- Weather. Drones are fair-weather aircraft. Generally the things that may cause rescheduling a flight are wind gusts gusts that are too strong, rain, snow or mist, visibility of less than 3 statute miles, clouds less than 600-1,000 ft above the ground, ambient temperature greater than 100F and ambient temperature less than 32F. The limitations are part regulatory and part my own limitations to ensure a safe flight.
- Airspace limitations. Some airspace is prohibited and under most circumstances, I cannot easily get a waiver. Some airspace is controlled and I can generally get approval to fly there almost on the spot. Some airspace is temporarily prohibited at certain times such as near major sporting events or around visiting VIPs (or even near Chinese balloons being shot down!).
- Prohibited sites. Some sites are considered critical infrastructure and without special permission need to be avoided. These include dams, cell towers, and things like prisons and federal buildings. Common sense also says that I will avoid flying, without good reason, over, or hover around any things that some might think are sensitive.
- Flight over people. Drones are not currently permitted, except some specific circumstances, to fly over exposed people, or people in moving vehicles. In my work I will endeavor to avoid flying over people.
- Local regulations. Some localities and areas (such as state and federal parks) prohibit taking off or landing in certain areas. Since the FAA controls anything in the air, they can’t prohibit flying over any areas (except as regulated by the FAA.) Again, common sense dictates that I will avoid flying where someone doesn’t want it.
- Line of sight. Drone pilots must remain within line of sight of the drone so that limits operations to about 1,500 feet.
- Other stuff. Regulations in this business are rapidly changing and many of these limitations may get more strict or more relaxed.
I’ve done many hundreds of drone flights, along with hundreds of hours of flying private aircraft including instrument (bad weather) flight. Combined with flying experience, I have training and significant experience in photography, videography, 3D modeling, and mapping. I’m skilled in photo editing and video editing. I have systematically developed the skills and tools to deliver quality aerial photos and video. You will be delivered great products that you need, or you won’t pay for it.
Yes. I carry $1 million in liability insurance. If your business requires that you be an additional or named insured, that can be arranged. If you require more insurance that can also be arranged. If these are needed there may be an additional fee to cover that cost.
Yes. While there are additional considerations and requirements, I love to do night flying and night imaging. Twilight and night flights can be conducted and can produce amazing images with the modern camera sensors that I use.
In general, no. Due to the nature of aerial imaging work, there are many circumstances outside my control that can delay or prevent some, or all, of this work. These circumstances include weather, equipment malfunctions, FAA issued flight restrictions, air traffic, local regulations, interference of bystanders, and other safety considerations.
That, said, I’ll work with you to do whatever we can to get the work done in your timeline, within the bounds of safety and legality.
You certainly can, however, if this work is going to be used for the benefit of any business, or even a non-profit organization, the FAA requires that the drone pilot be Part 107 certified. You can learn more about these rules here. The FAA has fined drone pilots, and importantly, those business that use them, for violating these rules. The businesses have typically been fined 10X what the pilots have been fined, up to ~$11,000 per flight. (A typical drone job will require several or many flights raising the financial risk.)
Additionally, Middle Tennessee Aerial Imaging maintains a $1 million liability policy for any drone related incidents.
In some cases, particularly where there is significant up front work or travel I may have a minimal non-refundable fee or deposit. Any up front fee or non-refundable fee will be made clear before we start.
In general, the legal limit for flying drones in most places in the U.S. is 400 ft. above the ground. This is quite sufficient for most purposes. In some cases, that limit may be lower due to FAA limitations such as near airports. In such cases, I have developed techniques to get images of large areas even while staying below 100 ft.
For some photo missions, this limit can be much higher, specifically when being within 400 feet of a structure, I can operate up to 400 ft above that structure. This allows photography and inspection of tall buildings and things like towers.
In most cases, yes. The FAA requires that, near certain airports and other airspace, advance approval from the controlling facility be obtained. I can do this in most cases on the spot, although in some cases more time may be needed. By knowing your location, I can determine what timing will be required.
Drone manufacturers also impose their own GPS-based limitations on where their drones can fly. These locations aren’t generally more strict than FAA regulations, likely trying to protect themselves from liability concerns. I can obtain waivers to these restrictions as well, usually on the spot although I generally do this in advance to simplify things on flight day.
I take care of all these considerations for you, as well as weather, and local regulatory concerns, so you don’t have to, but I’ll keep you informed of any limitations these things might impose on getting your images.
Check out our Contacts Page and call, email, or schedule a discussion, and I’ll be happy to get you an answer.
Yes. I have a standard contract in order to protect myself and you, the client, but more importantly so that we both can understand what our agreement is for the work you need. I can work with you or your legal team to modify the contract if needed.