Had put this in another forum, but no reponses as of yet
My name is James Pollock, and I am a private investigator. (www.bulldogpi.com)
I would like to engage in conversation with the active members of this website, including it's moderators, on the topic of small unmanned aerial systems for commercial purposes. My understanding is that such use is already taking place across the country, primarily by realtors and subcontractors they make use of to showcase their homes.
My companies webpage is currently setup in a blogging format. One who visits the website and reads it's contents quickly realizes that I don't hold back much regarding my opinions. I see no reason to start now. In regards to the realtors, and other simliar commercial uses of UAS stateside, it appears to me that the FAA has adopted a 'don't ask, don't tell, don't want to know' mindset. I think I read somewhere online that a news media agency was being scrutinized by the FAA for use of a UAS in one of their journalistic pieces. My personal belief is that came about in part due to the agencies stupidity for highlighting EXACTLY that they had made use of a UAS!
My industry has become completely overrun, (at least within Virginia) by illegally operating, unlicensed, uninsured private investigation companies. It's very ironic to me that PI's obtain evidence for attorneys to utilize in legal proceedings, and yet those same attorneys often don't bother to check (or concern themselves with) the legitimacy of the company obtaining the evidence. But, I am digressing here...
In order to survive in my industry, one "thinks outside the box." That is, one constantly looks for new and better solutions to assist their clients. As the former technology director of a school, I'm better versed regarding technology and practical applications of same then many of my fellow investigators. For the past four years now I have wanted to utilize UAS/UAV technologies for investigation purposes. I'm not referring primarily to "who is cheating on who" cases either. PI's work missing persons, surveillance based fraud cases, accident investigations, all sorts of other areas where a birdseye view would be more then a little helpful.
One PI in California makes mention of using UAV technology on his website, but he doesn't go into any details. Probably doesnt want to get phone calls or visits from the FAA. Anyway, I'm hoping that this posting will open discussion regarding use of UAS for commercial applications, board member opinions and knowledge of FAA rules would be most appreciated.
Perhaps we can start here:
"The agency has issued 266 active testing permits for civilian drone applications....."
Can someone offer me their insights and knowledge into obtaining one of the civilian application testing permits?
"Any drone flying over 400 feet needs a certification or authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration, part of the DOT."
Does that imply then if one flies a UAS below the 400 foot threshold, the FAA has no jurisidiction, given understandably a few additional restrictions such as flying over militarily sensative areas, and/or in the proximity of airports?
400 Feet? I believe something similiar to the skywalker platform in some applications, the Draganfly type hex or quadcopter in other applications,and a maximum anticipated height of around 200 feet would meet my anticipated uses quite nicely...
I love lawyer speak. He says, "Here's my opinion, but don hold me to it."
From the LAPD discussion I mentioned about in the new FAA notice, I interpret it as meaning that a COA is required now. And the LAPD claims that such a COA would not be granted by the FAA. How the LAPD can know what the FAA will or will not do is beyond me.
Other than a few cease and desist letters issued to people using models helicopters to take images for real estate the FAA has done very little to enforce its rules.
This is leading to an emerging CB radio situation.
People are just doing it anyway.
Back in the 1970′s there was a very cheap licence required to operate two way CB radio equipment. As radio equipment became cheaper and plentiful people simply started ignoring the licence requirements.
Couldnt of said it better myself. The FAA is kidding themselves
The only issue I can see the LAPD enforcing, is violation of privacy. If someone complains that the papparazzi is flying a UAV over their property and taking pics of them sunbathing or copulating, then that would be an issue. The use of UAV's to snap pics of someone enjoying their privacy in their yard should not be allowed. I don't know if Cali has a castle law, but I am pretty sure WV does. The other issue is of course, safety, but we hopefully are all aware that we are on the hook if our UAV damages people or property.
Gee, promotion of a blockbuster movie sure sounds like a "commercial purpose" to me. Hmm... what say you FAA? No comment?
Yep it most certainly was commercial use, but I doubt anything will be done.
There is a glint of light coming from the end of the tunnel though. More later this week I can't say at the minute.
If you really want to operate in the USA, join RCAPA its not like it will cost anything. I see the anti RCAPA brigade back in 2007 making their voices known. To me on the outside sitting overeas its the nub of the matter people did'nt pull together and if you don't you are going to get the rules you deserve over there.
The AMA is clearly not going to help, they have to keep it non commercial.
So is there any more updates to these rules? Or, how would one go about trying to obtain whatever certificates or licenses to fly UAS for hire?
Taking photos of someone on private property is probably illegal, especially if its in their back yard or where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Public property is another story.
also you need to clearly define UAV. For me that means an aircraft that can be totally autonomous and flying out of site. those are the craft the need to stay under 400'.
There's no law against flying LOS at any altitude.