Brian Byers

About to purchase the Phantom 4 Pro

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I am about to purchase the Phantom 4 Pro for a pilot for a tv show. I've never shot with a drone before and was wondering if there might be any advice, tips, and or warnings before I make this purchase. I also have a film that I plan on using a few drone shots for this spring.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

- Brian
4 Bees Media, LLC

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Hey Brian! As a p4p owner I must say I absolutely love mine. It's an amazing piece of technology! I can't help but wonder if the inspire 2 is a better choice for you. With a tv show I am sure you will be doing some indoor flying? The inspire 2 does have 6 directions of obstacle avoidance all 4 sides, top, and bottom, while the 4p has 5, all sides,and bottom. Also the inspire will never have anything in view of camera like the landing gear and propellers, and the camera can be adjusted much more than that of the p4p and changed out, it also swivels much farther. Hope my little bit of information helps out

Edited by timmy67
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Hey @Brian Byers! Thanks for posting. What are the expectations from the show re: output quality and types of shots? When it comes to advice / tips / warnings, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND practicing as much as possible :)

Read through the user manual until you've committed it to memory, and spend a lot of time just hovering in front of your face and doing simple flight patterns and testing out the various settings on your transmitter and within the DJI app. Like any piece of complicated consumer equipment, it'll take a while to gain a sense of comfort with the system. Some people will say something to the extent of, "the thing flies itself," and sure, while the flight software is incredibly advanced, that's one small part of the operation. A strong, safe, competent, and professional sUAS operator knows the aircraft and system inside and out and can fly in a variety of flight environments, all the while having a "pilot mindset" and maintaining strong situational awareness, running through pre-flight checklists, etc. This response is a bit frazzled but hopefully helps you understand what you're getting yourself into!

Also, make sure you're certified by the FAA, and that you are insured during the flight. Happy to answer questions about either of those.

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  • Just some friendly advice. I would advice purchasing a cheap - $200 drone with a camera just to practice with. Prior to using a $1,500 drone - I started with a very inexpensive drone which I proceeded to crash several times, get stuck in trees (at least twice), and generally destroyed. After going through one or two of these cheap drones, you should at least have a good idea of what not to do. Good luck. 
Edited by eColumbia99
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All very good information and advice! Thank you guys so much for cluing me in to getting my license. Im ordering the drone tomorrow then once I get it, will get it all FAAed up!

Thanks again and Ill keep you all posted.

- B

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Just a suggestion here.  You may want to start studying for your test and scheduling it before you buy the unit.  The online study course right here is a very good one with a high success rate. If you fail the test the first time, you have to pay to take it a second time so being well prepared can be a money saver!  Good luck!

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To future p4p owner 1st read everything twice, then watch afew YouTube videos, I.e,setup,1st flight, will all help you at least not crash on you're 1st flight, it's a great drone just have to get used too the flight characteristics, and you will love to fly,clear skies, good luck, klee

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On 2/23/2017 at 1:40 PM, lirav4976 said:

If you fail the test the first time, you have to pay to take it a second time so being well prepared can be a money saver!  Good luck!

Wow, this has been out there since February, I guess I just haven’t paid attention. 

Do you have to pay the full $150 for a retest?

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After reading several articles about drones, all the feedback are very accurate. It's not easy to fly a drone especially if you haven't tried it. It's also important to get your license and register your drone to FAA before flying it outside 

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It might also be telling to see how many people renew.  

 

Oops, this is in reference to 107 renewals now that's it going on the second year.

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I suspect that many will not renew, but we shall see.  To my knowledge, FAA has not announced how renewals will be accomplished.

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On 09/01/2018 at 1:58 PM, Av8Chuck said:

It might also be telling to see how many people renew.  

 

Oops, this is in reference to 107 renewals now that's it going on the second year.

While not correct in here but there has been a loss of about 1500 operators in the Uk that have not renewed, and the UK permission is not a small task so these guys have fallen away because they either could not make it work or they did not really know what they got into in the first place.  

Edited by Mad_Angler1

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@Mad_Angler1, that is exactly what I have predicted for the US Part 107.  I think the drop out rate will be in the range of 40% for the very reasons you have pointed out.

Edited by Ed O'Grady
typo

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But just to add - another outcome may also be failure to renew due to cost and study requirements but continuing to operate commercially anyway.  Also, a disregard of the renewal requirements and continuing commercially as well.  In spite of Part 107 regulations, I am well aware of "commercial" operators doing so without a Remote Pilot certificate and in controlled airspace without FAA authorization (Class E Surface). My locale has three airports but none have control towers so basically nobody cares.  And when these guys are asked, they will say they are "registered" with the FAA (that's their drone) and that they are insured (that's AMA insurance which comes with membership and does not cover commercial ops).  I know this for a fact. Unfortunate but true.

