Are Drones Legal In Florida?
Are you looking for a Gainesville based drone operator but don’t know where to start? Have you been getting aerials from a drone operator who only accepts cash and gives you terrible quality imagery? Are you looking for a legitimate company that is actually based out of Florida that gives you safe, legal, and
professional quality footage?
We’re here to help clear up some of the misinformation that is out there regarding the red tape of the open skies.
The applications for aerial videography, videography, and data gathering is growing tremendously and will be a multi-billion dollar industry by the end of 2017. UASs can get to heights that were seemingly unreachable in the past.
The Risk of Illegitimate Operators
Many of the aerial service providers you may find online are running illegitimately, and without care for the law or safety. We did a survey of the aerial footage market in Gainesville, FL and found that 12/16 providers that were listed at the time of writing this article were operating under the radar. With this day and age kids are getting a Phantom 3 Standard for Christmas and instantly try to make some spending cash on the side by doing real estate aerial photography or a quick video here and there. What they don’t understand is that they’re severely jeopardizing the image of the industry in the eyes of the public by flying recklessly and without any precautions or insurance.
The air is a busy place and is carved up into different partitions which are used for different purposes.
To ensure that you’re getting quality work please ask this of your drone service provider:
- Are they licensed by the FAA to fly UASs commercially?
- Can they show you proof of insurance?
- Do they carry a logbook of flights for their aerial drone?
- Do they do a preflight check before every flight?
- Do they flout FAA rules such as the heigh rules or visual line of sight rules?
- Do they only accept cash?
- How long have they been in business?
If you are looking for a Safe, Legal, and Professional Gainesville, FL based drone operator that works anywhere in the contiguous United States, Call us today!.
We are insured for over $1million for each flight, fly under a part 107 certificate form the FAA, and have all the necessary waivers to fly in areas where they are required.
The FAA is Overworked, Underpaid, and Seriously Slacking. Yes, the FAA is America.
On March 7, the FAA released a document which tasked its Drone Advisory Committee (DAC), a long-term advisory board comprised of drone and tech industry leaders, with providing recommendations on how to fund the integration of drones into the National Airspace System (NAS).
Harmless, right? ― but the FAA then said that if additional funding isn’t found the progress of the drone industry will be greatly impacted. We all know this will detrimentally effect everyone who flies drones.
How the FAA gets money
The FAA primarily receives funding from the Aviation Trust Fund (for now). These taxes come from minuscule taxes that are put on international arrivals and departures from major ports, airline tickets, and fuel that is pumped into airplanes. In 2016, these taxes made up a whopping 87.8% of the FAA’s funding.
Note here that the FAA does a lot more than drones – so at the end of the day the drone program get’s only a minuscule percentage of this funding.
“The requirement to meet UAS needs is outpacing the Agency’s resources. Without additional funds, the FAA will not be able to keep pace with the dramatic growth in public, industry, and business demands for UAS operations,” the FAA said in the document.
Can’t keep up with demand
Due to this lack of funding and personally we’re seeing very slow trickle of progress on waivers, new regulation, and general industry progress. When Part 107 went into effect in August 2016, the aerial industry celebrated the FAA’s progress. Obviously, the FAA was struggling to keep up with the increased workload without an increase in personnel or resources.
Within a month after Part 107 certifications and waivers , waiver requests “had already overwhelmed our traditional systems and manual processes”
Did we really expect this problem to solve itself? The FAA has again and again talked about the large number of pilots who have passed the Part 107 Knowledge Test, but as we now know the time it takes to get a waiver approved after getting a 107 certificate is very high. This is proven by the most recent waiver issuance on the FAA’s public database: January 23.
Obviously more personnel is required — but this isn’t going to happen, considering the fact that Trump has issued an executive order that indefinitely freezes all federal hiring.
The FAA’s public admittance of its current struggle reveals what many have suspected for a long time. It’s apparent that the Administration simply can’t keep up with the aerial industry.
