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So I am starting up a drone business on the side for doing crop scouting and working with insurance agencies.  The problem I am seeing so far is that some farmers have bought their own with filtered gopros or something similar for NDVI imagery.  How do I approach these farmers and explain that what they are doing is in fact illegal as none of them have gone out and completed the necessary requirements for commercial use of their drones.  I have even heard from a crop dusting pilot that drones were flying over the SAME fields as they were trying to spray!

My question is the approach and the explanation of benefit on why a dedicated legal company should be used?  Or do I just explain the safety reasons behind it and hope that they get more education?  

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What do you think of making a pamphlet explaining the new FAA regulations.

Problem is how do you tell a farmer who purchased a drone for their own use on their own property that they are wrong. 

How does the FAA enforce a rule when they (unless there is an incident) really does not know the UAV exists. I can go to Best Buy, buy a phantom 4 and fly it without ever registering it with the FAA. The FAA doesn't know it exists and the pictures/video is never uploaded to the web. Unless they take down a crop-duster the FAA would never know.

However, what stinks is you are correct. You have to give them something they don't have. Convince them you are correct and build a portfolio to help you get more clients. However, with that said it is cheaper for them to get a part 107 than it is to pay you to inspect their crops once a month. 

Sell your time. If I remember correctly, a remote PIC just has to be present during operations and able to take over the controls if needed. They can fly the unit and you can stand next to them and "Train them" Let's face it the fun in UAVs is flying them. Then you can encourage them to register the UAV with the FAA and then the FAA is in the loop.

You get paid for doing nothing, they keep their equipment, they fly it and you make money. As an added bonus, they know you and if they can't fly because of a crash who is the first person they call? 

Thoughts? 

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21 minutes ago, Marcel Graham said:

What do you think of making a pamphlet explaining the new FAA regulations.

Problem is how do you tell a farmer who purchased a drone for their own use on their own property that they are wrong. 

How does the FAA enforce a rule when they (unless there is an incident) really does not know the UAV exists. I can go to Best Buy, buy a phantom 4 and fly it without ever registering it with the FAA. The FAA doesn't know it exists and the pictures/video is never uploaded to the web. Unless they take down a crop-duster the FAA would never know.

However, what stinks is you are correct. You have to give them something they don't have. Convince them you are correct and build a portfolio to help you get more clients. However, with that said it is cheaper for them to get a part 107 than it is to pay you to inspect their crops once a month. 

Sell your time. If I remember correctly, a remote PIC just has to be present during operations and able to take over the controls if needed. They can fly the unit and you can stand next to them and "Train them" Let's face it the fun in UAVs is flying them. Then you can encourage them to register the UAV with the FAA and then the FAA is in the loop.

You get paid for doing nothing, they keep their equipment, they fly it and you make money. As an added bonus, they know you and if they can't fly because of a crash who is the first person they call? 

Thoughts? 

I never thought of just being a PIC and not utilizing my own equipment...I like it.  Figuring out the appropriate rate to charge may take some trial and error.  

 An informational pamphlet would be useful on hand to show them and include some portfolio shots of work that I have done.  I agree with you on the difficulty for how the FAA can and enforce any of this, but its not if an accident will happen just when and then it will be headaches all around plus a black eye on the drone community as we have seen before.

 

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52 minutes ago, Juggernaught said:

I agree with you on the difficulty for how the FAA can and enforce any of this, but its not if an accident will happen just when and then it will be headaches all around plus a black eye on the drone community as we have seen before.

 

Drones have a bad wrap, that is why I always use the term UAV. The industry is not regulated. Kids can buy it with their 8th grade graduation money at the local store and fly in about an hour after charging. They don't care about regulations.

Accidents are going to happen and all UAV owners will be blamed, it is up to us to educate and fly within the laws that have been provided. Pretty soon, like you said, there will be a serious enough accident where the FAA will tighten restrictions even further. I hope for all our sakes we are on the correct side of the fence and have our UAV Classifications up to date and current. It might get a lot harder to get one when that happens. 