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6 hours ago, Mad_Angler1 said:

While not correct in here but there has been a loss of about 1500 operators in the Uk that have not renewed

Do you have any idea what the percentage of renewal is?  1500 doesn’t sound like a lot but if there were only 1600 certificate originally issued that would be different.  Does anyone know how many 107’s were issues here in the US so far?

2 hours ago, Ed O'Grady said:

But just to add - another outcome may also be failure to renew due to cost and study requirements but continuing to operate commercially anyway.  Also, a disregard of the renewal requirements and continuing commercially as well.  In spite of Part 107 regulations, I am well aware of "commercial" operators doing so without a Remote Pilot certificate and in controlled airspace without FAA authorization (Class E Surface).

I agree that there are people disregarding the law and operating commercially, just like people driving without licenses.  There are lots of reasons for this but I believe that the percentage of people operating commercially without a 107 is relatively small.  

I’m not justifying this or politicizing it, just trying to hear what others think and possibly reach some kind of consensus of what the numbers of renewals might be.  Obviously we won’t know for a while yet.  

I think the people that are operating illegally know they are but the majority of those are likely individuals shooting real estate or small event videography and probably shoot one or two projects a month at unrealistically low rates.  Many of the larger Real Estate  brokers are beginning to require proof of insurance before hiring, so do the insurance companies require proof of a current 107 before issuing insurance?  Most of these individuals will be faced with the harsh reality that this model is not sustainable, unfortunately those that tried to do this legally will come to the same conclusion and that’s where we’ll probably see the largest numbers of operators not renewing their 107.  

There are probably a very small percentage of companies who provide other services professionally like commercial video production, some sort of agricultural or civil engineering services who are trying to figure out how to integrate drones into thier workflow and what the value of providing this service might be.  Most companies in this category probably do have a 107 certificate and for the ones that don’t they will either determine there’s no value, they don’t want the additional liability, or if they think it’s a good thing will get certified.  This category might be the fastest growing and provide a lot of opportunity for 107 operators to become systems integrators and consultants for these companies.  The lack of access to qualified, experienced operators to this category of companies is another reason they maybe operating illegally.  

Probably the biggest impediment to the renewal of certification is the FAA.  If we’re on a forum dedicated to this industry and we’re confused about the procedure for renewal what chance do people not a part of the commercial community have at understanding what the process is?  Of coarse that begs the question “do forums add to the confusion or help to clear it up?”  

I don’t like it when people fly commercially in the US without a 107 but I understand why they do.  There should be one “official,” “easy to understand,” “easy to comply with” website that enables people to comply with rule 107.  Adding to that, for those that have navigated the confusion they are expected to wait six months or more for a waiver or authorization [derived from the same form]?  Who can operate a business this way?  

Also keep in mind that without a lot of us operating “illegally” before the FAA issued the NPRM in February of 2015 there might not even be a 107 certificate.  A lot of people operated under the belief that it wasn’t illegal to operate commercially if there were no regulations.  Rule 107 was a good start, a framework which we could build an industry, not sure what’s happening now but let’s not let the FAA turn us into criminals.  

This industry is certainly experiencing some growing pains, unfortunately I don’t see any relief coming from the FAA anytime soon.  So what can we do to help?

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I checked with CAA in the UK and as of Dec 12 there were 3558 active approved UAV operators so that 1500 is a very large number and that's what I expect here in the States.  I agree with all of your points @Av8Chuck but I take issue with the comment about unlicensed drivers.  According to a report from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety issued in July, one in every five fatal car crashes in the United States each year involves a driver who does not have a valid license or whose license status is a mystery to law enforcement.  I'm not equating it with unlicensed drone operation but neither should be tolerated.

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That’s the number I was told currently and was informed the CAA state they have issueed about 5500 total permissions since conception.

Now what I don’t know is if this takes into account multiple PIC on the same Ops Manual so there is possible some who are working under a larger companies permission but even so if that is a few hundred and I doubt it is it’s still a large number who have not re applied and it’s over a 5th.    

Edited by Mad_Angler1

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10 hours ago, Av8Chuck said:

Does anyone know how many 107’s were issues here in the US so far?

Apparently over 60,000

Edited by Dave Pitman

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