FAA Drone Rules
This is a big deal. The FAA is a big deal. (laughs) That's what they wanted me to say, right? No no, I mean the deal is with this new part 107 rule, it's a big deal for us. I think most of us in here our wheels are turning on how we can use drones for commercial use. And also, honestly, even if you're just going out taking pretty pictures with a drone of a sunset, of mountains, of landscape, or whatever you start sharing your photos and your videos on Facebook and YouTube and that sort of thing, people are gonna be like "That was so epic, would you do that for my company?" or whatever, that's how it happens. You start getting good at it and people start saying hey I would love to hire you to do this for us. It's been a real struggle for us commercial operators over the last few years to try to do this legit. There was a time when most of us just kind of did it tried to keep our nose clean, try to stay safe. And then the FAA required us to get this 333 exemption. And quite honestly duri...
ng that time, we had to turn down tons of jobs. The 333 exemption was basically that you could get an exemption to fly small UAS commercially if you filed this exemption request. It was basically stuff like "I know your regs say that the registration number needs to be like this big on the side of our airplane, but our drone is this big, so can we make our numbers this small so we can stick 'em" It was that kinda stuff and not only that the only exemptions that the FAA were granting were for if the pilot had his full pilot's license. We were staring to get more and more job requests, and people were saying hey, do you have your 333, and we were like no so we had to pass on them. I was getting really close myself, I was gonna start taking flying lessons. Now I actually have a few hours myself growing up with pilots, but I never got my pilot's license. So I was starting that process. I had an instructor picked out. But being that Cloud Gate was gonna pay for that I was like "Man, that's just an expense that I..." I mean I'd love to fly just for fun, but to have our company bear that expense because we need that to happen it's like $8000 at minimum price for me to get my pilot's license. I knew that this drone thing's not going away, the FAA is gonna have to catch up and finally have their rule for small UAS. Sure enough, right before my first lesson, the FAA announced this new part 107 rule. Besides the catchy title Part 107, what is the Part 107 rule? It's the new special rule for small UAS so that we can fly commercially. You don't have to have a full scale pilot's license but you do need to have your small UAS remote airman certificate is what I think they call the certificate. So this is a new rule for commercial operation of small UAS. It has similar rules as the AMA guidelines which I find interesting. This is for small UAS, small unmanned aerial systems weighing less than 55 pounds and more than .55 pounds. 'Cause .54 and point, yeah, anyways. (laughter) Maybe it's just an easy way to remember. Less than 55 and more than point 55. Pilots must pass an unmanned aircraft general test the UAG test with a 70% or higher. I got a 90% thank you very much. (laughter) Thanks for asking. (laughter) The remote pilot airman certificate is what you get. Mine just came in the mail while I was here. They give you a temporary certificate so you can get things going first. They have that same line of sight requirement that you see and avoid. Line of sight see and avoid, I think earlier I had some goggles out. Now they actually say in their rules that you need to have line of sight, you always need to have line of sight on your aircraft. Because their main concern is that you can see and avoid other air traffic or other people or obstacles or whatever. But you can have a visual observer. So you can use FPV gear as long as you can at any time see your copter and that you have a dedicated visual observer that's not observing any other small UAS. So they have to be dedicated on your bird. Max height, and this is a rule, is 400 feet. With airspace, which we'll take a look at in a little bit there's classes A through G. All the air space is regulated airspace except for class G. Class G is unregulated. This is actually kind of a big deal because this rule actually opened up... There used to be an app that said where can I fly, I think it was even the FAA's app maybe it was the FAA's app. There used to be maps that people would make of where can you fly and where can't you fly, and it used to be that you couldn't fly anywhere because you couldn't fly within five miles of any airport. And the truth is a lot of airports are actually in class G at surface level up to 700 feet A lot of airports are in class G unregulated airspace. So this 107 rule actually opened up a lot of airspace that was otherwise blocked from previous regulations or advisories. Class G is now allowed without air traffic control clearance. All other airspaces require a waiver. They have an online waiver system where if you need to do an inspection of something or perform a job that's inside, say, class D airspace, they say 90 days you need to go in there and request. Hopefully they'll get it down quicker. As soon as you can, put in the request and get an airspace waiver. And then no flying over non-participants. Non-participants meaning the crew, often times you do a hand launch or whatever so