Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Drone?
A: Drone is a nickname given to any aircraft in the category of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), or Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) weighing less than 55 lbs. Drones are now also used in a wide range of civilian roles ranging from search and rescue, surveillance, traffic monitoring, weather monitoring and firefighting to personal drones and business drone-based photography, as well as videography, agriculture and even delivery services. The cost to operate the units is much less than an airplane or helicopter and therefore we can offer images and video at a lower cost. It also saves on resources such as fuel and aircraft maintenance and even reduces emissions since UAS devices run off batteries.
Q: Is it illegal to operate drones commercially?
A: It is only illegal to operate commercially if you do not have the proper licensing . All of our UAS operators are licensed pilots and have an FAA Part 107 UAS Airman Certificate. On August 29, 2016, the new FAA regulations (part 107) went into effect. Anyone operating drones commercially is required to have the proper certifications and regulatory requirements in place. Got to the bottom of this list for more information.
Q: What is considered commercial drone operation?
A: The FAA considers anything tied to income as commercial operation. This includes a realtor using drone footage for a listing. Even if the realtor is not directly getting paid for the flight, the ultimate purpose is to earn income through the sale of the home. Basically if you are flying for any purpose other than hobby or recreation, it is commercial use and you need a license and are expected to comply with commercial regulations.
Q: How high can you fly?
A: The FAA guidelines state that UAS devices can fly no higher than 400 feet AGL (Above Ground Level) without a Certificate of Waiver from the FAA.
Q: Can you fly at night?
A: No, but it can be approved under part 107. Night flying presents a number of dangers. The regulations state that UAS devices can only fly between sunrise and sunset unless an exemption is granted from this rule by the FAA.
Q: Can you fly near airports?
A: It depends on the airport. Some require approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and/or the local Air Traffic Control tower (ATC) and some do not. Contact us with the address of your project and we can find out for you.
Q: How long can you fly?
A: With our Drones we can operate for 20-25 minutes on a single battery depending on the aircraft we use, the wind speed, air temperature, aircraft load, and other conditions. Each of our units have multiple batteries in order to extend flight time with additional 20-25 minute flights. We also have the ability to charge batteries on location so we can fly uninterrupted for an entire day if needed.
Q: Can you fly over crowds of people?
A: The FAA guidelines state that you cannot fly a UAS over anyone not involved in the flight operation (i.e. the remote pilot and visual observer). This includes flying at stadiums, sporting events, wildfires, or over crowds of people, including first responders at the scene of an incident. These restrictions can be exempted on a per-flight basis but requires a valid reason.
Q: Can you fly indoors?
A: Yes, it is possible with the new obstacle avoidance technology now present in the latest drones.
Q: What kind of video and image processing do you offer?
A: Geographic Drone is owned by an experienced professional pilot and partnered with the best video producer that Palo Pinto County has to offer. All still images and video captured from our drones can be professionally edited or delivered in Raw format. We have the ability to add attractive title pages for agents and sellers, video stabilization to smooth out bumps in flight, background audio tracks, and moving text (callouts) to our videos.
Q: Where can I train for the Part 107 test?
A: I recommend the Mineral Wells Unmanned Systems Academy in Mineral Wells Texas Watch our interview with them here.
Q: Where do I go to take the Part 107 test?
A: Any FAA Approved testing center is valid to take the test. Click here for list of sites near you.
For anyone wishing to operate a Drone to make money, the following chart will be helpful. Nothing on this page should be taken as legal advice, and should be verified with the appropriate regulatory agency.
Part 107 Regulations and how they apply to operators
- You must have a certified aircraft
- You must have a registered Aircraft
- Drone (UAS) operators must maintain a UAS in condition for safe operation in the NAS and must inspect before each flight.
- You must register your UAS with the FAA to be in compliance. This applies to both commercial operators and hobbyists.
- You must hold a UAS Airman Certificate after passing an aeronautical knowledge test and TSA background check.
- You must operate according to the Part 107 regulations for UAS operators (max airspeed, max altitude, airspace restrictions, etc.) and you must know when approval from FAA/ATC is necessary.