Making YOU pay?
The FAA has talked about multiple different ways that they can cover their costs that are associated with regulating an entire drone industry, but as we’ve seen customers and pilots have been apprehensive about paying a $5 drone registration fee, so is higher fees to the end user really the answer?.
Funding the FAA’s complex drone division to the extent needed while keeping the industry alive and well is going to be very difficult to get right. Charging a 10% tax ontop of your new DJI Phantom 4 Pro isn’t really going to break the bank for you — but if every new drone buyer pays that 10% tax, will that be enough to solve their financial issues? If the tax is raised to 20%, would the industry suffer because of it?
These are the issues that the DAC will have to tackle in the coming months. The FAA Task Group will consider the DAC’s recommendations and make it’s decisions no later than March 2018. We’ll be here waiting.
As an aerial photographer I’m used to looking at the world from above, and getting the views that used to be so seldom seen. I used to fly RC aircraft long before the days when you could buy an off-the-shelf DJI quadcopter and take “aerial photography”. My work in the aerial field has got me thinking about drones in construction and architecture, which is also something I have a passion for. Something that I’ve perfected over the last few years and that ties in perfectly with my work has been the art of 3D Orthomosaic mapping, which allows us to see the building or subject from any angle in its context, and generate fly-bys and visualize that which doesn’t exist yet.. I have spent countless hours building 3D maps, zooming around, not restrained by gravity or objects, and then using the same model to plug into clients systems to drop in 3D designs that they were planning, to visualize how it would look..
Since the first moment that I took the sky I’ve been amazed, excited and overwhelmed by the possibilities that a high vantage point created, especially for the construction and architectural professions. I realized what I have been missing out on; the freedom and ability to view the clients projects from any angle with beautiful sweeping views. This is finally possible and does not require manned aircraft to spend countless (expensive) hours flying.
My research for Veuwr and Veuwr Aerials whilst writing this piece has revealed that there are many more possible applications for drones in construction and architecture than I first realized. I discovered that every stage of a construction or architectural project could benefit from UAS drone technology.
The drones that I fly go by many names; drone, quad copter, UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), UAS (unpiloted air system), and even multirotor aircraft. Experienced UAS pilots often have debates about what their drones should be called. I prefer to call my flying tools a UAS, although I often use “drone” because most people understand this term best. Sadly I believe that the term drone has a negative connotation to it in the minds of most people as they seem to connect the word with military drone such as the Predator and not the remote controlled harmless device that it is.
Let’s say for example that your firm is building a high-rise with amazing views of the city. Aerial photography for the construction industry can capture those exact views from any height and in any direction, while capturing the surrounding views from a high vantage point. Aerial high-resolution photos taken from an unmanned aircraft can be used for an extremely detailed site plan. At Veuwr Aerials we use photo-mapping software like Pix4D or Dronedeploy, which can create accurate 3D models of your construction site with the adjacent buildings and surroundings in the image. This aerial 3D model to extract contour maps, survey-grade orthomosaics site plans or an accurate 3D model which can then be imported into your preferred modeling software. This aerial 3D model can then be used as a base for your concept models, renderings, 3D printing along with countless other uses.
As the construction of your construction project begins capturing aerial progress photos and videos is easy, quick and inexpensive. The days have long passed for cameras mounted on manned aircraft – now unmanned UAS or drone such as the DJI Phantom 4 Pro or DJI Inspire 2 (both of which Veuwr Aerials flies) can be used to take off from a safe location, capture the images need to complete a 3D map, along with any other imagery that is required for the project, and come back and land within a matter of minutes. Our aircraft are also relatively quite and are extremely reliable and are therefore qualified to fly in an active construction site without interrupting any work. Unlike manned aircraft, UASs can capture videos along with photos from any height, angle, in much greater detail without spending the time and money that a manned aircraft would cost to fly. Our aerial systems are also easy to deploy and do not need a large team of people to fly.
