Newbie here so be gentle!

Discussion in 'ALTA' started by Lindsay McSwain, Dec 26, 2015.

  1. Lindsay McSwain

    Lindsay McSwain New Member

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    I looked around for RULING from FAA and threads here about the new regulations. I am a Real Estate Agent and Photographer which I am looking into areial footage and virtual tours of listings in my area. Long story short what are the Rules of flying commercial. I know they have to be registered now but if what I am reading is correct you have to have a pilots license now or soon to operate. I don't want to spend this money and have to jump hoops every time I have a project. I read something on 120 days prior to flight. I just need the basics answered so I can make an informed decision to invest in the Alta or just stay grounded. I have looked at the FAA website and its a little all over the place and not very clear to me. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Welcome to the forum, Lindsay.
    Your best bet is to use a Google search of the form:
    site:faa.gov sUAS​
    or​
    site:faa.gov unmanned​

    The "site:faa.gov" limits the search to faa.gov.

    You will find all the information you need, and straight from the horse's mouth.

    The short answer is yes: you need to get a Section 333 Exemption from certain Federal Aviation Regulations and yes, you need a current pilot's license, class III medical, and Certificates of Authorization to fly.

    Also search for: Douglas Trudeau
    He was the first realtor to get a Section 333 Exemption although at the time he did not have a pilot's license.


    Andy.
     
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  3. Lindsay McSwain

    Lindsay McSwain New Member

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    Thank you Andy! Very helpful information. Hope to be flying sometime next year now.
     
  4. Adam Orens

    Adam Orens Member

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    It has been a tough haul with the FAA rules. :oops: Here is the down low based on our experiences.

    Got our FAA 333 exemption. Not too hard but a lot of research on the paperwork and process.

    Finding insurance that is reasonable around the $2000 per year was a chore. They will insure around the Million mark but most productions require 5 Million. So we bill for the additional which is around 2 to 4 hundred. Production companies don't like this but need to understand that we must pass the costs on.

    Registration for an N number can be a bear and is done like a real aircraft. On our ALTA, we are on our 3rd month of back and forth for requested information. No answers on the phone and its something different each time. Pissing me off. :mad:


    On most of our shoots, it difficult to get the production companies to understand we need time to get COA's to fly closer than 5 miles to an airport with a control tower and a published approach. It seems that their idea of clear airspace is looking up in the air and not seeing an airplanes is not a proper way to say its OK.

    We have lost a good majority of our jobs because of the FAA airspace rules even though a hobby flier can go higher and closer to an airport than us. Just no sense in the current rules. o_O


    Im getting irritated spending all this money and loosing sooooo much business trying to be the guy following all the rules. It just doesn't pay as I expected and Productions wince when we tell them the costs involved.

    The film office, state, and county is a pain the ass and wants to over due their job to the point that we cant meet the shoot schedule.

    Fly by night Producers and DP's want to fly too heavy of a camera and think they understand our rigs better than us and then get irritated when we say we cant use the configurations they request. You raise the price because of all the new gear your having to get for their shoot and they freak out.

    Its been tough......... a bit..... and my wife is mad at me too. :( We are hanging in there and I am getting cynical and abrupt with these guys. It actually seems to be working when you tell them that if they don't keep you in the loop, you will walk. We have resorted to demanding a contract before we will even check locations.
     
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  5. Lindsay McSwain

    Lindsay McSwain New Member

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    So I have been on the phone with a flight school in Cali (figured since I'm in SC and no one flies these rigs due to cost and low production interest) I was told that this flight school has had an abundance of "Sport Pilot" students to fly a multi rotor. This really makes no sense that I have to personally invest 4k+ to learn to fly a airplane when I want to fly a multi rotor. I have a little time under my belt flying planes but financially I can't shell out the money or the time to get it done. Takes around a month to complete the course if you do it daily.

    So you got your FAA 333 exemption and everything so do you have a pilots license or use a PIC? That is where each pilot I've spoken to says that up for interpretation if the operator has to have a license or just need a Pilot In Charge there. I understand commercially they want to make money if you are.... Like you said hobby flier can do what they want and 99% of the time if not 100% of the time they are the ones creating the issues for the law abiding citizens.


    If you have any tips or suggestions to help me get through all this without having to go to flight school that would be great. I wouldn't mind doing ground school but paying for plane and gas is ridiculous to fly a multi rotor.

    Thanks again!
     
  6. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Lindsay it you were to get a 333 exemption (cost to have a firm that specializes in the application paperwork is running about $5K) the it is very clear, nothing ambiguous about the requirement that the PIC requires a regular FAA pilot license. Those that would tell you differently are the folks that are ill informed and flat wrong. And yet there are many, if not the majority, of 333 exemption holders that do not fly legally as they don't have a licensed pilot as the PIC. The FAA is already wise to this and woe to the company/operator/pilot that runs afoul with a complaint/incident/accident.

    Best suggestion for you might be to hire a licensed 333 flight operator. Ask to see the pilots FAA license before you contract with them. No license, no contract. Should something happen while they are operating 'illegally' the property owner/insurance company would likely include you in any damage claim along with the 333 holder.

