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Hurricane Florence and Multiple Storms Approach Atlantic and Gulf Coast | Drones May Aid Hurricane Relief Efforts

Today, Hurricane Florence is making its approach to the U.S. East Coast as a Category 2 hurricane. Most heavily impacting the Carolinas, the hurricane is expected to produce dangerous winds and catastrophic flash flooding. Not trailing far behind, Tropical Storm Isaac is passing over the Caribbean, and an unnamed tropical disturbance has been spotted in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence photographed from the International Space Station, Sept. 10, 2018. Credit: NASA photo

 

As the U.S. braces itself for this torrent of storm activity, first responders are readying to provide aid and relief with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), also called drones. During the storm, drones can perform critical tasks, such as spotting people in need of urgent help and delivering medical supplies. After the storm, as residents cope with loss of power, closed roadways, and damaged property, drones can also assist. From the air, drones can aid in power line repairs and help assess roadway and property damage, leading to faster repairs.

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Drones Aid Disaster Relief Efforts | Facing Rain, Wind, and Fire

In 2016, drones provided monumental emergency aid to areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expedited airspace authorizations and Part 107 waivers for drone operators with any legitimate reason to facilitate aid in the heavily impacted areas of Texas. Drones were deployed in several scenarios, including damage assessments of cell towers, roads, and bridges. Former FAA Administrator, Michael Huerta, marked the response as a landmark for the drone industry.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the hurricane response will be looked back upon as a landmark in the evolution of drone usage in this country. And I believe the drone industry itself deserves a lot of credit for enabling this to happen.

—Michael Huerta, Former FAA Administrator

Not only can drones help during the recovery process after a hurricane; they’ve been used to provide aid after other types of natural disasters as well, like the tornado that struck Amherst County, Virginia during April 2018. A Drone Pilot Ground School scholarship recipient used his drone to gather aerial footage of the damage to help the County Sherff’s department with cleanup and reclamation. In another example, the Los Angeles Fire Department used drones to combat wildfires, primarily to assess property damage caused by the fires.

Unauthorized Drone Operations Delay Relief Efforts

There are many ways drones can provide aid in emergency situations, but they can also stifle aid delivery if flown without authorization. This lesson was painfully learned when unauthorized drone operators flew onto the scene of a recent California wildfire, prolonging firefighting efforts and endangering nearby civilians as they waited for the rogue drone to clear the sky. Unidentified drones delay firefighters from sending helicopters into the area to put out the fires and lead to further destruction.

The FAA has issued a warning, as Hurricane Florence nears, that drone users cannot fly their drones near the disaster area without authorization.

The FAA warns drone operators that they will be subject to significant fines that may exceed $20,000 and civil penalties if they interfere with emergency response operations. Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is not in place. Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.

FAA.gov

Drones can have a positive impact on disaster stricken areas, but the proper steps must be taken to obtain authorization.

The FAA Follows Protocol for Severe Weather Events

The FAA closely monitors forecasted hurricanes and severe weather events and prepares FAA facilities and equipment to withstand storm damage. They prepare and protect air traffic control facilities along the projected storm path so they can quickly resume operations after the hurricane passes. Enabling flights to resume quickly is critical to support disaster relief efforts; however, if airports are unable to reopen quickly, drones can continue to provide emergency relief services. Every drone, powered by battery and able to take off from almost anywhere, can reduce the number of manned aircraft using gasoline and other resources that become scarce during natural disasters.

Government agencies with an FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) or flying under Part 107, as well as private sector Part 107 drone operators who want to support response and recovery operations, are strongly encouraged to coordinate their activities with the local incident commander responsible for the area in which they want to operate. Pilots without a Part 107 Certification or proper authorization should not fly their drone near the disaster area, or they could face criminal charges and fines.

First Responder Police Drone

Police drone operator. Credit: Lewis Clarke

 

If drone operators need to fly in controlled airspace or a disaster TFR to support the response and recovery, operators must contact the FAA’s System Operations Support Center (SOSC) at 9-ATOR-HQ-SOSC@faa.gov.

Will you be in the path of Hurricane Florence or involved with relief efforts? Tell us on our public safety/emergency services community forum thread.

The post Hurricane Florence and Multiple Storms Approach Atlantic and Gulf Coast | Drones May Aid Hurricane Relief Efforts appeared first on UAV Coach.

