In any aspect of our lives, it’s important to do things the right way. This is a motto that I live by, and I work to implement it into both my personal and professional lives. Having recently broken into the aviation industry as a drone operator, it was shocking to see so many people that don’t follow this rule. The reason for this is a combination of ignorance, indifference, and laws that haven’t been fleshed out by enforcement agencies. In this post I wanted to share with you some things to look for if you’re thinking about hiring a drone pilot for a project, as it can save you time, money, and potential injury.
Big Popularity, Little Training
Drones really took off a few years ago, when the DJI brand of drones showcased how easy a good quality craft could be flown. This led to an influx of aircraft hitting the skies, with many people receiving their drones for Christmas and having little to no idea how the devices worked.
Many of those who took off for the first time crashed their drones, and a lot of others put theirs into the trash bin shortly after, as they couldn’t master the mechanics of flight. A good chunk of the pilots who remained kept flying, unaware of changing laws that actually applied to them. Instead of putting the time into training, they simply went about their flying, sometimes figuring out there was a quick buck to be had by taking real estate photos or shooting a wedding.
That’s not to say that all drone pilots are bad. In fact, most people flying drones want to be able to do things correctly, they just can’t find the resources to do so. Today, many of these resources are becoming easier to find for fledgling pilots, so we’re starting to see more and more pilots doing things the right way (by obtaining a Part 107 certificate for commercial work and carrying insurance). Still, there are still many people operating outside the laws, putting your and your business at risk if you hire them.
Lots of Risk for a Little Drone
Under federal law, a drone pilot doing commercial work needs to hold an FAA Part 107 Certification. This is earned by taking a test at an authorized center and passing a background check. Pilots doing commercial work without this are operating illegally, and it’s highly unlikely that they’re carrying insurance, as most policies require a Part 107 credential to be presented.
If you hire a pilot without the certification, there may be repercussions for you. Most times you’ll likely be okay, but real estate agents in particular are at risk. Federal law stipulates that real estate agents caught using an unlicensed pilot can face an $11,000 fine, while the drone pilot can face an $1,100 fine. If the real estate agent is flying the drone, they’re liable for both!
The bottom line is that it just isn’t worth it to take the risk with an unlicensed pilot. Take the time to do a little research and find a pilot that has: