3 things to ask before you hire a drone pilot by Mark Westin

United States federal law permits a person 13 years of age or older to register a small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS), commonly known as a drone.  But just because anyone can fly a drone doesn't mean they know how to do it safely and legally.

The quality of a drone pilot's video is important, but it's equally important that the pilot is responsible, qualified, and compliant with applicable laws and regulations.  Otherwise, you may put your project, your business, or yourself at risk. 
Here are 3 basic questions you should ask any drone pilot you’re thinking of hiring:

1.  Do you hold a valid FAA Remote Pilot certification?

The Federal Aviation Administration requires certification for commercial sUAS operators in the United States.  To receive the certification, the pilot must pass an aeronautical knowledge test on subjects including:

  • Airspace classifications and flight restrictions

  • Aviation weather effects

  • Aircraft maintenance and performance

  • Airport communications and operations protocols

  • Aeronautical decision-making and emergency procedures

The certification is valid for 2 years and pilots must pass a recurrent knowledge test in order to renew it.  Flying a drone looks like fun, but it requires a high degree of technical knowledge and skill.  Make sure the drone pilot you hire is certified. Dronemark holds valid FAA Part 107 certification.

2. Are your drones registered and marked?

All aircraft, including sUAS, are required to register with the FAA.  The drone is then issued a certificate and a unique registration number which must be displayed legibly on the drone. Failure to comply with FAA requirements can result in civil or criminal penalties. Dronemark drones are registered and properly marked.

3. Are you insured for my specific project?

The FAA does not require sUAS to be insured, but many pilots do insure their drones.  However, just because the drone itself is insured, there is no guarantee that the pilot is covered for damage to property or injury to persons that may occur during your project's shoot.  Make sure the pilot you hire carries sufficient liability insurance for your specific shoot dates and locations.  Dronemark is fully insured and can secure additional liability insurance up to $10 million upon request for specific projects.

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