Drone Pilots Eager to Fly Beyond the Restrictions of Part 107 | More than 2,000 Waivers Granted Before Two-Year Anniversary of the Part 107 sUAS Rule

It’s been about two years since the FAA implemented Part 107, also known as the small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) rule, on August 29, 2016. Since then, the FAA has granted over 2,000 waivers to fly outside the requirements of Part 107, such as flying beyond the visual line of sight or at night.

AUVSI Study Reveals Surprising Trends Among Part 107 Waivers Granted

So who has applied for waivers successfully, and what were they for? The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) recently released an update to its analysis of waivers by the FAA, which includes findings on the most commonly requested waivers, types of operations authorized via waiver, and other unique findings.

Here are some key takeaways from the study:

  • Operators in all 50 states and Puerto Rico have used waivers for expanded operations.
  • The operators who received the most waivers reside in California, followed by Florida, Texas, Colorado, and Illinois.
  • Flying at night is the most common reason operators request a waiver, with nearly 92 percent of the waivers granting permission to operate UAS at night.
  • Small businesses are implementing UAS into their operations, with over 90 percent of the waivers granted to companies with annual revenues of less than $1 million.
  • First responders are embracing expanded UAS operations, with close to 200 having received waivers.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the data collected by AUVSI.

What are the most common FAA Part 107 waivers?

The majority of waivers were for operations at night, accounting for 92% of the waivers granted with all other waiver types each accounting for less than 5%. Waivers were seldomly approved for flights over people, operations without a visual observer, and operations from a moving vehicle.

In their report, AUVSI analyzed 1,960 waiver documents granted to more than 1,800 operators in the past two years. The FAA has granted waivers to:

  • Fly at night (1,800 waivers)
  • Fly in certain airspace (97 waivers)
  • Operate multiple UAS at the same time (41 waivers)
  • Operate beyond other imposed operational limits of Part 107 such as speed, distance from clouds or flight visibility (28 waivers)
  • Fly beyond visual line of sight (23 waivers)
  • Conduct flights over people (13 waivers)
  • Fly without a visual observer (13 waivers)
  • Operate UAS from a moving vehicle (5 waivers)
Part 107 Waiver Type

Image Credit: Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI); Legend: Operating Limitations (b), (c) and (d) = 14 CFR §107.51 (b), (c) and (d) Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft (altitude above ground level or relative to a structure (b); flight visibility (c); distance from clouds (d)) Operating Limitations (a) = 14 CFR § 107.51 (a) for small unmanned aircraft (specifically groundspeed)

 

BVLOS operations, flights over people, operations without a visual observer, and operations from a moving vehicle accounted for 1% or less of all waivers granted, but this does not mean pilots have not expressed interest in these types of operations. Rather, it’s more likely that waivers to fly over people have a lower approval rate than requests to fly potentially safer missions like flying at night.

Who is most likely to request a FAA Part 107 waiver?

Based on the study conducted by AUVSI, which captured a total of 1,828 unique operators, the operators who applied for waivers breakdown as follows:

  • Over 58% are associated with some type of service-based organization
  • 26% are registered as a responsible individual without an associated company
  • 11% support emergency response organizations (such as fire or police departments)
  • Less than 5% work for government agencies, academic institutes, or UAS manufacturers

This is demonstrated in the barchart below.

 

Where were the most FAA Part 107 waivers granted?

Using the FAA’s waivers granted database, AUVSI determined that the dispersion of waivers granted closely reflects the population density of the United States with large clusters in southern California, and in/around the cities of New York, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, and Austin.

 

The top ten states for number of waivers granted were California, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, and Virginia. This aligns closely with the distribution of Part 107 Certificate holders in the U.S.

 

If you’d like to view more charts like this, head on over the AUVSI full report. Go ahead—you can totally geek out with their interactive data sets and deep dive into specific cities, types of business, types of waivers, and other data filters.

How will the waiver process change in the future?

The FAA has been working to improve the waiver process with the issue of airspace authorization maps last year and the roll out of LAANC this year for immediate airspace authorizations. This summer, they also hosted a webinar series to increase drone operators’ understanding of the waiver process.

To apply for a Part 107 waiver, pilots use the FAA’s DroneZone Portal, and applications are granted on a case-by-case basis. The FAA requests up to 90 days to review and issue a decision, and they will approve the waiver if the applicant demonstrates they can fly safely under the waiver without endangering people or property on the ground or in the air.

