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  1. 6 points
    I'd like to respond to Joe3223 re the challenges of running a UAS Business.... .....It was supposed to be the greatest thing since the light bulb. I was going to get slammed with business, it was....."a website". However, strictly speaking only for myself, in my experience I'm finding that no matter how sophisticated your web site or clever your SEO expert is, at the end of the day it cannot make personal contact of any kind, provide true traditional customer service or prospect for new business. Unless one thoroughly understands html codes, web crawling, SEO, directory listings and etc., one will always be held hostage by an I. T. employee, notwithstanding the fact, that unless the service one hires is completely trustworthy, there seems to be no way to vet the info they are submitting re the site analytics and performance....it's all in cyberspace and if it's not working out....there's always some cyber rhetoric as to why. For the record, my site does locally occupy the number one google listing slot. And the web team that works on it has impeccable credentials. According to Google analytics we got a 1000 hits last month (August). But no calls. Not one. We can discuss cosmetics, content, SEO and the like but its becoming abundantly clear to me, that "Old School" prospecting and personal contact is the most formidable way to capture new business. Every client we have landed thus far I have literally gone out to a construction site (on a Sunday), shot aerial footage, put together a report consisting of both video and stills, researched how to contact the upper level management of the construction company and sent said report (via drop box) to any exec that may be connected to the project with follow ups until I get some kind of a response, to include going back to the site to find the project manager and follow up or gain more insight as to how to land this elephant. Now that approach can be dangerous. When I go out on a prospecting Safari if you can bag the elephant you can eat for quite some time but sometimes it can land on you when it falls. As in the case of the prospect responding positively but needing a service I can't provide like 3D imaging or thermal searches. Nothing feels worse then having to retreat locked and loaded, knowing the elephant is right there for your best shot. Yes, the "Old School" way is labor intensive and the research can be tedious but the results have been undeniable (for us). In my humble opinion, web sites are a great advertising vehicle but the car can't drive itself. I had to personally put the wrench work in and drive it to the finish line myself. Being "Old School", business 101 always dictated that businesses succeed by employing principles that have proven successful over the test of time. I haven't seen a web site that can take the place of personal contact, prospecting or servicing. If Joe3223 or anyone out there can share some insight and help me cast off my ignorance re the above, I sure would like to hear from ya....I'd certainly appreciate a better way to work smarter and not harder....
  2. 6 points
    Hi all, just got a written response back from Drone Base, with their permission to publish. See below! -- 1. We completely understand the concerns of the "potential" to get paid on Pano Missions. This is a new business model and we're working with customers up and down the real estate stack (agent/broker, owners, and data services companies). We've had some tremendous success so far in the first month of launch with thousands of Panos being completed with hundreds of distinct pilots getting paid. We're getting very creative in our sales + marketing channels and on the other side of the coin, how and what we're offering. Prices have varied bc it can come down to a quick negotiation of the assets. End of day, we'd rather the pilot get something vs nothing if we stick to a price point and the buyer is unwilling to budge. But then again, I'm also seeing some local pilots on Thumbtack or other drone marketplaces selling full shot lists and editing for $75-100 flat rates. Its definitely a fast moving industry, especially in the real estate vertical. Our pilots on average are taking about 10-15 min of flight time to complete these Pano Missions. No heavy editing required. 2. A lot of our pilots only want Client Missions (the ones that have guaranteed payments). For now, we only notify pilots about Client Missions when they are geo-located close to the property. So a pilot won't see any Client Missions until they get the notification. Trust us, we wish our map was full of client missions vs pano missions. This leads me to #3 below: 3. We recently were invited to our investor DJI Airworks Enterprise event last week, and the overarching theme was a focus on 2017 and if/when the large enterprise customers will finally deploy drones and/or have a need for a national service partner. These large enterprises have assets all over the country/world and can usually be performed on spec (ex. cell towers, etc). It'll be interesting to see if these enterprise customers will deploy because the drones & outputs/analytics must be magnitudes better vs business-as-usual (sending a person in a bucket truck up for inspection or on a roof for an insurance claim). Magnitudes better can mean a number of things from being cheaper, better data, safer, etc. 4. For privacy, the drone actually isn't circling their property or supposed to be even over the property. We understand pilots concerns and get that some may not want to fly. That's totally fine and there are no costs to be on our platform. We have our FAQ and video that explains that you are shooting in front of the property, on public ground. For this particular poster, we've actually had a ton of traction in the LA area. We obviously stay off the forums as much as possible, but we completely know that this is probably one of the biggest concerns. We've talked with DJI about our biz model and they are very excited that someone like us, is building out a platform for pilots. We put a lot of thought into this, and we know we're not privacy experts at the local level. Thats why we try and be as transparent in our FAQ about 1) following FAA guidelines and 2) local laws, etc. We firmly believe in safety as our number one operating principle and there are thousands of pilots that have done both Client and Pano missions who an speak highly of us. 5. Also for privacy, even when pilots do have approval to shoot a property, we've seen issues with peripheral properties being in frame that never provide permission. Its just the nature of photography in general. We're not asking for pilots to fly over peoples homes for Pano Missions. Hence, front of property, and then back off to take the Pano. We also mention the idea of Google Street View. These google cars are taking 360 images of cities + streets. We liken it to this. There is no permission because its not needed. Imagine if a family is walking down the street, pulls out their iphone to take a "kodak moment" picture, but has to ask permission of surrounding business or homes because the are in frame. 6. We also understand there is a large public perception of drones and how a few rogue pilots can ruin it for the industry. We're trying our best to continually update our data and remove panos that have bad addresses. Sometimes, we get pilots emailing us that properties are off market now. Thats fine, but we're also selling off market data to data services companies. We're seeing pilots actually email us with new properties that aren't on our map, so that's been pretty amazing. 7. Having DJI as a 2x investor in us has been amazing and we're pushing for more stuff with them that will trickle down into the pilots on our platform. Again, our platform and business model is continually evolving and thats just the nature of the game in startup land. We're a small and nimble team and we're continually trying to improve both the pilot and customer experience.
