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Everything posted by Shaun135

  1. There are literally several if you google photography tutorials. Toms's Tech Time, on You tube. Tony Northrop is a good one. DPreview5d i think its called. No film school is another one, mostly for video. All of these are relevant.
  2. You need to do more! For one most realtors have no idea on the 107. That is something they don't care about minus their liability for negligently hiring the kid on his skateboard. For starters you need to show them your work. It always boils down to your work and what your end product is. You have a Yuneec Typhoon, not a bad system, but so what? What makes you different than the thousand other people in Houston who have Typhoons, Phantoms, Mavics and other like platforms? Also what are you providing? Ok you get some various elevated shot angles of a house. The realtor probably only finds a couple of those useful in most cases. If i'm a realtor and you are drone pilot. I need exterior shots, but I also need interior as well. Do I have to hire you and someone else? Well chances are no, because that someone else also provides drone work in addition to interior work. Well now what do you do differently? Do you know your camera? Can you expose shots without auto everything. Do you know why a DNG file is way better than a simple JPEG. How bout shooting in log if Yuneec offers it, Can you do multiple exposure bracketing for those divers lighting areas, where there is a lot of shade under trees but the house is bright and blown out. Can you expose a shot where the shadows are still somewhat in tact, but the house can be exposed better. Those are fundamental things. They matter to get the most out of the image. Its knowing and understanding those things which separate you from any Joe that can buy drone. These concepts apply to the interior as well. Two separate exposures are usually useful for those interiors without having to use external lighting to keep the windows from being blown out. You have to sometimes do one exposure for the room the other for the window. Lightroom merge and adjust light and color appropriately to get the look you want. Study photography. Lots of online tutorials on this. Toms Tech time as well as Tony Northrop have a lot really good information for exposing properly with drones. There are others for traditional camera as well. At the end of the day one carries over to the other.
  3. This is straight out of the Remote Pilot Study Guide. "In most cases, a remote pilot will not need ATC authorization to operate in Class E airspace." also The primary airport(s) within the TRSA become(s) Class D airspace. The remaining portion of the TRSA overlies other controlled airspace, which is normally Class E airspace beginning at 700 or 1,200 feet and established to transition to/ from the en route/terminal environment. TRSAs are depicted on VFR sectional charts and terminal area charts with a solid black line and altitudes for each segment. The Class D portion is charted with a blue segmented line. Participation in TRSA services is voluntary; however, pilots operating under VFR are encouraged to contact the radar approach control and take advantage of TRSA service. Granted this is not law. But it is a record of the federal government as an official training document. Being that in 624 pages the only discussion is on E to Surface in the official 107 signed document. That is reason to infer the FAA's thought process. So they would be hard pressed on record for violating someone for anything that has conflicting guidance. Also an attorney could argue because no mention was ever given for anything other than E to the Surface, that the FAA would have been complicit in their true intent. Regulations are very specific, they can't be erroneous in their application. Its one of the protections we have to prevent people making up rules at the lower bureaucratic level. In all reality they most likely would not violate you unless you did something else unsafe, else you would be fine. Like I said before, you are not off the hook if you do something that considered careless or reckless. If you do go 400 feet above the tower and have an incursion with an aircraft, you would still answer for that. Here is the thing in my 22 years of flying the big thing we are harped on by any check airman is "where does it explicitly say that?" Many people like to make hip pocket determinations and turn techniques into procedures. It becomes a slippery slope when this happens because it makes the determinations of actual procedures more difficult. This is why you have to have a valid reason you can defend yourself. If some FAA official tried to solely violate you on being in E and you had no rationale or understanding on why you did what you did. You will probably not be able to make a good argument in your defense. At the end of the day they have to go by written procedure. If that procedure is erroneous, the ball is in their court to fix. Realistically the FAA can't regulate every possible situation. It is humanly impossible. So what they have to do is put robust enough regulations out which provide for a level of safety but are not unnecessarily over burdensome. At the same time it is up to individual pilots to use their individual judgement if what they are doing is unsafe and to discontinue. In all practicality it makes sense. They would get flooded with hundreds of requests for every single tower inspection that would go into E. It just would not be practical. This is the one time I think in dealing with sUAS ops the FAA used some rational thought. In the question above (A) is obviously wrong. It is above 400 feet of the structure and at the floor of Norfolk's Class C. (C) is not correct because you can go above 453 AGL. If we were concerned (E at 700) 699 feet would be our max altitude. I think with their training guidance, (B) is the right answer. On another note, when I did my FAAST test for the Part 61 method to get a RPIC, I believe actually had this same question and chose B, I got 100% after end of course exam.