The requirements to fly under 400 feet, within visual line of sight, and only during daylight hours are ultimately designed for safety, but they can be inconvenient and frustrating at times.

Commercial pilots trying to please clients with requests outside the parameters of Part 107 are hindered by the time it takes to request a waiver. For example, if a client requests footage of a night-time event such as a fireworks display or wedding reception, you won’t be able to commit to the job without first applying for a waiver to fly at night and/or over people. The FAA then requests up to 90 days to review and issue a decision, by which time the client may no longer need or want your services. In more serious scenarios, such as a search and rescue operation requiring BVLOS operations, the process may be expedited but still slow down the operation.

Members of the drone community have expressed a desire for a faster and more efficient waiver request process.

The continuing high demand for Part 107 waivers demonstrates that operators are more eager than ever to harness the great potential of unmanned aviation technology. In order for the industry to reach its full potential, we need to move beyond granting permission on a case-by-case basis, as we do today, and instead implement a regulatory framework that establishes rules for expanded operations. Until we do that, progress towards the goal of integrating UAS into the nation’s airspace will continue to stall.

—Brian Wynne, President and CEO, AUVSI

Implementing a regulatory framework for commercial operations and specific industries could further streamline, and potentially speed up, the waiver process for commercial drone pilots. We hope to see improvements in the waiver process as the U.S. Senate moves toward a decision on the FAA Reauthorization Bill. One topic on their agenda is to address ways to reduce the need for waivers and to foster innovation by authorizing expanded case-by-case exemptions for beyond visual-line-of sight, nighttime operations, and operations over people, as well as for research and development and commercial purposes. Improvements to the waiver process would open up the burgeoning sUAS industry to a multitude of new possibilities.

Share your own experiences with the FAA Part 107 waiver process, or tell us what changes/improvements you’d like to make to the waiver process in this thread on our community forum.

The post Drone Pilots Eager to Fly Beyond the Restrictions of Part 107 | More than 2,000 Waivers Granted Before Two-Year Anniversary of the Part 107 sUAS Rule appeared first on UAV Coach.

Breaking News Delivered at InterDrone 2018 | Six Announcements Shaking Things Up for the Drone Industry

Today wraps up fourth annual InterDrone Conference where the drone industry comes together to learn from and share ideas with one another. With so many members of the drone industry present, InterDrone is the perfect stage to break news and make announcements. Over 130 drone manufacturers, sellers and solution providers filled the expo floor at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas.

There were many announcements made at InterDrone this year, but here are the ones that most caught our ear.

1. Yunnee’s joint venture with 3DR and release of all-new E10T dual thermal imaging camera

Yuneec and 3DR, two founding members of the Dronecode software consortium, announced a U.S.-headquartered joint venture to bring products based on the Dronecode platform to market. 3DR Government Services expertise in software and Yuneec’s hardware mastery and manufacturing scale make this an ideal joining. Together, these two companies will serve the U.S. government and their vendors in the construction and engineering industries, addressing their security and open platform needs. The first product from 3DR Government Services is the Yuneec 3DR H520-G, which was unveiled at the InterDrone Conference in Las Vegas this week.

Yuneec also announced the expansion of its commercial UAV payload offering with the unveiling of the all-new E10T, an advanced thermal camera for commercial applications. The E10T is an all-in-one, three-axis gimbal, dual thermal imaging and residual light camera available in two versions with different lens options: 320 by 256-pixel or 640 by 512-pixel thermal resolution. The H520-E10T system was specially developed for inspection, safety and search & rescue applications.

Yuneec E10T

We stopped by Yuneec’s booth in the InterDrone exhibit hall to talk to Ryan Borders, Chief Operating Officer at Yuneec, about the E10T:

We’ve had a lower resolution thermal imaging low-light camera in the past. The E10T is the next generation of that, which is the high resolution. It’s going to be offered in two different flavors. One is a 320×256 and the other one is a 640×512. Both offer both low-light camera and thermal imaging camera, so they’re essentially a dual camera. You can film or take images in either or, or you can overlap them—you can do thermal imaging and overlap that with the low-light image.