  3. 5 points
    Hi everyone, I've created about 900 tracks of music and sound effects that you can freely use in your videos. It's all original...all my own work. All I ask is to be attributed in the video as described on my homepage: http://soundimage.org/ I'm a big fan of drone videos so it's always a treat for me to hear my music in them. Please feel free to share links if you happen to use some of my tracks...I sincerely hope they are helpful! All the best, Eric
  4. 5 points
    We had a mission in downtown Los Angeles and I thought I'd share some stills.
  5. 5 points
    Uploading these really changes the color.
  6. 5 points
    We flew two missions last year in Coastal Trident, a law enforcement exercise to test port security for homeland defense. The first is a bomb on a boat and our ability to detect and pursue. The second was integrating one of our drones into first responders command and control and detecting nuclear material on a large ship. Both missions were successful.
  7. 5 points
    Another untouched resource (and a tax deduction) is to do 2D/3D/short video of churches. You can look up churches in your area and also the state church/conventions/synods/county associations, etc. Send them several samples of your work (screen shots of a 2D/3D, close ups of church roof damage, asphalt parking lots, gutters, etc. and then charge a ridiculous amount ($80-$120) and when you send them the invoice show the going rate of what you normally charge (our case was $485) and then show the cost to them ($120) and take the difference as a donation/benevolence deduction. At 10 churches per county (and depending on where you are you can get 10 - 30 churches per county [sometimes per city]), @ $120 per job, for 80 counties = $96,000. So there is business out and about. You just need to find your niche.
  8. 4 points
    Had a winter storm come through overnight and give us just a bit of wet snow and some dramatic morning skies. Still getting the hang of working with raw images from my P4Pro, but it sure is fun!
  9. 4 points
    Aloha community, Today, I'm sharing a few images that I'm rather proud of, created by a technique I've been practicing for several months now. Each image you see is comprised of anywhere between 10 to 25 individual photos, merged together like a jigsaw puzzle. In doing this, I'm able to create high resolution images of panoramic scenes that would not fit in a single exposure. These will print clearly up to around 5-8ft on the long edge, depending upon the image. They vary between 20-100mp. All shot on a Phantom 4 Mahalo for viewing, looking forward to feedback and constructive critique! 1 2 3 4
  10. 4 points
    Greetings, Folks. Just got a Phantom Pro +, learning to fly it and starting to study for the 107 test. Pretty daunting. Interested in Cinematograpy, I'm an experienced aerials cameraman, flown with people you know, Alan. Paul Barth and Al Guthery in Florida, and the Tamboros in LA.
  11. 4 points
    Looks like they changed the restrictions on the number of pictures you can post in a thread. Thanks Alan, I will certainly try not to abuse it. This is actually the subject of our survey. Can't say much about it, but it came out really well.
  12. 4 points
    Aloha UAV'ers! I'm new to this online community, and thought I'd introduce myself, and share a piece of recent work to get started. My name is Jonathon, owner of JBR LIFE Photography, located on the beautiful island of Maui. Primarily, I shoot real estate, although our company also specializes in family beach portrait shoots and the occasional wedding, which we contract out to other photographers. I keep the real estate and commercial media projects for myself The video I'm sharing today is a high-end property located on the south shore. These units sell for around $2-2.5M, which is not really an astronomical figure on this island, but higher than my personal home budget none the less. lol The camera line-up: Canon 7D mkII, Phantom 4, iphone 7+ (yep...4k vid) & GoPro Hero 5. Anyhow, I appreciate your time and views, and look forward to any feedback y'all have to give. All constructive critique is welcome too! Warmest Mahalo, Jonathon
  13. 4 points
    Hi All, I wrote my first piece for DRONELIFE and had to name UAV Coach as one of the best communities. I'm really enjoying the discussions here and I hope more people catch on. Here are some others I recommend, as well. http://dronelife.com/2017/06/05/a-guide-to-the-top-drone-forums-and-facebook-groups/
  14. 4 points
    Welcome to the Republic of California, where the inmates are running the asylum and they aren't happy unless they're telling everyone else how to live.
  15. 4 points
    A smidgen is 10 smirchs, a smirch is 10 tads, A tad is 10 frog hairs. Haven't you ever hear of the hillbilly metric system?