  4. Hmm. usually the FSDO is generally good about working with state agencies, especially the state Emergency Management office. In fact I am quite surprised that this office does not already have a direct line with the appropriate higher ups at the FAA. It seems like for other than drone stuff, FAA coordination is paramount when dealing with the state EM agencies during national emergencies. I would be persistent with the FSDO. I do know from the inside, that the FAA going through a major staff realignment. They are doing away with the Regional Offices and giving the local FSDO's more direct access to the federal headquarters. In the past the local FSDO's had a chain of command to their regional offices. The director at my FSDO showed me the new chart. If the FSDO is not getting you results, maybe you need to send a request for this information through the sUAS help desk on the FAA website.
  5. Shaun135


    I started a drone company 6+ years ago in New Mexico. I am lucky enough to have been able to break into the closed set film and TV production world with my two partners. This occurred due to timing and being the first on our area to specialize in this. If we started now, we would not be where we are at. It was a bit easier to break in the scene as an early adopter, but the door is a very narrow entry now. You have to pretty much be established in the industry to get in. I Built several different kit systems and modified them to handle variety of payloads, back when a 5.2K RAW camera the size of a baseball, that comes in as a good second to the Alexa for drone work never existed. My background is in Electrical Engineering and Aviation. I soled a glider at 15, got my first private pilot ticket at 17, followed by my single engine add-on a year later just after graduating High School. I commissioned in the Air Force in 2003, went to Joint Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance, AFB in Oklahoma. My first assignment was flying a KC-135 R/T and became an Aircraft Commander, military speak for being the Captain of the plane. I went and flew big UAS in the form of the MQ-1 B until separating from the Air Force. I have 2200 hours of Jet time and hold Commercial Multi-Engine Land Cert with an Instrument rating and couple jet Type ratings. I operate drones under Part 91 rules until the end of the year with the 333. I got my 107 the easy way. I am an advanced ground school instructor working on my CFI whenever I can get time to finish it. Those plans maybe on hold as I opportunity to go into a Part 121 flying job for an Airline, which I am seriously considering and do the drone stuff on the side as needed while my business partners continue to make money. The airline biz is starting to look very attractive again. I have very good strong basis of knowledge for the Part 107 and the Section 336 for aeromodelers. Because of this I am in the process to be one of the first FAA Safety Team members in my area for sUAS's.
  6. That makes sense. I am not aware if the ECOA's wavered LOS ops. I would check with the Vegas FSDO, see if they can get you in touch with the higher ups.
  7. The person you want to talk to to get information from the FAA is your local Flight Standards District Office in Las Vegas. Google Las Vegas FSDO and it should have the contact info. That would be your best bet going agency to agency and bypassing public common numbers. To be honest as a state agency you guys could be bypassing 107 all together and operate on a Public COA which is more involved on the front in, but could set up procedures on the back end that make it less intrusive to doing 107 and the waiver process.
  8. The FAA did not explicitly say it. But they issued an internal memorandum for their ATC facilities not to give out authorizations and that it must be coordinated by the headquarters. Now as a pilot if they did give you an authorization verbally. I would accept it as they are violating their own internal rules. However, just know its not the proper procedure for the system. The reason they did this is because they wanted to in some way, albeit not perfectly establish some sort of standardization on how sUAS would operate in controlled airspace. I talked at length with a local TRACON specialist and they explained why they can't over the phone issue a clearance. The big thing the FAA wanted was to prevent individual ATC facilities from making their own procedures. Also all of the altitudes they pre-approve on those maps which end up in your COA have a precise analysis done to ensure either lateral and vertical separation criteria are met with IFR traffic. Reason why it takes longer if you need an altitude outside those maximums , they have to come up with a procedure that headquarters approves for the sUAS to fly at those altitudes. This usually would result in a waiver over an authorization, as more people would be involved to ensure the sUAS operation can be done safely outside the minimum established criteria.