—Ryan Borders, Chief Operating Officer, Yuneec

2. Parrot reveals two new drones—the Ebee X and the ANAFI Work

Launched with the promise that “it’s not about the drone,” but instead about overcoming business challenges, the Ebbe X and ANAFI Work offer highly accurate insights, whatever the user’s level of drone experience and budget.

More than the drones themselves however, what’s key is that these end-to-end solutions are built upon the commercial knowledge of the entire Parrot Group, providing professionals at all levels with a means to improve their business results-by boosting efficiency, reducing costs, improving worker safety and providing the insights needed to take better decisions.

—Gilles Labossière, Parrot Group, Executive Vice President and COO; senseFly, CEO

The senseFly eBee X is a fixed-wing drone with a design tailored to the needs of mapping and geospatial professionals. This enterprise-grade solution offers a camera to suit every job, the accuracy and coverage capabilities to meet the requirements of even the most demanding projects and is durable enough to work virtually every site.

ANAFI Work is a 4K ultra-compact drone solution for everyday business use by construction professionals, independent contractors, site managers, architects, creative agencies and more. Based on Parrot’s highly-acclaimed ANAFI drone (launched in June 2018), this highly capable, advanced imaging tool makes it easy and safe, to inspect those hard to reach areas of buildings.

Parrot ANAFI Work

3. SkyWatch.AI partners/integrates with three leading drone software providers

At the conference, SkyWatch.AI announced three major partnerships and integrations with leading drone software providers: DroneDeploy, Drone Harmony, and Maps Made Easy. Pilots will be able to purchase SkyWatch.AI’s on-demand insurance precisely for the mission they are planning seamlessly from within the flight apps they’re using associated with any of these three companies.

Drone pilots can purchase SkyWatch.AI insurance directly from Drone Deploy’s dashboard, the Drone Harmony Planner app, or the Map Pilot mobile app. Additionally, the flight telemetry is uploaded to the SkyWatch platform to analyze flight risk, and pilots are rewarded with lower insurance rates for practicing safe flight. See how this works for Map Pilot pilots in the video below.

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4. Women in Drones announces their “Women to Watch” list

The Women in Drones Luncheon included an impressive panel of female business owners, drone pilots, executives, and engineers. Before the panel opened up for discussion, Suzanne Lemieux, UAS Lead and Manager, API and Sharon Rossmark, CEO and Founder, Women and Drones announced their “Women to Watch” list. And the winners are:

  • Fiona Lake, Agricultural Photography, FionaLake.com.au
  • Dale McErlean, Airspace Integration, Ntsu Aviation Solutions (Pty) Ltd.
  • Heather Hasper, Aviation Planning, DHJ Alaska
  • Jackie Dujmovic, Conservation, Hover UAV
  • Marjorie Ferrone, Entertainment & Education, Drone Parks Worldwide
  • Jessica Chosid, Infrastructure, Reign Maker
  • Gail Orenstein, Journalism
  • Sonal Baid, Product Development, Kittyhawk
  • Brooke Tapsall, Safety Technology, DroneALERT
  • Gemma Alcock, Search & Rescue, SkyBound Rescuer

Learn more about the winners on the official Women and Drones 2018 “Women to Watch” list.

5. PrecisionHawk Acquires HAZON and InspecTools

On day one of InterDrone 2018, Michael Chasen, CEO of Precision Hawk, delivered a keynote, during which he announced that his company had acquired HAZON and InspecTools. These businesses specialize in the delivery of inspection services and technology for the energy industry and bring demonstrated domain expertise to enable tighter integration between the collection and the analysis of drone data. During the keynote, Chasen expressed his belief that these acquisitions will help elevate the drone industry.

While PrecisionHawk has been working with a number of companies in the energy and utility space, as a company we had to get a deeper level of expertise to help elevate these conversations we’re having before we take the technology to the next level. So, this morning, I am pleased to say that we announce PrecisionHawk has acquired [HAZON and InspecTools], two of the leading companies in the drone energy and renewal space that we believe will be better able to support this industry that is rapidly looking to deploy drone technology.

—Michael Chasen, CEO of Precision Hawk

HAZON brings extensive aviation experience, standards-based operating procedures, certified drone flight operations, and inspection services, widely regarded as the best in the energy industry, to the PrecisionHawk team. The company has delivered over 13,000 inspections totaling over 8,000 hours of flight time, with a majority focused in energy markets for Fortune 500 utilities.

