Most people aren't aware of what to look for when hiring a drone pilot. There are several factors to consider, but one is most important.
Drones are one of the fastest growing trends out there. Drone technology has improved dramatically and rapidly, allowing more and more people to experience their dream of flight while still firmly planted on the ground.
In the last several years, millions of hobbyists have purchased drones and fly for various reasons - and at various skill levels. Most do it simply for fun, but a growing number of pilots seek to return their investment and build businesses around their flights.
And industries are paying attention. Drone pilots are now being hired to show off real estate, inspect towers and buildings and shoot video and photos from vantage points that required a helicopter just a few years ago.
Before hiring a drone operator, your first question should be, "are you Part 107 Certified?"
WHAT IS PART 107?
“Part 107” refers to the proposed part 107 of Chapter 14 of the FAA's Code of Federal Regulations. The basic rule of thumb is "intent." A flight with any intent that is not purely a hobby is considered a Part 107 operation. Even casually posting videos and images online is technically beyond the (relatively loose) "hobby" intention.
While there are many implications to this, the bottom line for you and your pilot is this: The Part 107 Certification allows the pilot of a sUAS (small Unmanned Aircraft System) to fly commercially and be paid for their work. Without this certification, pilots are restricted from flying for business purposes.
The Part 107 certification process is significant. Your 107 pilot will have been tested on many elements that a manned aircraft pilot needs to know, like the national airspace system, weather, aircraft loading & performance, regulations and operations.
They'll be uniquely trained on how to fly safely and protect you and themselves from unnecessary risk, maintaining compliance with the FAA.
While drones are becoming safer and easier to fly, the fact remains that they are still an aircraft and must be operated with utmost diligence.
IS PART 107 THE ONLY CONSIDERATION?
Beyond the Certification that allows your business transactions to take place, what else should consider?
Are they insured?
While it's not required, it's great to have the peace of mind that your job is covered.
What is their skill level?
How long have they been flying? What situations are they comfortable in, and what present new and unique challenges? There are countless ways a drone can be used for a commercial project, and pilots may be more versed in some projects than others.
What's their attitude?
Here's a peek behind the Part 107 curtain. Believe it or not, one required bit of information that pilots are trained to examine is "attitude." The FAA has identified 5 "hazardous attitudes" that can compromise a pilot's decision-making and result in dangerous situations: Anti-authority, Impulsivity, Invulnerability, Macho, and Resignation. (Yes, I said "Macho.")
Your self-aware pilot should ensure that these attitudes are not part of their own character. Knowing this will help guide your interaction with them, as well.
What do they fly?
Explore their aircraft's technical capabilities, and discuss whether they meet your job requirements.
Big Picture Studio offers Part 107 Certified aerial imaging services. We fly a DJI Mavic Air 2. Released in early 2020, the second generation Air 2 is remarkable aircraft. It's equipped with high resolution camera that shoots clear, sharp photos and 4k 60fps video. It handles wind exceedingly well and is equipped with front, rear and downward obstacle avoidance sensors, as well as the newly released AirSense technology, alerting the pilot to other manned aircraft in the area.
We look forward to exploring your aerial photography and videography needs to discover if we're the right fit for you.
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