    Each day brings new twists and turns to this process.
     
  7. Lindsay McSwain

    Lindsay McSwain New Member

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    Gary thanks for the reply. I am looking to purchase an Alta and become possibly the only LEGAL operator of this multi rotor. There are a couple agents currently flying illegally on phantom platforms which I flew hobby for a while. I don't know that it would be financially feasible to hire anyone for a ariel video or photos of a listing. I do understand the insurance requirements but I guess I would imagine they would do a ground school alone so we aren't paying plane rental and instructor.

    If you hire a PIC do they have to operate the multi rotor or is it like flying where you take the yoke and fly?
     
  8. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Lindsay:
    Here's an extract from one of the several thousand Section 333 Exemption Grants:

    15. The PIC must possess at least a private pilot certificate and at least a third-class airman​
    medical certificate. The PIC must also meet the flight review requirements specified in​
    14 CFR § 61.56 in an aircraft in which the PIC is rated on his or her pilot certificate.​

    16. The operator may not permit any PIC to operate unless the PIC meets the operator’s​
    qualification criteria, completes the operator’s UAS training, and demonstrates the ability​
    to safely operate the UAS in a manner consistent with how the UAS will be operated​
    under this exemption, including evasive and emergency maneuvers and maintaining​
    appropriate distances from persons, vessels, vehicles and structures. The UAS may not​
    be operated by any other person who does not meet the requirements above. The VO is​
    also required to complete the operator’s training requirements. A record of training must​
    be documented and made available upon request by the Administrator. Flights for the​
    purposes of training the operator’s PICs and VOs (training, proficiency, and experience building),​
    are permitted under the terms of this exemption. However, training operations​

    may only be conducted during dedicated training sessions.​

    You can find all of the applications and exemptions at regulations.gov if you search for exactly this:

    FAA unmanned "section 333" petition exemption​

    You can even narrow it further if you add the word: ALTA to the search term.

    The bottom line is that the pilot flying needs to have current pilot's license -- and that means that they have to have maintained their flight proficiency per 14 CFR § 61.56 in an aircraft in which the PIC is rated on his or her pilot certificate.

    And you can find the details of that particular section of the US Code if you do a Google search for: 14 CFR 61.56
    CFR means Code of Federal Regulations. Here's the link: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/61.56

    Hope that helps
    Andy.
     
  9. Lindsay McSwain

    Lindsay McSwain New Member

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    A lot. Thanks again Andy.
     
  10. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    I forgot to add:
    PIC : Pilot in command.
    UAS: Unmanned Airborne System (includes the ground station).
    VO: Visual Observer (also required to be next to you during flight operations).

    You might want to search for some of the more recent Section 333 Grants (or perhaps forum members can check theirs) - it *might* be that some exemption grants only require the PIC be on site and not actually at the controls. If that's the case, you could fly the ALTA, you could hire someone with a pilot's license to be your Visual Observer. The pilot's license can be for a glider, a sports pilot, or even a lighter-than-air aircraft (e.g. hot air balloon).

    Andy.
     
  11. Lindsay McSwain

    Lindsay McSwain New Member

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    a lot to figure out. Again just want to make an informed decision before making a purchase. Trying to be one of if not the only real estate agent offering this service along with other projects I want to work on. I've even have been looking into fly line cable systems but very limited for my needs.
     
  12. Jose Luis Ocejo

    Jose Luis Ocejo Active Member

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    Andy is the requirement to be in compliance with the FAA for legaly fly commercial drones can it be also a "pilots license" for a glider, a sports pilot, or even a lighter-than-air aircraft (e.g. hot air balloon).
    or it has to be the full Private Pilot license
     
  13. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Jose it can be any of the types that you listed.
     
  14. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    As Gary says, you simply need a pilots' certificate to comply with the statutory requirement to fly an aircraft in the NAS. Hot air balloon, glider, light sport aircraft, or commercial pilot's license -- but it has to be a current license (that means you have to keep it current by doing a specific number of takeoffs and landings every 90 days), and you need a Class III airman's medical certificate or better.

    Andy
     
  15. Mike Rau

    Mike Rau New Member

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    Andy. Just a heads up on one part of the requirements to operate a sUAS under a 333 Exemption. You can hold either a Class 3 medical (or higher) OR a valid US Drivers license. Medically, they are really only interested in the vision being strong enough to maintain LOS with the UAS. That was probably changed when they added the Sport Pilot license to the list. Below is a cut/paste from a granted exemption that has the standard language:


    13. Under this grant of exemption, a PIC must hold either an airline transport, commercial, private, recreational, or sport pilot certificate. The PIC must also hold a current FAA airman medical certificate or a valid U.S. driver’s license issued by a state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, a territory, a possession, or the Federal government.....
     
  16. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Thanks for pointing that out, Mike!
    Andy.
     
  17. Mike Rau

    Mike Rau New Member

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    No problem Andy. I wrote my own request some time back and I definitely don't have the all language memorized, but that one stands out for whatever reason. Now where did I put my car keys.... :)
     
  18. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Check the refrigerator, Mike.
    Andy
     

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