InspecTools brings high-fidelity machine vision software and data analysis tools built for the renewable energy market. Their market-leading software for both solar panel and wind turbine inspection is utilized by some of the largest equipment manufacturers and service providers in the world. Customers like Vestas, PG&E, and SMA Solar rely on InspecTools’ sophisticated reporting, analytics and machine learning capabilities.

6. AirMap partners with DroneInsurance.com

A final announcement made at InterDrone we want to fill you in on is the partnership between AirMap, the world’s leading airspace management platform for drones, and DroneInsurance.com, a digital drone insurance portal. Now, U.S.-based drone operators can purchase insurance from DroneInsurance.com within the AirMap for Drones mobile app, available in the App Store and Google Play.

AirMap is improving the daily flying experience for drone operators with DroneInsurance.com’s digital platform, which aims to provide a smart and paperless drone insurance experience that offers dynamic policy options to address the unique risks, pain points and insurance needs of commercial drone operators. As regulations evolve, and companies utilize drones to perform commercial tasks—from industrial inspection, to real estate photography, to remote sensing—AirMap is focused on establishing a future for drones that is safe, connected, and protected. Providing simple, in-app access to insurance solutions is another step towards achieving this goal.

 

What announcements were you most excited to hear about during InterDrone 2018? Let us know on our community forum.

The post Breaking News Delivered at InterDrone 2018 | Six Announcements Shaking Things Up for the Drone Industry appeared first on UAV Coach.

How to Incorporate Drones into Your Photography / Videography Business: An Interview with UAV Coach Flight Training Instructor Cher Brown

Cher Brown is a photographer, videographer, FAA-certified drone pilot, and a grandmother. Cher and her husband Terry are the owners of KEVA Creative, a photography and videography business located in North Carolina. Cher is also one of UAV Coach’s new flight training instructors for those looking to beef up their UAV flying chops.

We wanted to talk to Cher about how she went about incorporating drones into the work she does at KEVA Creative, and to learn more about her passion for drone education.

Let’s hear what she had to say.

drones-cher-brown-interview


Begin Interview

What kind of work do you currently do at KEVA Creative?

KEVA Creative is a company that focuses on video and film production.

We just started work on our first documentary, which will take place in our backyard here in North Carolina at the Aspen National Park Service on Shackleford Banks. The documentary focuses on a group of wild horses that have lived in the park for centuries

We also work with local clients from North Carolina all the way down to Florida doing photography and video production.

In addition to my work at KEVA Creative I recently became an instructor at a local community college, as well as an in-person instructor for UAV Coach.

YouTube Video

Check out this nature video from KEVA Creative shot entirely by drone

Tell us about adding drones to your toolkit as a photographer / videographer. What prompted you to make that change?

Drones came into our professional lives really quite by accident.

My husband and I are both professional photographers. We had some curiosity about what might be possible with drone photography, so we ended up buying a drone to experiment.

At that point we were very new to everything, and had no idea that we were supposed to be certified by the FAA to fly. So we unpacked it, blew through all the warnings in the apps we were using, and had our first flight in a nearby park.

It was only when we got back home and I started doing research, poking around on competitors’ websites, that I realized we needed to be Part 107 certified if we wanted to use our new drones in our work.

That’s when I realized how big of an undertaking it was going to be to really add drones to our toolkit. Initially my husband and I both were going to get FAA certified, but he ended up becoming involved in other projects, so I was the one who really dove in and learned the material, and learned how to fly.

Now I’m obsessed with drones. I’m obsessed with aerial cinematography, as well as aerial photography. I used to never travel anywhere without my DSLR, but now it’s my DJI Mavic Pro.

The Mavic is my drone of choice—it’s small, it’s compact, and it fits right next to my DSLR in my backpack. I don’t leave home without it anymore. Flying is just too tempting.

Do you have any advice for people who want to start their own aerial photography business, or people who want to incorporate drones into an existing photography / videography business?

First of all, take it very slow. Go step by step, and really master your flying skills before you go out and start offering services to anyone.

Second, make sure you do all the planning and paperwork. Get insured, get FAA certified, and do everything by the book.

Third, be aware of your local drone laws, not just federal ones. This includes state drone laws, county and town drone laws, park drone laws, and so on. Do your research, so you don’t get caught by surprise when you go out to fly.

