If we can leave home for recreation & exercise, can we go out alone to fly? VIDEO

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Hello everyone! 

My name is Jason Bagnell and I took Alan's Part 107 class last May.  I managed to get a 97% on the exam!  Thank you so much Alan for being the best instructor!

This morning I was wondering if we were allowed to leave our property during the Coronavirus lockdown (in the USA) to fly our drone.  If we can go out for exercise and recreational activities, would we be able to go fly?  (Away from people, of course)  The whole point is to keep people apart from each other to stop the spread of the virus.

I did a little research and made a video.  I would like everyone's comments.  What are your views on flying during the "lockdown"?

Best wishes and stay safe everyone!
Jason Bagnell




Edited by Jason Bagnell
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Your thoughts, anyone???

Have any of you continued to perform aerial projects for your customers during the lockdown?  Can we use any photos and videos taken during this period commercially due to the lockdown regulations that state that only "essential services and businesses" are allowed to operate? 

Would the FAA now classify most of what we do now as "recreational" because only essential businesses and services are allowed to operate?  If so, that would keep us from using our work in any way that is "for-profit" (in furtherance of a business) -- unless you are working for one of these essential businesses or services.  Maybe I'm overthinking this...

I would love to see others' comments on this topic!

Stay safe ---  Jason

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Good video Jason!

At the end of each month, I shoot orthomosaic photographs of construction sites for general contractors in South Florida, which they use as proof of completion on their government projects.  Since construction is still considered an essential business, and my firm is serving a role in that process, I have not encountered any problems flying. I have also obtained FAA flight authorizations during this period to fly near airports.

In every instance and location where I fly, I maintain a safe distance from people. Similar to you, I wear a safety vest so that people generally stay away while I am flying. I have spoken with several police officers who saw me flying the jobs, but they were just curious about why I was at a location, and did not say that I should not be flying or outside.

I also wear a mask, particularly when there are people nearby, such as recently a group of folks sitting on the sidewalks 50 feet from the take off and landing zone during a job in Miami Beach.

Thank you for providing a concise and thorough explanation of flying a drone during this time.

Be well,



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Good morning everyone.  Yes, last week I took the drone and my wife (or is that my wife and the drone) out to a nearby forest preserve. which allows drone flights.  Few people were there:  hiking, biking, picniking.  I just went to an empty area, and flew the aircraft for a couple of hours.  No one paid attention to me.  If its ok to visit the area for outdoor recreation, and the location is legal, they're really isn't anything the local tyrants can say or do.


Everyone be safe, wear your mask, wash your hands and stay away from other people and stay home except when you need to attend to basic needs:  Food, medication, exercise, and flying for mental health.




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Great info, David & Howard! 

Does anyone know if we can fly for commercial purposes if the project is not related to an "essential service"?    i.e.  Shooting pictures of an empty city to build our portfolio for use in our own marketing.  The consensus is that flying for recreation and flying for Part 107 essential service projects should be fine but what about any not-so-essential Part 107 flying for our own commercial purposes.  That's an area I'm fuzzy about.  

On a side note, I just found an article that states that Florida's Governor declared that Real Estate is an essential service.  That should mean that all forms of real estate photography (aerial and otherwise) are allowed.  That's good news for many Part 107 drone pilots!  Back to work!   See the article below: 


Thanks again -- Jason

Edited by Jason Bagnell
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3 hours ago, Jason Bagnell said:

That's an area I'm fuzzy about.

It’s not that your “fuzzy” about this, the law is fuzzy.  

If while flying recreationally a private pilot takes pictures and chooses to sell the rights to the pictures in the future, the FAA does not consider that a commercial activity.  You would be required to be a commercial pilot if you were hired to take the pictures.  But if you use a drone they consider it commercial if you financially benifit from the pictures at anytime in the future. 

Despite what they say, the FAA is not authorized to regulate commerce.   The opportunity to capture these types of photographs will probably never happen again in our lifetime.  Have you heard of the expression “manage by forgiveness?”  

I’m also coming up with another phrase — “you can take the money or you can take the credit, but not both.  Take the money.”  If you want the credit shoot recreationally and show and tell everyone how great you are.  If you want the money, use the photographs and never take credit for them.  

Unfortunately there really isn’t any advice someone can give that ends with you getting the shots you want.  This is not advice but it’s what I would do, shoot first, not post the pictures anywhere for a while.  But collecting these photos is really a once in a lifetime opportunity that I would not allow some bureaucrat to take away the opportunity. 

Remeber, you still have to fly recreationally leagally. 

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On 4/11/2020 at 10:55 AM, Jason Bagnell said:

Florida's Governor declared that Real Estate is an essential service

We have the same thing happening in NH. Real Estate is an essential service, and I have done a few commercial real estate shoots since our Emergency Order banning non-essential service activities went into place (although may business volume is way down). However there were other aspects of that Order that I also interpreted as allowing me to operate commercially or recreationally. Like @Jason Bagnell I took a printed copy of the relevant Orders and regulations with me, to demonstrate that I had been responsible in my research before flying, in case anyone questioned my activities. I suggest that every drone operator check their own state regulations related to Coronavirus, and make sure you are within them. Things are changing fairly quickly, and in a non uniform way across the country. So your best option is to refer to the actual rules released by authorities in your area, and follow them. At this time I am fortunate to live an area where I believe that I can fly without any additional restrictions introduced by the Corona virus situation, and I am very grateful for that. Your situation may be different. 

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  • 5 months later...

I am out every day, try to be around people and typically do not wear a mask, because coronavirus is not real. it is made up to control people, and no government has the lawful authority to force people to comply with social distancing and the wearing of face masks. I have gotten into severe arguments with the local police, and even went as far as telling them to please arrest me, so I can sue them later for unconstitutional enforcement of unlawful and unconstitutional mandates for no legitimate reason. the hospitals have never been overloaded and the hospital staff has never been overworked, and it is their job. 


I am out flying everyday it is not raining, and right now I am in a dunkin donuts in Chicago typing this and looking at emails waiting for someone who wants to try drone flying. I am not wearing a mask and do not even have one on my person. I have asthma and also smoke cigars and am not concerned with a made up virus that is being used for control of the American people. 


Sweden did not do any restrictions and they are just fine and people have normal lives, in Illinois there have been 95,000 suicides since MARCH when the idiot governor started the lockdowns for his political gain. 

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I didn't realize there were members who held these absurd views.  Maybe I should reconsider my membership.  I have had no problem flying.  I keep away from people, fly only outside, keep a mask in my pocket in case people are too close and I do my best to follow CDC guidelines and common sense.  Our governor in Illinois has tried to do a decent job managing the response to the virus, not perfect, but a sincere attempt despite the failures of the federal government.  BTW, the constitution is an imperfect but otherwise marvelous document to foster self government.  One thing it is not, IT IS NOT A SUICIDE PACT.  As of today, we know of 195,000 deaths directly attributed to the virus, probably more.  Seems pretty real to me.

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