  16. 4 points
    Hi - I have been involved with production and copyright since the mid-70s. Copyright is an old model, it was developed to protect sheet music, films and other things that had recurring value. Very often the copyright holder was also the promoter - ie he didn't make a dime unless he sold tickets or whatever. It evolved with photography - go negotiate with Corbis or Getty and you will see how specific it can get. Print, billboard, 1 month, one year, unlimited, US, worldwide and on. But keep in mind that is a picture that is done and probably been approved internally. In many cases it is cheaper or faster to just buy the image you need and get on with the day. This may not be popular but my advice with things like real estate is to sell an all-rights package and be done with it. It is much easier to negotiate - you pay me and do what you want - there are not forms to fill out and there is no enforcement. Not even Getty and Corbis try to enforce anymore. Unless you are extremely professional and dealing with sophisticated clients you will blow more deals than you close. Read the rest of these posts - cheaper, faster. And you are going to tell that customer that he has to pay you extra every time he wants to use an image? I don't think so. The exception where negotiation would be expected is an advertising campaign where you might want to keep the rights to the Miami skyline at 6am because you can resell it later. And where the agency would pay you based on use. The other exception where you might want to keep the copyright is something that has residual value that can be resold. You can keep the copyright and give the clients all the rights they need for their project. Don't forget you then have to complete the copyright process otherwise you don't have a chance. But stuff that is specific to a company or business that has no residual value, give them the rights and go do another project. There are too many people out there who will give it away to stand on principal for something that is basically worthless to anyone but the original client.
  17. 4 points
    Hi Everyone, In the effort to keep the spammers at bay, I'd like to suggest, if possible, to click the "Report post" button next to the spammers name. This will send an email notice to the admins/moderators of the forum who can limit the activity or ban the individual if needed. Thanks!
  18. 4 points
    I'll add my 2 cents worth: I've done quite a few missions so far for Drone Base. I started with some basic Pano's that didn't have a guaranteed payout for several reasons: I wanted to get a feel for where a drone needs to be to get the shots they wanted. I need to build flight hours for legitimate jobs. I want to get more comfortable flying my Phantom in different locations. I have implemented my own Standard Operating Procedures and want to become efficient in following these so I'm not spending a ton of time planning a 15 minute job. I've flown 8 Pano's and received payment for 2. Doing this on the side means I am not that concerned about how much they pay, rather the experience and confidence gained. This has led to them contacting me for several client missions. They've asked me to fly 4 client missions. One was canceled a few days prior to my flight by their client. Another ended up being in Class C surface airspace and the client couldn't wait for FAA approval after I pointed its location out to them. The other 2 for which I did fly, I got paid for. As I gain more experience, I'll likely fly less Pano's - mostly to keep myself and flights skills fresh. I will add that several Pano's I uploaded resulted in their tool being unable to stitch together the Pano. Light level and time of day is very critical to determining if these can be done or not. So in the winter, I have a very narrow time of day when I can fly these Pano's to get optimal results. Also, uploads are painfully slow and you can only upload one job at a time. So when I go out and fly several Pano's, I'll upload one batch at a time while I do other stuff around the house.
  19. 4 points
    Most of the quadcopters are powered by lipo batteries, a low temperature environment will greatly decrease the performance of a lipo battery. When exposed to a temperature below 15°C, the chemically reactive substance in the battery obviously decreases as well as the discharging ability influenced by the increase of its internal resistance, and the voltage drop accelerated when the battery's discharging. There are two risks if the cell drops below 3.0V. 1. The power system for the aircraft cannot provide enough thrust to maintain its flight. 2. The battery will automatically shutdown to avoid over-discharging. These risks are very common to see, however there is still no a perfect way to solve the problem. Intelligent devices like smart phones or tablet computers will also auto shun down when staying in a low temperature. Then we have to talk about the flight theory of the lipo-based quadcopters. For the heavier quadcopter, they need stronger current to provide enough thrust. Battery will draw a continuous high current to boost the quadcopter to a maneuvering flight when flying in a full throttle. In a plateau region, the quadcopter calls for higher motor speed and a higher current of the battery to maintain a regular flight in the thin air and low air pressure. For all the situations mentioned, the battery voltage drop gets even worse because of a low temperature in winter. More seriously, the battery even auto shuts down result in a quadcopter crash because of a low battery voltage. Therefore, Gens ace & Tattu suggested to take these steps for battery usage precaution in winter. 1.Make sure the battery is fully-charged and staying in a high voltage status before you fly with your quadcopter. 2. Preheat your battery over 25°C, which will decrease the internal resistance of the battery. A battery preheater is strongly recommended for preheating your battery. 3. Hovering the quadcopter for about 1 minute after taking off, this will also help the battery to get preheated and decrease the internal resistance. We must pay more attention to a safety flight in winter for a higher risks of quadcopter crash. Getting your quadcopter crash will not only spend you a lot of money for a repair but even it may hurt the people.