When I teach at the community college, I use a nano drone and have students practice taking it through an obstacle course to help drill different flying skills into them. That way, when they go to fly later, they’ll have that foundation to work from.

cher-brown-interview

It’s important to practice, and also to meet other drone pilots. Try to meet people who are better than you so you can stretch yourself and grow.

Finally, be mindful of what I call drone ethics. This is something I always emphasize when I teach students about drones. Ethics doesn’t just mean following the letter of the law and what the FAA allows—it’s really more about making the right decisions based on where you are and who’s around you.

When I’m out flying I run into people pretty often who are kind of scared about drones. And I think it’s important to remember that, as a drone pilot, you are representing this entire industry when you’re out in public flying. So even if someone is being unreasonable, and is angry at you for flying in a place where you’re legally allowed to fly, be patient with them and try to talk to them. Try to address their concerns graciously, respectfully, and professionally.

Do you have drone insurance?

Yes, we purchase an annual drone insurance policy.

It’s somethings that’s really important, and I really stress it in my coursework. You can get on-demand insurance for one hour for 20 dollars—anyone can afford it, and it’s important to protect yourself.

When we started using drones in our work drone insurance was something that we wanted to research right up front, because we already had a very expensive liability policy that we have just to cover our film and photography work.

The first year we actually purchased a rider to go on top of our other liability insurance, and that was really expensive. After that first year I went out and did my own research and we purchased a different policy that was less expensive and just as good for our second year.

To me, the problem with going the on-demand route is that it creates an extra barrier to flying. If you’re out and see the perfect shot, you don’t want to have to go through an extra setup step before you get your drone in the air. I want to be able to just stop my car, run out and put my drone up—that’s why we have an annual policy.

In addition to your work with KEVA Creative you also teach people how to fly drones, both here at UAV Coach and elsewhere. Can you tell us about your work in drone education and what drew you to it?

I’m an in-person instructor for UAV Coach, and I teach introductory drone courses at the local community college. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with one of our high schools and teach their seniors about flying drones.

For me, I love watching someone’s face when they’re flying for the first time, no matter the person’s age. It’s just so much fun to see somebody’s face light up when they’re learning how to fly.

One highlight in my education work was mentoring a young woman from the high school. The requirement was 15 hours. She was a gamer, so she picked up the sticks and knew exactly what to do, and she was really cautious and careful.

Do you think teaching people how to fly drones in small groups is important?

Small groups and one-on-one sessions can be incredibly valuable for getting first-hand experience flying, and for passing on knowledge.

As an instructor, one of the most important things I can give to my students is the knowledge I’ve accumulated through years of experience flying. I can share mistakes I’ve made and situations I’ve encountered. You can do this in the classroom too, but it’s much more difficult. When you’re out with a small group really working on flying, the transmission of knowledge is just a lot smoother.

We’ve spoken with some women who have talked about how breaking into the drone industry can feel intimidating. Have you had a similar experience?

The short answer is that I’ve actually had a very positive experience as a woman drone pilot.

It’s definitely true that clients can be surprised when my husband and I show up to do a job and they find out that I’m the drone pilot—they usually assume it’s him. When they find out it’s me, they usually get a kick out of it.

So yes, I would say that you’re definitely noticed as a woman in this industry, but not necessarily in a negative way. I’ve found my fellow drone pilots, many of whom are men, really welcoming and encouraging.

interview-cher-brown-drones

What are some other ways you’ve been able to make money as a “creative”, that is, as someone who flies a drone to create art?

In addition to my work with KEVA Creative sometimes I’ll pick up work from pilot networks like DroneBase.

When I first signed up with DroneBase they sent me jobs that weren’t really in my wheelhouse—insurance inspections, home inspections, things like that.

Then I found out about that they also pay drone pilots for stock media, and I began shooting short aerial videos and uploading them to DroneBase’s Getty Missions section for drone pilots. I learned a lot about how to finetune my clips for their requirements based on those that were accepted and those that were rejected, submitted a bunch of them, and ended up making about $1,500 in two weeks doing it. (You get paid a flat fee of $15 a clip.)

One thing to note about shooting stock media for DroneBase or other sites is that you have to really learn about the artistry behind shooting. That is, you can’t just focus on your flying abilities—you really need to focus on how to get a great shot, too, and how to create the clip so that it’s a commodity that other people will want to use.