  9. I don't think you do need permission. For one there is no option for it under the ATC COA portal, there is only SFC-E. You can't even request like Class E to 700 or 1200. If you ctrl-F Class E in the 107 "big document," all the references are just for boundaries of surface areas of Class E at airports. My thought is that they would have explicitly stated just simply Class E and not E to the surface. I think the rationale is that E to surface at an airport would expect a higher volume of IFR traffic coming into altitudes that would put the remote aircraft closer to traffic. IFR traffic is flying the "line." All IFR traffic flies IAW with altitudes that provide obstacle clearance which usually allows for 500 feet of clearance over an obstacle. E-SFC would make sense that you could have an approach without any obstacles but allow the pilot to descend down to the final altitude prior to runway visual decent point. We call this the "dive and drive technique," to descend early to the min altitude to the approach plate. The idea here is that you break out of the clouds sooner, level and proceed to the runway visually when doing a non precision approach. Being that airways and routes have prescribed altitudes that ensure clearance of obstacles. I think the reasoning why they did not state this is because of the existing rules provide a margin safety. We can only go above 400 feet within 400 feet of a structure. That gives a 100 foot buffer for both IFR and VFR traffic with the exception of helicopters which can get closer to things. We are supposed to maintain line of sight of the aircraft at all times unless wavered. This limits how far you can theoretically go with say a DJI Phantom sized aircraft. At some point it would not be very visible. We are to gave way to any manned aircraft. Even in Class G if we cannot meet the other criteria, its not a free for all to take it to extreme high altitudes. Now that's not to say they may not throw that restriction in on a altitude waiver, since now you would be going into controlled airspace where you could argue there is a reasonable expectation of IFR traffic at E-700 or 1200 near the boundaries of an airport or airway. Now you could be outside the limits of an obstacle where a plane could be at those altitudes causing conflict. I think for normal operations since you can't even request it, it implies in my mind that it is allowed as long as you are compliant with the other criteria you can go into it. Now I get that there maybe overlapping regs. I don't think would be in conflict with the 107. All the discussion in the big document is the FAA responding to equipment requirements in these various airspace and why having a waiver mitigates it. There are equipment requirements in E. Is the only controlled airspace where VFR pilots can enter without having to talk to an ATC facility. Being that is the case I think we can infer that the FAA's clear intent is E to Surface.
  10. I think one of the challenges of running a UAS company is getting away from the mentality of being a UAS business and more of end product service provider that offers a full spectrum of services beyond the flying system. When I started 7 years ago it was all about the drone. That was for the exact same reasons AV8Chuck mentioned. You could not just get one that was easy to fly and ready to go with some minimal setup. You were soldering and integrating components to try to piece together a reasonable platform to do a job. You did not have to be an engineer. However, you needed to have some technical understanding on how the systems worked. You were constantly tuning and tweaking the systems to handle a variety different operations. To get quality components came at a cost. Even with the top grade hobby components, you did not have a true professional system. Our first camera gimbal was driven by belts and pulleys attached to hobby grade servos. The quality of the stabilization and the camera movements were very poor. Even when you had the system tweaked to the most optimal settings you had to a bunch of post stabilization to do. This is not the case anymore. I can do ten times the professional work now with a Phantom 4 Pro than I could with the very first large octocopter that I started out with. Because of this, the barrier to entry in the equipment is low. And due to the 107, the barrier in the regulatory environment is also low. The price of admission all around the board is very low. When you have a low barrier to entry to any market you now have to step up your game. You have to provide the end product better than the guy down the street. This means you need to understand the fundamentals of what you are trying to do better than the other guy. Many novices trying to get into this do not understand that. They think if they get their 107 and go out and get a Phantom or like drone, put a website together that clients will come flocking to your door. That is simply not the case. In many cases most newbies do not know how to even use a camera without being auto functions. Many times I laugh when I see posts where they do not understand why their photos or videos do not come out looking vivid or crisp like some other guys post. So the lesson there is if you are looking to do aerial photography. Learn photography and become a photographer if that is what you want to do. There are lots of tutorials online and lots of local photography groups to join and learn the concepts. If you think you do not have the aptitude for this, partner up with someone who does. This same concept goes to the other applications of these. If you want to data gather for mapping, get with someone who knows that aspect and get appropriate equipment. This goes my point as a new challenge and that is internal hiring to established job. Now because the barrier to entry is fairly low. A particular industry may decide it is more cost effective to use a drone for an already established function. The power company who already employs a staff to do line inspections and understand all aspects of it. They may see more benefit in simply investing in the equipment themselves and getting their staff trained to handle the flying appropriately. Now this is in flux at the moment as there is not enough data out there to truly gauge the cost benefit ration of doing one versus the other. On the surface it looks very low. Now they will have to factor in what makes for their business model. Does it make sense to spend $300 a pop for a bunch of employees top get 107 cards? Now you are talking having to possibly set up an adhoc flight department with a competent manager who handles all of the back shop regulatory issues and is the oversight. This is probably necessary to ensure your staff is properly trained and is being held to the arduous standards, so they do not go out and do something that could result in fines. Plus large scale operations will need an internal standardization and safety system to lower insurance premiums. The FAA sort of has set this system up with having the responsible person to adhear to the provisions of waivers and airspace COA's. Now now that manager maybe someone currently at a supervisory level, or it may require an additional hire. These are the unanswered questions. Maybe if you do a lot of inspections, like 100 in quarter in your system. The cost of an additional service provider could run a couple thousand a pop for each inspection plus the labor that you are already providing on site. It may make sense to get a competent flight manager at a reasonable yearly salary to develop and run flight department. If you run a shop that the volume of that work is fairly low it may make sense to get the outside guy. You require him to have a good liability insurance with a named cert and waiver of subjugation and he does the job cheaper than doing it internally. Those are the cost benefit that will need to be done to find the optimal outcome. In the mean the Drone Service Provider will be somewhere in the middle.