Aaron Yates is an FAA certificated unmanned aircraft systems pilot, meaning we are one of the only firms legally allowed to provide commercial aerial services in the hill country area. When comparing our services with others, be sure to find out if they have an FAA license/certificate, or a Section 333 exemption, and make sure they are following the rules of the air. Using a non-certificated drone operator for commercial services could incur a fine of up to $10,000 for the end user (you) and $10,000 for the unauthorized drone pilot, so the fines are serious business!
We are also one of the only aerial companies that carries liability insurance. We always take great care to ensure safety, but accidents can happen in this business. We carry $1,000,000 of liability insurance in case an accident does happen.
Location, Location, Location
The first thing we need to know when planning aerial operations is the EXACT location of the property. We must compare the property to the FAA sectional charts to determine if we will be near or inside restricted airspace. Even though an airport may not be nearby, these restricted airspaces sometimes extend for 10-12 miles from the airport in all directions, so it’s not always straightforward about whether we can fly legally. If we do need an FAA clearance to operate, that can take up to 90 days to receive at this point, but as the system matures, it should start to get faster.
The bottom line is this… When you book your aerial services, please provide us an EXACT location, and we can tell you if there are any problems with the flight plan.
New Flight Rules
The FAA has implemented rules of operations for all commercial drone pilots. We must abide by these rules or risk having our certificate suspended or revoked. No, we will NOT break any of these rules, even if the chance of getting caught is very low.
- Under 400 feet AGL – We must keep the drone under 400 feet above the ground. We cannot fly any higher than that unless we’re right next to a structure of some kind, like a building or a tower.
- No flying over people – This rule is absolute, according to the FAA. Absolutely no one will be allowed to be under the flight zone unless they’re inside a closed and stationary vehicle, or under sufficient cover, such as a roofed awning or something similar.
- Line of sight is required – I must be able to see the drone with my naked eyes at all times. We cannot fly it if we cannot see it. This is an FAA rule.
There are quite a few other rules, but these are the most important, as these are what we’re asked to break most often. If you have any questions about these rules, don’t hesitate to contact me!