FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For those of you who want to know.
Now you know.


Q: What is a drone? 

A: A drone is a nickname given to any aircraft in the category of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), or Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) weighing less than 55 lbs (the name is also used to describe unmanned military aircrafts). Drones allow people to capture amazing aerial footage, providing uncommon angles of viewing the world that we live in, that would not be originally provided by helicopter filming crews or ground limited filming crews. Gimbal technology has allowed drones to create smooth, buttery shots that provide audiences with floating/flying sensations which is a huge part of the general appeal.  


Q: Is it illegal to operate drones commercially?

A: It is only illegal to operate commercially if you do not have the proper licensing.  All of our UAS operators are licensed pilots and have a Part 107 UAS Airman Certificate.  On August 29, 2016, the new FAA regulations (part 107) went into effect. Anyone operating drones commercially is required to have the proper certifications and regulatory requirements in place.


Q: What is considered commercial drone operation?

A: The FAA considers anything tied to income as commercial operation. This includes a realtor using drone footage for a listing.  Even if the realtor is not directly getting paid for the flight, the ultimate purpose is to earn income through the sale of the home.  Basically, if you are flying for any purpose other than hobby or recreation, it is commercial use and you need a license and are expected to comply with commercial regulations.


Q: How high can you fly?

A: The FAA guidelines state that UAS devices can fly no higher than 400 feet AGL without a Certificate of Waiver from the FAA.  Most of the time we don’t need to get above 200 feet to capture the subject so this is usually not an issue.   


Q: Can you fly at night?

A: No, but it can be approved under part 107.  Night flying presents a number of dangers.  The regulations state that UAS devices can only fly between sunrise and sunset unless an exemption is granted from this rule by the FAA.


Q: Can you fly near airports?

A: It depends on the airport.  Some require approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and/or the local Air Traffic Control tower (ATC) and some do not.  Contact us with the address of your project and we can find out for you.


Q: How long can you fly?

A: Our Drones can operate for 10-15 minutes on a single battery depending on the aircraft we use, the wind speed, air temperature, aircraft load, and other conditions.  Each of our units have multiple batteries in order to extend flight time with additional 10-15 minute flights.  


Q: Can you fly over crowds of people? 

A: The FAA guidelines state that you cannot fly a UAS over anyone not involved in the flight operation (i.e. the remote pilot and visual observer).  This includes flying at stadiums, sporting events, wildfires, or over crowds of people, including first responders at the scene of an incident.  Some of these restrictions can be exempted on a per-flight basis but requires a valid reason. 


Q: Can you fly indoors?

A: Yes and no. While the FAA frowns upon it, it is technically possible with the obstacle avoidance technology now present in the latest drones.  We do not recommend it however, It can be dangerous both to people and property and drones can only be flown in manual mode indoors (no GPS) which can be unpredictable, even with experienced pilots.  Since the FAA prohibits flying over people that is also a limiting factor.  We have other options for interior video including elevated cameras, gimbal stabilized cameras, and fluid head tripods.


Q: What kind of video and image processing do you offer?

A: All still images captured from our drones are professionally edited before the final images are delivered.  We offer a full video production shop and have the ability to add attractive title pages for agents and sellers, video stabilization to smooth out bumps in flight, licensed background audio tracks, and moving text (callouts) to our videos.  We also work with TV and Film production companies on a project basis and our footage can be included in larger productions either as Primary or B-Roll media.  Many of our video flights are performed by a dual operator setup with one person flying the drone and the other operating the camera.  This gives us the ability to “fly” and “pan” independently and produces amazing cinematic results with our videos.