  20. 4 points
    Pricing, to a very large extent, will depend on the price of the properties you're shooting. A real estate agent will be a lot more likely to spend marketing money on a multi million dollar estate than a $250 K tract home. If you're just starting out I'd suggest speaking to one or more local agents - preferably agents who specialize in large, high end properties. I find that I get a lot more requests for still images than video because the websites local agents use most, the MLS & realtor.com, do not host video, though that may be different in your area. It's also important for you to understand what advantages aerial photography brings to real estate marketing. Basically there's no reason to do aerials for an unassuming Cape Cod on a a quarter acre lot. I'm attaching conventional and aerial pictures of a nice colonial I shot last fall that, I think, show the advantage of aerial photography. Having said all that I'll tell you that I charge $250 for aerial still photography, $150 if I'm also doing conventional photography as I save travel time.I charge by the day for video work. $400 for a half day, $750 for a full day. Post production is much harder for video, at least for me. I wish I could charge more, but I think I'm pretty close to what the market will bear.
  21. 3 points
    One of our strong clients recently asked us to put together a 1 minute Maui lifestyle video for their upcoming promo. This is what I put together for them, had a great time delving into already-collected footage. Enjoy!
  22. 3 points
    I have a unique position that allows me to use a UAS but my primary responsibilities are more tied to field collection of utility data (primary) and then everything else (any assets the university owns, maintains, or is adjacent to our property). I fly as much as time and weather allow. It is never as much as I would like. On average I log 3-4 hours a month of actual flight time and roughly five times that amount in paperwork associated with the flights, maintenance, planning and record keeping as well as processing the imagery that we collect. Projects vary in size from a week to a couple of years. We mainly fly a pre-construction site set of imagery and then milestone events for utilities as well as a final set once construction is complete. It can be as simple as a few hours to fly a simple project to months covering a capital construction project. Getting a project off the ground always starts in a series of pre-construction meetings with the Systems reps on our side and the general and sub-contractors to lay out the ground work such as requirements on our side (no crew on-site to avoid flying over people/moving vehicles, site security, ect...) and address concerns on their side. You also have to identify your milestone events and determine the scheduling in order to meet your goals. Then it becomes a matter of your basic flight planning and procedures to get each flight off the ground safely and complete the mission or series of mission. Follow that up with processing the data and all the record-keeping that is also required. I don't travel outside my immediate area; I work for a university on the construction side so travel is not an option (and I've done enough earlier in life that I've gotten that out of my system). My job allows me the full run of our system and I have excellent support from my upper level management so I am basically free to set my own priorities and implement the plan as I see fit without too much interference. Sorry for the general answers but its really hard to quantify a generic answer when everything we do is basically unique on a per-project basis.
  23. 3 points
    Cool truck! But I can hear the GPS now -- "recalculating... do a U-turn in 180' turn left on there's no way your going to make it." Nice video.
  24. 3 points
    Would you mind explaining why users here should use your service as opposed to other similar services. Curious how much you pay, how much lead time for services, do you take airspace into consideration , etc?
  25. 3 points
    @JBR LIFE Photography, Aloha! It's probably because after watching your awesome video they asked themselves, "What are we doing? Look how beautiful that is!"
  26. 3 points
    I'm very happy to announce that with the help of UAV Coach, I was able to pass the Part 107 drone pilot exam with a 90% score. A couple of suggestions: It's hard to guess, but I had never seen about 20-30% of the questions on the exam. It is very important to learn the basis behind the rules and class material and not depend on memorizing the practice test answers. Learn all you can and repeat and repeat everything you learn. I am quite sure I would not have passed it on the first round without taking this course. Thanks to Alan and Mike for always responding in a timely way to a number of questions I had for them. With gratitude. Stan Nickel
  27. 3 points
    Aloha, I wanted to share the most recent property video from a house that I really loved. This piece was shot almost entirely on a P4. Only the zoomed in view shot was calories with a DSLR. Mahalo for viewing!
  28. 3 points
    As long as you are not flying for profit (commercially) and are flying under 336 rules (AMA) you are not required to file a NOTAM. You need to have a COA in order to file to my understanding (which may or may not be correct). I always call the tower to inform them that I am flying 15 minutes prior to takeoff, and while this is not necessary it is in accordance with a deal we struck when I began flying. You might contact the local airport manager and meet with him face to face and see how he wants to handle it. It could be something as simple as a letter of agreement or just a call to the tower (or no contact at all in some cases). At least give him/her the option and you should not have any problems.
  29. 3 points
    How to Price Your Drone Mapping Services might provide some a useful advice.
  30. 3 points
    There are more threads with the topic embedded but this will get you started. ESRI's Drone2Map was based off of the Pix4Dmapper software but they are going native and the next version is supposed to be all their own. simActive's Correlator3D has some unique hardware requirements but it is some slick software if you have a GPU that will run it. The GPU needs to be OpenGL and OpenCL compliant, and not that many high-end GPUs fit that bill.
  31. 3 points
    Here's my most recent effort at producing a property video. I hope you enjoy.
  32. 3 points
    My friend Lauren, who regularly kicks but at Drone360, wrote a great piece about a little-known rule. If you're working on the farm, you want to read this. http://drone360mag.com/rules-regulations/2017/06/part-137-agricultural-aircraft-the-drone-certification-youve-never-heard-of#.WULTFyeruGA.facebook
  33. 3 points
    Calling all of the city halls in my perspective work areas to verify there are no other cities with a drone ordinance so I don't run into another issue. The city of El Segundo, ca gave me some weird answers that didn't make sense. Drove down to their city hall, I ended up in front of the city business guy. He had a lot of questions for me as well. Turns out he regards me as a drone expert (don't know about that) and wants me to come speak in front of their city council meeting so that I can educate the body with insight. My fear is that I'll say something that triggers more regulation on our already overly regulated industry. Fingers crossed!
