Drone Services FAQ’s
Are there any upfront costs for drone services?
No, drone services are paid on an hourly or estimated costs. Payments are made after services are rendered.
Is CloudD8ta insured and licensed?
All CloudD8ta drone pilots are certificated by the FAA as Remote Pilots. Our certificate of insurance is through Transport Risk Management.
What is CloudD8ta’s view on flying over people?
With the release of the FAA part 107 rules in August, many of the regulations have changed. We are licensed under the part 107 rules and under my 333 exemption.
The part 107 rules are very clear on most subjects except with regards to flying over “non-participants”. This is from the FAA fact sheet, “You can’t fly a small UAS over anyone who is not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure, or not inside a covered stationary vehicle”.
What is important to note is that they changed the verbiage from the previous 333 exemptions. In that ruling they required a 500 foot horizontal separation between the drone and the non participant. In part 107 they allow the horizontal separation was not specifically defined.
Prior to each flight it is the intention of CloudD8ta to complete a Plan of Activities. The FAA does recommend the pilot to have a Plan of Activities in hand. The POA is document that clearly states:
- Who is flying the drone
- What drone they are flying
- Where the drone is flying
- When they are flying
- Why the drone is flying
You can think of the POA as a flight plan and we will always have one written up for commercial operations.
To answer the question of what is a reasonable horizontal separation between the drone and non participants, we think we should base that on the altitude we are flying at. If a machine has a systems failure during flight there are a few possibilities to consider but the worst case scenario is where one motor or esc fails and the machine spirals to the ground. Impact will be well below terminal velocity and the machine would not be able to penetrate a 45 degree angle from the point of incidence. I think a reasonable separation is then equal to the flight altitude. So if we want to film from an operating altitude of 100 feet the minimum horizontal separation from non participants should be 100 feet. If you wanted a single number that we should always abide I would recommend 200 feet.
This separation should also take into consideration the weight of the drone. We are flying a DJI Inspire that weighs in at 3 pounds. If CloudD8ta was flying a 55 pound octocopter it would be reasonable to increase the horizontal separation due to the increased risk of the impact force.
The bottom is that flying over people should be avoided at all times and it the remote drone pilots responsibility to insure the safety of people on the ground.
Can you fly drones for my business if we are near an airport?
If your business is located close to an airport the first thing we will do is assess the airspace at your location. If you are outside of Class G airspace we will need to request a waiver. To request a waiver to fly a drone near an airport we will request an airspace authorization from the FAA at www.faa.gov/uas/request_waiver. This process can take up to 6 weeks but our experience has been that waivers can go through in as little as two weeks.
What kind of drones does CloudD8ta fly?
CloudD8ta’s fleet of drones includes DJI Inspires and Parrot Sensefly Ebee. We do have additional aircraft in our stable but those two drones are used for 90% of our work.
What happens if there is a technical malfunction?
Our aircraft are maintained to the highest possible level following the manufacturers recommendations. In the event of a malfunction we will ground the drone in question and rely on our backup drone to complete the mission. We will never under any circumstances fly a drone found to be defective or that fails to pass the preflight checklist.
Will CloudD8ta conduct a preflight checklist before sending a drone on any mission?
Remote Pilots are responsible to confirm that the aircraft is in airworthy condition. At CloudD8ta, we keep a Preflight Checklist in the case of all of our aircraft along with copies of insurance, licenses and manuals.
The Preflight Checklist is simple to perform and can be completed in just a few minutes. The remote pilot must identify that all the items on the checklist are completed to insure a safe flight.
CONDUCT THIS CHECKLIST PRIOR TO EACH FLIGHT
1. UAS MAINTENANCE RECORD – CONFIRMED
2. OPERATOR REVIEW FORM – COMPLETE
3. OBSTACLES – IDENTIFIED & ALTITUDES CONFIRMED
4. WEATHER – FORECAST VFR, WING < 8.3 M/S 5. SD CARD – LOCKED & INSERTED, CAMERA ON 6. R/C TRANSMITTER – ON (BATTERY > 50%)
7. UAS BATTERY – INSTALLED AND SECURE
8. PROPELLERS – INSTALLED AND ORIENTATION CORRECT
9. LED INDICATOR – GREEN
10. TABLET – ON (BATTERY > 25%)
11. TELEMETRY – CONNECTED (95% MINIMUM)
12. FLIGHT MODE – CORRECT
13. UAS BATTERY – CHARGED (> 95%)
14. MISSION – LOADED
15. WAYPOINTS – VERIFIED (ALT < 120 METERS AGL)
16. MISSION DISTANCE – WITHIN PARAMETERS (< 4 KM)
17. RETURN TO HOME ALTITUDE ADJUSTED FOR OBSTACLES
18. COMPASS CALIBRATED
19. GPS – ACQUIRED (SATELLITES > 10)
20. UAS HOME POSITION ACQUIRED
21. TAKEOFF ZONE – CLEAR/SECURE