You also need to get familiar with your settings in order to get professional shots, and avoid using auto settings. I always adjust my settings manually so I can get exactly the shot I’m envisioning. This year we’ve worked hard on having some classic shots that we can easily set up and execute quickly so that we don’t waste a lot of battery life. So far it’s been working out really well.

Want to schedule a flight training class with Cher to improve your drone skills and knowledge? Fill out the form here to request a training or get more information.

If you’d like to talk to others who have added drones to their professional photography / videography business, or just want to continue the discussion about this interview, hop into this thread on the UAV Coach community forum.

Check out this short explainer video to learn more about KEVA Creative:

The post How to Incorporate Drones into Your Photography / Videography Business: An Interview with UAV Coach Flight Training Instructor Cher Brown appeared first on UAV Coach.

FAA is 100% Committed to UAS Integration | Daniel Elwell, FAA Acting Administrator, Kicks off InterDrone 2018

Today, InterDrone, the largest commercial drone show in North America, kicked off at the Rio Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Daniel Elwell, the FAA’s acting administrator, delivered the event’s first keynote, taking the opportunity to position the FAA as a supporter of unmanned aircraft and their complete integration into America’s airspace.

“We’re not your adversary,” said Elwell in regards to the FAA’s stance toward the drone industry. “We are as invested in integrating unmanned aircraft into the system as you are.”

Daniel Elwell speaks at InterDrone 2018

Daniel Elwell delivers first keynote at InterDrone 2018.

While some may see the FAA as an overbearing figure that restricts the industry with its many regulations, others value the FAA as a safeguard that enables drone pilots to operate safely while also protecting the safety of those around them.

Technology and Safety Must Play Equal Roles in UAS

Elwell also emphasized that the FAA is in the business of safety, not technology.

I’m not a tech guy, and the FAA is not a tech company. Our business is safety, so when we look at an aircraft, we want to know two basic things: is it reliable and does it play nicely with others. That’s it. Don’t fall out of the sky and don’t crash into other aircraft.

As the industry advances in applications, hardware, and software, there should be equal advancements in safety as well. For those who want to see progress in both federal regulations and the UAS integration, Elwell advises pairing drone products and operations with safety advancements.

“Don’t just make a business case for your product or operation, start making a safety case, because they go hand in hand.”

In addition to an increased attention on safety, Elwell suggested that drone pilots also do the following if they want full airspace integration of UAS:

  • Self-report mistakes. This voluntary data reporting allows the FAA to root out areas of risk in the system.
  • Don’t be afraid to go after the big issues that affect the larger aircraft community and share the solutions you find with others.
  • Share your knowledge. For example, if you develop a new safety enhancement, don’t keep it to yourself for the sake of selling more aircraft than your competitors.

Two organizations Elwell applauded for their promotion of knowledge sharing were CAST and UAST.

The FAA formed the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) in 1998. This organization is a mix of safety professionals from industry and government that shares data and safety ideas. They’ve produced over 200 safety enhancements that are largely responsible for commercial aviation’s historic safety rate—the FAA went over 9 years without a single fatality in commercial aviation.

Safety is a race we run together and CAST wants everyone in the system to finish in the tie for first.

The FAA wanted to carry the great work that CAST had done into the UAS industry. So, in October of 2016, the FAA launched a similar program specifically for the UAS industry called the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST).

Hurdles Remain for Full UAS Integration in Airspace

During the keynote, Elwell remained realistic about what issues still need to be addressed before we see full integration of UAS. While many drone pilots are eager to get their waivers to fly at night or over crowds, the FAA has larger fish to fry.

[We’ve taken] steps that bring drones closer to just being a routine operator in our airspace. There are still critical hurdles that need to be cleared…They are issues the FAA cannot tackle alone. Everyone’s interested in drone operations at night and over people, but we need to address the concerns that our national security and law enforcement have first.

Among those are the ability to identify every drone in the airspace. Right now the FAA’s hands are tied by a law that says they cannot require remote ID on unmanned aircraft. Congress knows this is an issue and Elwell hopes that there will be a change to this law, possibly with the upcoming FAA reauthorization.

Despite these hurdles, Elwell says the FAA remains dedicated to UAS integration and is “100% committed” to making UAS a regular part of our airspace.

The post FAA is 100% Committed to UAS Integration | Daniel Elwell, FAA Acting Administrator, Kicks off InterDrone 2018 appeared first on UAV Coach.

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