  34. 3 points
    Hey everyone, I just wanted to say that I appreciate all of the feedback. Ultimately, I decided to pass on the job as it was way too difficult to set out a clear plan to my client. Thanks for sharing this. I have looked through this before and there is literally nothing written here about drones. I really wish there was a clear resource put out from New York City about how to fly for commercials, films, and television legally. My first experience using this forum was pretty great. Thanks everyone who took the time to help!
  35. 3 points
    This is kind of a religious debate where everyone gets angry and no one is right. It was never really about the $5 nor about registering your drone. If you were reregistering your drone there would have been a number for every drone, they were registering users. Then they made the database public. It had nothing to do with nor did it make drones safer of protect non user's privacy. This made drone operators who registered their drones second class citizens. Everyone should be for this ruling. You can be for this ruling and still support registration. The FAA cannot unilaterally impose its will on everything that flies. There's a process the FAA MUST go through to create rules. Also keep in mind the FAA does not make laws, only congress can make a law. There are several reasons for this. This is a general statement - Most of the companies and organizations who are against this ruling have been using the regulatory process as a way to gain a competitive or political advantage. The primary reason for the NPRM process is to prevent this sort of thing from happening. The FAA is prohibited from regulating commerce. They can not create rules that are arbitrary, capricious or promulgate any rule without going through the NPRM process. This process provides the public the opportunity to review and have input into the development of the rules that govern them. This prevents large companies from influencing the process in a way that regulates out competition. There are companies out there that don't respect or believe that individuals should be involved in this process. "VP of Policy & Legal Affairs Brendan Schulman said in a statement offered to TechCrunch. “I expect the legal issue that impedes this program will be addressed by cooperative work between the industry and policymakers.”
  36. 3 points
    Hey @Up Sonder! Love this question. This is something we grapple with frequently at AeroVista Drone Academy. How does one measure experience for a drone pilot? Especially with varying and complex mission profiles (Construction mapping vs. Thermography, ETC. ) This question is especially pertinent when we train pilots on the Public Safety side, because not only does a pilot have to be experienced, but they have to maintain proficiency! A 500hr pilot who hasn't flown in 6 months has plenty of experience, but over time skills get rusty. This is why the FAA requires 90 day currency for manned pilots to carry passengers, and biannual flight reviews to keep a pilot's certificate active. So here's my opinion, which is entirely based upon my experience instructing drone pilots of all backgrounds from former airline pilots getting into the unmanned world, and those with zero aviation background staring totally green. First, let's define "experienced" What I would consider an "experienced" drone pilot is one that I would trust flying under my authorizations, waivers and insurance without creating significant spikes in my blood pressure. This is someone who's had enough flight hours to see some emergencies, bad weather and complicated airspace. This is someone who's encountered adversity and demonstrated their ability to sort it and keep flying safely. They don't need to be Chuck Yeager, but they need to be independent, confident, and safe. An "experienced" and "flight ready" drone pilot has logged between 100 and 150 total flight hours, with at least 3 hours in the preceding 90 days, and 10 hours "on type" (on the make and model they intend to fly) Why so rigorous? With very few instructional standards, and the constant progression of automation technologies, the role of PIC becomes less and less about physically flying the Aircraft. This is a real double-edged sword for the student drone pilot. Usually, when someone learns a skill, they follow the following progression, which can be described by the following thoughts: Unconscious Incompetence. "PSSSH this is EASY! I'll master this overnight" (Don't know what you don't know) Conscious Incompetence. "Woah, okay. I now know how much I don't know" Conscious Competence. "I can do this, if i focus on it" Unconscious Competence. "I can do this without thinking about it" This progression applies to almost anything. Learning to fly, learning to drive, even learning a musical instrument. The problem is, in order to progress, a learner must first be confronted with the fact that they don't know what they don't know. When I learned to fly an airplane, this became very apparent very fast. The problem with cheaper and more available automation, is it allows new pilots to become somewhat successful (IE, not break anything for a while) before they are confronted by their own lack of proficiency) When I was a kid, radio controlled helicopters had little to no automation. I bought one, thinking it would be easy to fly. It ended up looking like This and I was immediately confronted by just how little I knew. Necessity is the impetus to learning. if you don't feel you NEED to know something, you WON'T learn it. Over time, a pilot builds confidence. If that confidence building in't peppered with minor emergencies and uncomfortable situations. That confidence turns to complacency and in aviation, Complacency Kills. If I where to ask you, "Which group of pilots are most likely to crash" you'd probably say, "Student Pilots, because they have the least experience!" but you'd be wrong. In fact, the AOPA's Nall Report on aviation accidents, lists low time Private Pilots as the most likely to cause accidents. nearly half the accidents reported where caused by Private Pilots. But why does that happen? They have certificates so shouldn't they know more, and therefore be safer than than the students? Here's the problem: They get cocky. Just like the 16-year-old kid with a brand new driver's license, they've been through all the training they've been out on the road and they think they know everything there is to know. Until they get confronted by their lack of proficiency. Or in my case when I was 16, my neighbors mailbox. So What does all this mean for drone pilots? As helpful as automated modes are (secretly, I love flying the DJI birds in P-GPS) they can cause the really insidious problem of brushing a pilot's lack of skill under the rug. Essentially allowing them to build hours, without building experience. This building of hours in turn causes vastly increasing confidence causes pilots to feel comfortable cutting corners, skipping steps, and flying "on the edge" Problem is, all that shiny new obstacle avoidance and automation only works well under perfect conditions. Unfortunately, the real world is filled with bad GPS reception, high winds and dark skies and often times those systems fail. As a result, with no substantive airmanship skills to fall back on, drone pilots crash. with little guidance from the FAA as to how to train pilots beyond 107, it's incumbent on us in the industry to set the expectations and training standards for tomorrow's pilots. While it's obviously not of the same risk profile as a manned aircraft, no serious industrial user can afford to have pilots ditching Phantoms after a magnetometer failure, or having CFIT (Controlled Flight into Terrain) losses on construction sites with tall cranes. It's simply not enough for a pilot to have just flown a certain number of hours. Its paramount that they can demonstrate proficiency and recency along with experience. We as an industry have the opportunity to be the safest sector of aviation. Let's do it!