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1 hour ago, Juggernaught said:

Sell your time. If I remember correctly, a remote PIC just has to be present during operations and able to take over the controls if needed. They can fly the unit and you can stand next to them and "Train them" Let's face it the fun in UAVs is flying them. Then you can encourage them to register the UAV with the FAA and then the FAA is in the loop.

Just remember you are responsible for everything at that point. You need to use your checklists, make sure their equipment is operating properly and do safety inspections of the craft. You are also responsible more the maintenance schedule of the units that you would be working with. Remember to factor everything in when you think about cost.

Just explain to them that in the long run it is cheaper, and that FAA fines can run in to thousands of dollars. 

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3 minutes ago, Marcel Graham said:

Just remember you are responsible for everything at that point. You need to use your checklists, make sure their equipment is operating properly and do safety inspections of the craft. You are also responsible more the maintenance schedule of the units that you would be working with. Remember to factor everything in when you think about cost.

Just explain to them that in the long run it is cheaper, and that FAA fines can run in to thousands of dollars. 

Ahh very good points that you mentioned.  I will keep that in mind.  

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On 9/8/2016 at 8:49 AM, Juggernaught said:

So I am starting up a drone business on the side for doing crop scouting and working with insurance agencies.  The problem I am seeing so far is that some farmers have bought their own with filtered gopros or something similar for NDVI imagery.  How do I approach these farmers and explain that what they are doing is in fact illegal as none of them have gone out and completed the necessary requirements for commercial use of their drones.  I have even heard from a crop dusting pilot that drones were flying over the SAME fields as they were trying to spray!

My question is the approach and the explanation of benefit on why a dedicated legal company should be used?  Or do I just explain the safety reasons behind it and hope that they get more education?  

A farmer is not doing any illegal action if he pilots his own drown to monitor, survey crops, livestock, etc. They still need to comply with the rules but since they are not receiving payment for their own personal use they are writhin their legal rights to pilot a drone. They are not getting paid for doing their own monitoring of crops. Some will say they will make money hey of the crops so piloting the drone brings them payment eventually. But the fact I s there are not getting direct payment for specifically using their drone. 

If I am wrong, please let me know how they are operating illegally. 

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Just now, Aquarion75 said:

A farmer is not doing any illegal action if he pilots his own drown to monitor, survey crops, livestock, etc. They still need to comply with the rules but since they are not receiving payment for their own personal use they are writhin their legal rights to pilot a drone. They are not getting paid for doing their own monitoring of crops. Some will say they will make money hey of the crops so piloting the drone brings them payment eventually. But the fact I s there are not getting direct payment for specifically using their drone. 

If I am wrong, please let me know how they are operating illegally. 

They are operating it illegally because it is used for business purposes.  Before I got my license I couldn't offer to fly my drone for a farmer for free.  Just because money is not exchanged doesn't mean it wasn't used for business purposes.  A farm, livestock etc is income to a farmer.  

If they are flying a drone over a family event and taking pictures that is hobby use.  If they are flying over crops, scouting them, counting crops, finding where they need to add more fertilizer or find a leak in irrigation that is business use.

Go here to page 11 it plainly states that farmers are considered business. ( Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft)

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Good catch. I have read this many times and just overlooked that one. This will be an issue that raises some questions and how to enforce the law.

Who is going to sit at some guys farm and turn him in because he is doing this? Will farmers that are uav owners forced to take the part 107 by law? What if he is actually just a hobby pilot?

If the situation arises he could always just say he is flying his uav as recreation. I'm not arguing that he is right or wrong but that it will be hard to prove that he is operating the UAV for business purposes. Hopefully the future brings more light to these issues that educates farmers which will be much better for you to do business with farmers.

As for you original question, maybe sending a flyer explaining how a license is needed to operate a drone on a farm for business purposes. Incorporate this in your business flyer. This keeps you out of directly speaking to them and avoiding a confrontation and also shows your pamphlet on your business. They are 3 options they can take - Continue to operate illegally, get their own license, or hopefully give you a call to do the work.

I am interested on how you are going to approach this. Please let us know how it turns out. 

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