COMPLETION + MARKETING
Once your project is finished, the imagery that you get from Veuwr Aerials can be used to highlight the features of the building or area that is being built up. Aerial photos of the site can explain how your design fits within the larger context. Aerial images from different elevated angles can help explain the form and design and show progress that takes place with every day and month that comes along. Aerial photos can also highlight sustainable features such as skylights, PV arrays and green roofs.
Aerial videos of construction can showcase the constructions size, shape, material, circulation and give a view of the building that simply couldn’t be gotten from the ground
It is clear that drones in construction and the supporting industries will only assist and not hinder progress. What remains to be seen however is how long it takes for the industries to catch up with the technologies and implement them in their workflow.
Have a project that requires an aerial touch? Contact Veuwr Aerials today to get a custom quote for your project. We’re inexpensive, reliable, professional, and most importantly 100% legal.
One of our premier partners contacted us a few days ago regarding a new job that had come up in Lake Park, Georgia – right on the border with Florida. The job was for a paving contractor that was about to put in new pavement for a large distribution center for a popular home department store. Typically in a situation like this they’d send out a surveyor to survey the entire asphalt pavement by taking pictures at designated spots throughout the parking lot, but in this case it would have taken days to survey all of the area! The paving contractor needed to submit their quote within a matter of days and couldn’t wait to get a team out there.
The paved area for this location was massive – the parking lot itself had parking for 2000 cars and the warehouse stretched over half a mile from end to the other. The paving contractor originally calculated the survey costs to be extremely high and immediately started looking for other options. Not long after this they found our aerial service partner who then referred the job to us.
The day of the scheduled flight I woke up early and double checked to ensure that no TFRs (Temporary Flight Restrictions) had been placed on the area as Trump was visiting the area. Once we had the legal all-clear to fly we double checked all of the batteries for our 3D Mapping Drone, the new DJI Phantom 4 Pro. All 6 batteries were fully charged and it was time to fly!
A short drive later we were on location and had met the on-site contact and obtained their go-ahead to fly in the area. They radioed their staff managers on site and informed them to expect a flying object and to have their truck drivers drive slowly and carefully to avoid a crash. After this we logged into our insurance partner, Verifly and obtained $1 million in liability insurance to cover our client and us in the unlikely scenario where there was a malfunction and our aerial drone crashed into any of the clients property.
The weather was a gusty 6 miles an hour from the North East, but that didn’t stop us. We were good to fly from every aspect and had just completed a safety inspection of our Phantom 4 Pro. Once our safety checklist was complete we completed the flight plan in our 3D mapping software, Drone Deploy and pressed fly. After this the Phantom 4 Pro took off on it’s own, flew through it’s waypoints and took the pictures that the software that was required to make a 3D orthomosaic map.
While the drone flew itself I monitored the drone from a high vantage point to make sure it didn’t come close to any objects or birds in the air, while my spotter kept an eye on the software to ensure nothing glitched and made sure all the images were being correctly captured.
Once the orthomosaic map imagery was all captured we swapped batteries and had the site manager take us around the entire warehouse pavement in a go-kart. We were following the drone and manually capturing 360 degree panoramas from 17 feet in the sky which would be used by the client to simulate a man inspecting and taking pictures of the asphalt pavement of the area. At the end of the day we had captured point-of-view 360 degree panoramas from 163 locations where the pavement had been cracked and damaged and needed to be resurfaced, as well as 70 acres of 3D orthomosaic mapping.
All in all we spent around 3 hours taking footage on location and created 38 gb of pictures. This is a LOT of imagery which then had to be compiled and sent to the client so that they could then create their quote for new pavement to be put in to replace the cracked and damaged areas. We estimate that we saved the paving contractor over $5,000 in pre-contract costs and gave them the aerial photographs and orthomosaic map which they then used to qoute the client in a manner that was more accurate, safe, and cheaper than it would have been without this technology.
Isn’t this amazing?