  37. 3 points
    Hey everyone, Here where I work we don't take the drone into too much consideration when it comes the quality of the products that we can provide, granted our sUAS is very high end. We have only been using a fixed wing aircraft made by Trimble that is specifically designed for surveying. We know that the quality of our products depends on how it is processed and gathered. We use survey grade GNSS receivers or conventional total stations to set out GCPS and to observe the more critical areas of a survey when it comes to elevation, especially when it needs to match some existing grade somewhere. The camera onboard is also very high quality, not just a "UHD Camera". We use the Trimble UX5 HP which logs a static GNSS vector as it flies and must be run with a local static base station logging it's own Data. Trimble claims that their processing Software (TBC) paired with this particular drone eliminates the need for GCPs through the use of Post Processed Kinematic methods that they derived. Trimble is well known to the surveying field to be high end surveying equipment and is probably blindly trusted when they make these statements. We, however have found through our own experiments that it is simply not true. I have come across horizontal differences of more than a foot and vertically even more when comparing a processed flight with survey grade GCPs to one without them. This, a survey grade company (Trimble), still doesn't yield the accuracy needed to rely on for any type of design without the use of survey grade GNSS receivers and the knowledge to understand the shortcomings of the photogrammetry performed. This, in my mind does not bode well for new services such as PX4d to be reliable for survey grade data yielded from a point cloud they generate. I agree that they can take a point cloud and make it useful but to rely on it for photogrammetry scares me. We cautiously use TBC and understand that in order for a survey to receive our stamp that it must be controlled well. We not only use our system for Topographic surveys but for Alta surveys as well as supplemental data. Deriving the feature line work and most of the surface (if requested) is done along with our survey technicians. It is clear to me that the data that can be gathered by sUAS can be very accurate if processed correctly, but that it does not eliminate the need for ground work, nor the need for a licensed surveyor to produce and examine the data. I agree with R Martin above that surveying is still a very profitable profession to enter, having just entered it myself as a 24 year old LSIT. The need for surveyors is growing very quickly as well in New Mexico. Someone said above that it would be foolish not to get into the newest technology available as a surveyor and I couldn't agree more. Surveyors for the most part are not young people and do not like to have to learn to work with new technology. That is where we young surveyors can help the previous generation while they help us to understand how to determine a boundary, and how to use all of the equipment they have been accustomed to. The Idea of GNSS was rejected fairly widely and thought of only as a fad, those that believed this were missing out on increasing profitability in a lot of projects. Don't let this technology pass you up as a fad. It is a great tool that we use frequently and it will only continue to grow and improve. Sorry if I seemed to jump around. -Kyle
  38. 3 points
    I'm working on a video of a recent trip I did around northern Portugal and, while the full video isn't ready yet, I thought I'd share a little snippet of a section of that video showcasing the highest lake in Portugal. Had some fun timing it to the mysterious, ~1min long, "Run" soundtrack from the talented James Everingham.
  39. 3 points
  40. 3 points
    To @Av8Chuck's point, yes this forum may be less active than some, but I think overall the quality of the info is on average much better.