you're flying over your crew, but a non-participant, like in the case of our shoot with Patricia, I would consider her a non. She would be the talent, she would not be a participant in the crew. Now that's gonna be interesting how that shakes out because there's some creative shots flying right over your subject. There is a waiver process for that as well. So if you can explain to the FAA that you can do this in a safe manner, then possibly we'll start seeing waivers for that. So that is an interesting thing. I don't know if you can say well, do you agree to be a participant as well? I don't know. Time will tell. But that's a general rule as opposed to the AMA where it's a guideline. That also means that you can't just go fly... I think the big thing on this one is when you start flying drones people are like "I've got this big event I want you to film it, it'd be so epic!" That used to always naturally make me nervous because I'm a safe pilot and I haven't had a whole lot of incidents, but what if that incident happened with the speed controllers where I'm flying and all of a sudden it just goes berserk? What if something like that happens? Most people that fly drones, I always say it's not a matter of if but when. It's better that when not be over a crowd of people. That's not the way to win friends and influence what's that book? It's just not a good thing. The 107 info and resources. There's a lot of folks that are now teaching this. You can buy a class for 100 bucks and they'll walk you through how to pass the 107. Though I will say that all the information the FAA gives you. If you want more info you can go to FAA.gov. Specifically you can search for FAA Part 107. One of the pages on FAA's website will come up. When I studied for it they didn't have this, but like the day before the test they said hey we just released our study guide. I was like thanks a lot. (laughter) But in all fairness, I took it the day that it became available like in the morning. I was so ready to go. So the have their own study guide that basically tells you all the FAA handbooks that you need to read. It's a little tedious I have to say. Sarahnilsson.org if you can see that, Sarah with an h, nilsson.org, so she's a flight instructor. I think she's on the FAA's safety team that kinda helps out with some of the small UAS stuff. Before the FAA officially, even though I think she works for the FAA in some capacity, she actually reverse engineered what was going to be on the test and she copied and pasted all the handbooks and stuff where that information comes from put it on her website. I just studied that. I just went on her blog. There's seven big long pages of all the stuff you need to know and I just went through that and some YouTube videos and didn't have to pay a dime other than the cost of the test which is 150 bucks. Just went through that and passed decently. I see a lot of folks say it's gonna be hard. The test is gonna be hard. It's only hard if you don't know the answers, right? (laughter) It's only hard if you don't know the information. If you read through all of Sarah Nilsson's stuff or if you take any of these courses that other people are having success with, you're not gonna have too much trouble. There's a lot of airspace questions, I will say that. It's funny because the FAA says how much the test will cover they say it's like 25% airspace. In my experience it was like 80% airspace. 80% of the questions were having to do with airspace. But again it's only hard if you don't know the information. And it's not that you just wanna know the information to pass the test. The moment that you pass the test and you get your temporary certificate and you go out to work, that's the moment when you realize oh, what was I supposed to ... what was the protocol and how do I ... It's not just for the test, you're gonna use it on a daily, weekly basis. Especially the airspace part of it. Study not just to get through the test, but study to internalize it and keep studying. It's something that you're gonna become a licensed small UAS pilot. It's something that you're gonna need to know. One point of controversy amongst us hobbyists was registering our drones. (laughs) I guess it just had to happen, right? I suppose, but for hobbyists you pay five bucks and it covers all of your RC airplanes helicopters and stuff. Commercial users will go into the registermyuas.faa.gov and you register every specific copter, it's $5 each. Its not a huge expense. It gives you a registration number. I put that on my copters so that if it were to go down or whatever, that can be tracked. It's just what has to be done now. There's a pretty steep fine if you don't do it, even as a hobbyist.
"To everyone out there wanting to learn how to fly a Drone and take incredible images and videos; I promise Blayne Chastain is your guy!" -Brooke, CreativeLive Student
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Blayne Chastain has over three decades of practice flying RC aircrafts. He is the co-founder of Cloudgate, a film company specializing in cinematic aerials. He's captured aerial footage everywhere, from the seat of a kayak in Iceland to chasing snowboarders down a mountain with his drone. With the teachings in this class, you’ll have the ability to maximize your flight hobby, and turn your images into a part of your business.
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