Part 107

So I just posted a response (quoted below) to a video that showed up in my Facebook feed, but then I removed it.  Something about the time and placement of the response didn’t feel right to me, but I still feel that it needs to be said.

As more and more people earn their sUAS remote pilot certificate, the skies are becoming more and more saturated with “legal” drone pilots.  And when I say “legal” I mean drone pilots who are allowed to be paid for their craft.  Those flying for recreational purposes do still have rules to follow as well.  And for the most part, those rules are essentially the same rules as the ones for licensed remote pilots (of course, licensed piltots have the added CFR 14 part 107).

I’ve gotten on my soapbox before and I’ll keep getting on it because I feel strongly about these rules and the safety of everybody involved.  I’d also like to continue with my craft and grow it into a more successful piece of my studio, but it becomes increasingly hard to do with such blatant disregard for the rules and regulations happening all around me.

As I mention in the post, I’m not perfect and don’t claim to be perfect.  Granted, you can get some amazing imagery with drones these days, but that doesn’t mean “get the shot at all cost.”  I don’t have the additional cash on hand for potential fines from the FAA.  For me, I’ll continue to follow the rules as best I can.  And I’ll keep plugging away on my little soapbox when I see fit.

On the one hand I enjoy watching well-done video and this is certainly well-done.  On the other hand he, being an FAA sUAS remote pilot, should know better than to fly in some of the conditions depicted in this video.  Completely against part 107 regulations.  Granted, I’m not perfect, but it burns me up that FAA remote pilots are not really following the rules they agreed to when applying for the license.  Of course, my rant is negated if waivers were granted.


This is the photo that got the attention of the FAA back in the Spring of 2015.  They never saw the photo, but did receive a report from the local police about my flight .  This incident is why I’m so very careful these days and advocate for safe, law-abiding flying.

Due Diligence

Ok, now that I’ve done the “heavy lifting” to be allowed to fly a sUAS legally it should be as important for you (the consumer of photography and video) to complete your due diligence.  Make sure the person/company you’ve just hired to shoot your video is also legally allowed to perform the sUAS work for hire.  It concerns me that anybody can walk into Best Buy or Target or Wal-Mart or hop on Amazon or any number of other online retailers and purchase these flying machines.  And young kids these days are seeing the proliferation of drone videos and YouTubers flying with reckless abandon that it seems glamorous and risk-free.  It’s certainly not risk-free, but kids tend to simply plow forward without a second thought.  It worries me to no end that a very young middle-schooler recently proudly announced to me that he just got a DJI Phantom 4 – a fairly expensive flying camera.  Yeah, kids are amazing at video games and technology in general these days, but the decision-making skills are simply not there.  It’s comparable to a drivers license.  There are reasons that teens go through a process to earn a driver’s license which includes an age requirement.  Decision-making skills folks.  And I’m certainly not saying that you have to hire me – just make sure the person/company that you DO use is qualified and legally allowed.

Ok I’m done.  Enjoy this image of Fall colors knocking on our door.


Fall colors are popping up quickly.  My goal is to get this shot with much more Fall color in the next couple weeks.

Use It…

Not quite official, yet.  I still have to be vetted by the TSA, but I’m over the hump to being an officially certificated Remote Pilot by the FAA.  At least for the next 24 months.  No rest for the weary though.  I have to remain up-to-date on everything.  Use it or lose it, right?


What a relief!


As it is with any government agency, the FAA has a “crap ton” of regulations and the hottest topic these days is UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.  There are huge numbers of differing opinions about their use and with them becoming much more accessible and affordable it’s gonna get really crazy really quickly very soon (already in some instances).  There are no-fly zone maps, advisory circulars from 1981, COA application procedures, and so on, and so on and so on.  It’s dizzying to say the least.  So here are some simple pieces of advise from me to other/future “droners:”

  1. Be respectful of anyone who approaches you about anything to do about your drone.  Whether it’s simply to find out more about what you’re doing and to watch or someone who’s got an issue with you flying it.  Doesn’t matter – be respectful in your conversations.  If it really gets heated just don’t fly there.
  2. Know your craft – EVERYTHING about it.  Not just how to get it up in the air, but what to do if you encounter an issue while it’s up there.  Know how to troubleshoot what’s going on from the batteries to the blinking lights to the regular maintenance.  Know its limitations and don’t push them just for the sake of pushing them.
  3. Be aware that there are regulations out there for UAV.  They may not be specifically  for this new category of aerial drone per se, but they are for UAV which technically includes your new DJI Phantom (or whatever you’re flying).
    1. Here’s a link to the current FAA set of regulations for UAV
    2. The National Park System has also issued its own policy on UAV within their parks.
  4. Know the regulations or at least be learning about the regulations.  I know there are pockets of rebellious “droners” out there who are going to put up the good fight for their rights, but the FAA’s ultimate goal for its airspace is the safety of everybody involved – in the air or on the ground.
  5. Use some good ol’ common sense folks.  Don’t be stupid about this.  We’re privileged to be part of a new group of enthusiasts that may very well affect the way the FAA leans when it comes to that 9/30/2015 deadline for integration of UAV in the NAS.  If we’re stupid about it now, guess what’s gonna happen when it comes time to develop new/updated regulations.
  6. Be safe.

This post was initially going to be a rant about a confrontation I had with an individual this evening who wanted to make me aware of all the regulations that prompted his company to “ground” their drone and that I shouldn’t be flying if they can’t.  I was initially ticked off, but after careful thought, I decided to go this route to help promote awareness for common sense when it comes to this extremely touchy subject.  I began to realize that I’m just as guilty of not following these tidbits of advice at one point or another so I want to make sure that I ultimately keep myself in check, too.

All I wanted to do was take some pictures of my elementary school…


My elementary school, which is no longer a public elementary school. This one’s for all those who attended Bridgewater Elementary School when it was located in “downtown” Bridgewater.