  41. 3 points
    Wow! Great responses. I was just reminded of this blog on @Alan Perlman community update email. I have notifications on now so let the responses continue! @Uaviator53 I definitely agree. 9/10 agents aren't interested because they do it part time. These are the same realtors who take pictures with their phones. Overall, making a profit is fairly easy as long as your work is half decent. It may take a while to get in the green but it shouldn't take more than a couple months as long as you keep your costs low. @Alan Perlman I swam upstream accidentally. In the midst of contacting realtors I found the top dogs and they are the ones have used me for a couple of jobs now. I have a shoot for a golf course in May once everything greens up. I'm 1/1 on golf courses but have a list of 23 I am going to talk to. I have started with construction using drone deploy. It's awesome technology and very useful in construction. @RTV, Inc. - Jay Great advice! @PLKetchum Me and you need to talk some more. I would love to start offering matter port, interior, and exterior photos. I feel as if I am under cutting myself my only offering aerial photos and videos. The agents I currently work with on a regular basis are the high end real estate agents. They are full time and understand the value. To build up my portfolio and obtain connections I offered aerial photos and videos for free for first time clients. This worked great. However, even though some of them loved my work and one realtor even got a showing because of the video getting shared on Facebook, they don't always return. I may go back to offering it for free for first time clients. Overall, the best thing to do is offer low prices and be damn good at what you do. Also be qualified. Be sure to be the professional in the area, not the guy who owns and drone and knows nothing about photography. Flying a drone and cinematography are completely to different skills sets. Which brings me to another point, there is a HUGE market for selling photos to local tourist shops as postcards and greetings cards. I live in Floyd, VA and I took pictures of Floyd early morning after a rain when the fog was lifting and sun was rising. The Floyd Country Store is buying 500 copies of 3 photos (1500 total) for postcards, another 1500 for greeting cards, 30 8x10 and 6 11x14. Plus they want me to take pictures through out the year as seasons change. If you guys aren't doing this, you should look into it. It's a continuing income as the pictures sell. I have one question- how do we get rid of the people who are offering the same services as us with no license? Theres guys like that in my area and its a real bummer cause my work is better and I am qualified, licensed, and have obtained 1 year waivers to fly in Roanoke VA and Blacksburg VA airspaces all but within 2NM of the airport and not to exceed a certain height. I just feel as if its unfair that the guys who aren't licensed are taking jobs from those who have went through the hurdles to become licensed. Thanks for the replies! Keep em coming. This is very helpful. PS my notifications are on now. Jonathan Spence
  42. 3 points
    Been at this since Dec 2015, Jonathan. Real estate aerial photography is a nut breaker, hard, but not impossible to make a profit, they want a lot for very little. (and yes, for the most part, they are cheap...) No offense to any realtors reading this; they are trying to make the most while keeping you cut as low as you'll go. Sometimes I just say no and walk away.
  43. 3 points
    I'm one of the founders of http://www.acuas.org/ advocating for the commercial use of drones. It was started on the premise that absent any law it was not illegal to use drones commercially and that there was a process the government must go through to create the law. At the time everyone said that you needed money, guns and lawyers make a difference. We had neither. What most failed to realize is that although the FAA regulates airspace they can not create law, they HAVE to go through NPRM process to create regulations and those regulations can not be arbitrary and capricious. Most said we were nieve, that you can't fight city hall. While DJI, Amazon and the Small UAV Coalition we're putting on a show for congress, we helped develop the brief for the OMB. The influence that shapped rule 107 were more about commerce than flying drones. The FAA cannot regulate commerce, they have the difficult task of regulating drone flight without restricting commerce. This is true of government at all levels. The trouble is you only have to go through this process once with the federal government whereas you have to do it for every state that wants to impose drone regulations. This is more about commerce than drone flights and there are very strict rules all government must follow to create these regulations. Doesn't mean ever municipality will follow them, So id suggest creating an organization like ACUAS.org that can leverage the experience and success of these regulatory issues, a PAC kind of like AOPA for drones.
  44. 3 points
    Starting a business based on using drones really isn't any different than any other business. Do all that you can to limit your liability, insurance, incorporating etc.. Do all of the things that Steve listed. But there are a million intangible details that if you haven't started or managed a small business before, you won't be able to get all the information online. This is one of those things that you just have to learn by doing before you can even recognize that you might be getting sound advice. I have a saying: "We live in a society where everyone knows how to do everything, but hardly anyone has actually done anything." Starting any new venture is a lot of work and exciting, especially one that has something to do with drones. A key to a successful startup is your ability to focus on a single task you can charge money for, and then grow the business by increasing sales. Great if you can do that. Or, you need to still be focused on a particular niche but be flexible enough to broaden your mission to meet you customers changing needs. This is more common. Where a lot of drone related businesses fail is that they get the tools they rely on for success from toy drone manufacturers. These drones have a very narrow mission profile, they can pretty much only fly the camera that came with it. It doesn't really matter if its the best camera or not or even whether you think its the right tool for the job, it matters what your customer thinks. What often happens is you provide a successful service to a customer, they think of all the great ways they could expand the role of drones in their business and on the next job your asked if you can fly a five pound $35K hyper-spectral sensor. If you purchased one of the many hobby grade drones your faced with the prospect of turning the work down or buying another drone. In a startup you have to wear many hats and go after a lot of different types of work so you need a platform that can be easily reconfigured to meet a wide variety of missions. Not just whether you can plug in an additional battery (of coarse it might be nice to be able to fly with less than six if you don't need that many), but what if I need to fly a two pound FLIR for a job on Monday and a 15 pound LiDAR on Thursday. First of all you should know that its a bad idea to fly a two pound payload on a drone that can lift 15 pounds or more. So the moral of the story is you need to buy or build a platform that is modular, open and and extensible, so that your tool can be as flexible as your business.
