publicity.
     
  12. birdheezy

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    viewtopic.php?f=4&t=23899

    I've looked into it and am still waiting to hear back from the FAA. They don't seem to have time for us poor tax payers, just large companies that can pay lawyers a lot of push paperwork.
     
  13. SteveMann

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    I am a commercial pilot, so I have a bit of experience with the FAA and where they draw the line regarding compensation for flight.
    However, it's a really fat, gray line. I can legally fly my Cessna to another city and take my neighbor with me and share the cost of the flight. But if he approaches me to take the same flight to the same destination with the same cost-sharing arrangement, it then becomes a commercial flight. (Being a commercial pilot might keep me as the pilot out of trouble, but me as the operator of an aircraft for hire would be in trouble because the aircraft, same one, is not Part 41 certified for flight for hire).

    I flew my Cessna for aerial photography starting in 1985 - before Google. I got my commercial license then, as well as my instrument and CFI ratings. If two buddies go flying for a $100 hamburger, they can share the expenses of the flight. If the non-pilot buddy pays more than his share, then it's considered compensation. Enforcement of FAA rules depends on the region. What an inspector in one region would write you up for may not get a notice from an inspector in another region. Some would interpret free flying, but you pay for editing as compensation.

    The bottom line today is, don't invite the FAA into your operations. Stay out of the news. The FAA is using Google Alert to find websites offering UAV photography. News articles mentioning your business would likely hit their Google Alert. There's just too many people flying their sUAV's and getting some kind of compensation for it for the FAA to prosecute all of them. And, yes, the Pirker case does give the FAA lawyers a bit of a pause in bringing cases to trial. The Pirker case did not decide the question of compensation. The judges decision to dismiss Pirker was based on the question of does the FAA even has jurisdiction at the typically low altitudes that these flights are involved in. They really don't want to risk another case in another region that might also be decided against them over the jurisdiction question.

    I know a good law firm with UAV knowledge if anyone needs one.
     
  14. birdheezy

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    The other issue i have come across is not only the regulation of being able to get paid, but the certification of the UAV. Since it doesn't fall under any category outlined by the FAA, it would be considered experimental, and you can't use experimental aircraft for compensation or hire. I'm sure you could get a waiver or a real aircraft, but the fact that the UAV isn't certified under part 23 means the FAA won't see it as an airworthy aircraft and not eligible to be used for compensation or hire.
     
  15. RussA

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    There is a difference between using a drone for profit and using it for compensation or hire, although of course they overlap. The latter is a subset of the former. That's why I posted in this thread and not the other one. I have never been compensated or hired to fly my Phantom. Instead, I used it for fun and curiosity and so that I could write about it in my novel. The compensation comes from selling the books, but I still made a profit from my Phantom. Think of it like a farmer using a truck. He might not be able to drive cargo or passengers for hire without a commercial driver's license, but he can certainly use it to haul his own produce to market, etc. thus making a profit. He can also deduct the cost of the truck, through depreciation, on his taxes. It's both legal and reasonable in a common sense way.

    As for the fear of the FAA, I can understand it for pilots or others dependent on licensing, etc. But in general there is a lot more fear of litigation than is warranted. I really would welcome being cited or sued by the federal government. First off, as a retired FBI agent and then practicing lawyer, I'm very comfortable representing myself in court. I have the time and experience to do it myself for almost no cost. Most of my litigating was in labor arbitrations but I also litigated cases in federal and state courts and have a 6-0 record. Really, the benefit from the publicity would gain me more money in book sales than any FAA fine would cost me, even if I litigated all the way to the Supreme Court and lost and had to pay. If you don't believe me, just read this article about the book by Edan Lepucki. If you look at the reader ratings on Amazon.com you'll see it has to be about the lowest ever for any best seller. It is apparently very poorly written, but sells great ever since the Amazon-Hachette lawsuit.

    My point is, figure out a way to use it where you aren't directly compensated for flying it, but for a product or service associated with the use.
     
  16. birdheezy

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    The problem i see is that the FAA will tie just about anything back to using it for hire/compensation. If you have a private pilot cert and take a buddy to lunch and he pays for your lunch, they see that as compensation for the plane ride and therefore not ok. I don't think a lot of people are aware that using it for hire is illegal, so when they get hired to fly it and then get in trouble, it's a total surprise. People fly for hire all the time, doesn't make it right.

    I see your point. I'm just waiting for someone to do something especially dumb and get the whole thing locked down. The FAA would love to have an incident that gives them a lot of power to lock down the whole personal drone thing. So many people fly these things around with little to no respect for anyone/anything around them.
     
  17. N017RW

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    This is your fear correct?

    If not then where do you draw this statement from and post it as fact?
     
  18. birdheezy

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    I did write it so it's my opinion... is that was you were wondering?
     
  19. SteveMann

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    First, the FAA doesn't have that much power. Then, as I said before their whole rationale for any jurisdiction of sUAV operations is in question. (Thank you, Mr. Pirker). There have been sUAV crashes where there were injuries, some very serious. No shutdown. There have been some drone deliveries of drugs into prisons. No shutdown. There have been some sUAV flights into TFR zones (Temporary Flight Restriction) where the President was present. No shutdown. I have read of a couple of drone fails into crowds. No shutdown. There are tens of thousands of sUAV operators in the USA, so a massive shutdown would be a huge political mistake. The Air Commerce Act, passed in 1926, charged the Secretary of Commerce with fostering air commerce, issuing and enforcing air traffic rules, licensing pilots, certifying aircraft, establishing airways, and operating and maintaining aids to air navigation.

    Now, before you bring out the pitchforks - I would welcome FAA involvement in pilot certification and some kind of aircraft registry for sUAV commercial operations. At the least a pilot should demonstrate some knowledge of the airspace, how to get and read NOTAMS which would include TFR's. How does this benefit us? By being under the jurisdiction of the FAA, all local laws would be mute. Superseded by the FAA. Can you imagine the paperwork nightmare if every city and town were allowed to promulgate their own sUAV laws?
     
  20. birdheezy

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    Didn't mean to upset you...

    It would be nice if they'd get their act together and give us some hard regs on the subject. I'm waiting for someone to fly it near an airport, have a jet suck one of these things up and cause an emergency situation.

    Someone told me once that the FAA is all about safety, and if no one flys, then no one can crash! the FAA just wants to keep everything on the ground haha. Thought that was funny.