The drone market is going to be rapidly changing this year, and for many reasons. When the new proposed FAA rules become law, the entire barrier that exists for entry to pilots will change drastically, and not be as tough. Many of the provisions will mandate issues such as daylight-only operation, visibility issues, an altitude of approximately 500 feet, and how close you fly to those who are not involved in your work party. You can get a close look at the proposed laws here, and see just what will be changing.
Europe, China, and the US are the fastest growing sectors of the drone market, with 4.3MM units being shipped out in 2015 E. You can see a graph depicting this explosive growth here on Emberify’s Blog. DJI, Parrot and 3D Robotics are the 3 main players in the market, manufacturing drones that are quality enough to get the high-def images and video needed for the modern business owner. From March 2014 to February 2015, sales in drones have tripled, as many at all levels of the consumer and upper-end business spectrum become gravely interested.
Choosing a Drone Pilot
Just as you would any serious choice in your fiscal life, it’s really best to weigh the options when selecting a drone pilot. Think about it: in real estate, you may be able to have multiple opportunities to get the shot right, and may not be under pressure. Or, you may have the opposite scenario: a deadline looming that requires you get high-quality aerial footage on the double. If you are working on a rig, pipeline, or important construction project, you are absolutely going to want an individual piloting your equipment that is keen on handling the drone, the photographic and video capabilities on board, and one who is an expert on changing weather conditions.
At Dronemeisters, there is a proven portal that links you to some of the best pilots in the world, and they stand solidly behind each individual they list. From the knowledge it takes about distance regarding airports to other types of airspace, there are plenty of regulations that the pilot needs to be up on. One attribute of an expert drone pilot is that they also have to have knowledge of any emergency response effort in the area, as this happens to be restricted space. Cities have their own unique rules as well; for example: in Pittsburgh PA, you cannot pilot a drone over a city park.
No matter what happens on a national level, New York City is considering legislation that would require the owners of drones to register their drones with the Department of Transportation, and perhaps even purchase insurance. If an exemption is needed, they should be filed 120 days before you plan on filming, just one of the other important elements of being a trusted drone pilot. Precision agriculture is one of the areas where you will want to also find the best pilot available; issues such as climate change and the multiple threats from pests can be looked at with great scrutiny, and without using as much manpower as in years past.
The application of fertilizers and other chemicals can be done with a quite substantial decrease in input costs using drones, and as far as surveying goes, the possibilities are nearly endless. Yes, in the years to come there will still be some expert-grade surveys done from the ground with trusted professionals and land gauging equipment. But the advantages you get from overhead are seemingly endless: the visual alone that you get of the space and its intended use is way more practical than from the ground.
In the film and television production arena, drone use is opening up numerous possibilities that viewers and directors alike are enjoying the visual results of. Remember how iconic the scene was from “Rocky” where he jogs up the courthouse stairs? That was completed with the use of the Steadicam, which at the time was revolutionary. Last year, the city of Los Angeles issued nearly 60 permits for drones on film, and brands such as Tesla and Chrysler have had drones appear in their commercials. What filmmakers really love is that drones can grab incredibly distinctive shots due to being able to go where many manned aircraft are not able to.
The “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” television show had a very low-flying drone shot that they claim would not have been possible with a helicopter, and they were amazed that it only took two hours to set up the shot. At just 10% of the cost of a helicopter, it’s clear that this is the way to go in the movie industry, but there are still some issues that need to be worked through. Three years ago, three crew members perished when a helicopter crashed in action during a reality TV show filming for Discovery Channel, and even though it does not happen often, no director enjoys the weight of sacrificing human life under the guise of a clunky, blade-driven mechanism.
Under the new FAA rules, drones can only be used on sets that are not open at all to the public, and absolutely cannot be operated at night. For any type of commercial drone use, you can always try to learn the ropes yourself, but as a business owner, you will probably want to spend your time with the duties that are going to generate the most revenue, keep you afloat, and acquiring new clients. When you are selecting a professional drone pilot, just keep in mind that they will be piloting a craft with spinning propellers over multiple properties, and they should be piloted by trained experts. These are not like the drones you see kids flying around for fun, and need to be handled by those with a good reputation, and long track record of safety.