  45. 3 points
  46. 3 points
    If you are referring to the one in Southern California (https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sherman+Oaks,+Los+Angeles,+CA/@34.1455689,-118.4785297,13z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x80c297dba79cbcf3:0x39b4e3f8071ff16!8m2!3d34.1489719!4d-118.451357 ), then you have the unique perspective of living within 3 airports airspace: Burbank (KBUR) Class C, Van Nuys (KVNY) Class D and Whiteman Airport (KWHP) Class D along with numerous helipads and other places to notify. I would suggest using the app from the FAA: B4UFLY, to plan an area to practice flight. It will notify you of all flight facilities in an area. It starts by picking up the GPS on your smartphone/tablet but you can pinch to zoom out and look for an area that's clear for flight. SoCal airspace can be a challenge to navigate, believe me, I know!
  47. 3 points
    Hey guys, I started following this topic after I submitted my first group of waiver requests. Here has been my experience: I submitted my first request on 1/31 for an airspace waiver. Like everyone else, I was left wondering if it was actually received. Since I live in an MSA with one class C airport surround by 4 municipal airports that are either class D or E, the majority of my clients' request are going to fall in controlled airspace. Not knowing how the first one was going to turn out, I submitted 3 additional requests, all for airspace waivers, on 2/2. I got a call yesterday (2/8) from the FAA rep who was assigned to one of my requests (ironically, not the first request submitted). He was very cordial and told me he was calling for a couple reasons. I put May 2nd as the date that I wanted to fly, so he was curious if that was the actual date I wanted to fly or if I did that to make sure the FAA had 90 days to review the request. I told him it was because of the latter, and frankly, I need to get out there as soon as possible. He said he would change the dates to the following Monday (2/13) and make it effective for 7 days to give me time to get out there depending on weather. Next, he noticed I requested 400' AGL and wanted to know if that's what I had to have or if I would accept 100'. I asked why, and he said that he could approve the 100' today without any additional research or coordination. But, if I really wanted the 400', it was going to take additional time to get that approved and coordinate with ATC. I told him that I'd take the 100', and if that wasn't satisfactory to my clients, I'd reapply for the 400'. I asked though, if I did want to reapply, what was it going to take to get that approved? I told him I had access to a 2-way radio, could communicate with ATC, etc., etc. He told me that I needed to explain all of that in my description of operation, but that given the proximity to the airport, he'd have to do some more work on his end to get that approved. I didn't get the sense that he didn't want to do the work, but more that he was trying to expedite the process for me...if I could live with 100' he could move on to the next request... I asked him to confirm that the next step was going to be that I got the approved waiver emailed to me. He acknowledged that unfortunately there's not a notification process because they are still "building the system as they go," but the next steps were for him to send the waiver to headquarters for signature, headquarters would send it back to him, he'd then email it to me and ATC. He didn't know how long that would take but expected I'd get it by the end of the week. Then, a couple hours later, the same guy called me again. He was reviewing my next request which is closer to the class E airport. He said that one was good to go, I could have 400', and he just wanted to know about the dates again. I asked him to make them the same as the other because I could probably do both in one day, but certainly both the same week. Unfortunately, he didn't know anything about my other two requests. He said they must have been assigned to someone else. His advice on future requests regarding the dates was to go ahead and make the request 90 days out, but in the description of operation, explain that that I would take sooner dates if possible. Give yourself a window of opportunity to work (3,5,7 days) so you can plan for weather or other circumstances. Also, if you request the max altitude at 400', go ahead and note weather you must have the 400' or if you can operate at 200'. I got the sense 400' isn't necessarily an issue, but if there are more logistics involved, they need to make sure everyone can operate safely (i.e., communicate with ATC on 2-way radio, yield to manned aircraft, etc., etc). I didn't ask why the approvals aren't being posted on the website, but at least we know that they are still granting them (well, assuming I actually get it when he said I would). Hope this helps everyone.
  48. 3 points
    There are a great many things to take into consideration when flying building inspections. The first place to start is to ask yourself: "What is my deliverable going to be?" I could honestly write a book on the subject of facade inspection with drones. Where are you located?
  49. 3 points
    I just want to say thank you to Alan for taking the time to talk about this topic, and I also really appreciate the response from Drone Base - very helpful. I intend to give Drone Base a shot. I like their business model and really hope that it works because it cold mean a lot of work for drone pilots. Plus, I'm not super busy with other shoots yet so I sort of feel like I have nothing to lose. I will update this thread with how my experience goes. Thanks for everyone's input! Chris
  50. 3 points
    Hi Franklin, thinking about what you've been able to put together so far re: pictures and videos, what do you see your end product looking like? Have you looked at other aerial service companies in the city / state to see what their service packages look like? I'm not talking about price...I'm talking about quality, and what the deliverables are for the client. There are 101 different ways to offer value to a RE broker with aerial photos / videos, just want to get a sense of what you're thinking and where you think you fit into the local market. Do you also plan to get liability insurance? Do you have any background in photography / videography? Will you be doing the post-processing yourself? As you can see, a lot of questions. Pricing a service like this is all about value exchange and striking a balance between 1) what the client is willing to pay and 2) what value/experience/professionalism/end-product you bring to the table.