FAA Exemptions for 3DR platforms

Hi Guys,

My company recently received our FAA Exemption using the 3DR Aero-M and X8+for Agricultural survey and monitoring. We are Aerial Precision Survey located in Idaho. I am hoping to connect with others who are using these platforms for Ag use or hoping to use them to discuss all things related to it.

Up till now we have been processing a high volume of NDVI imaging all for free for people we are working with to maintain a relationship as we waited for our exemption so we are really excited to get started.

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  • I'm looking into the FireFly6 for the tilt-rotor (VTOL) features that give one 45 min or so of duration.
    About $2k. Will let y'all know how the exemption process goes. Will be registering my Iris+ & this fixed wing unit. Thje FireFlY6 uses an APM and a Pixhawk...both 3DR core products.
    My proposal will highlight the autopilot systems, which are well known to the UAS R&D community.
    Seems there is a need for a technical lab to rate and classify these "drones" to include usage & safety capabilities.

  • Thanks Clayton...

    From your recommendation and after looking into the specs of the camera, we just ordered a Canon S100 for testing of mid altitude normal image survey mapping with our Skywalker planes.


    1.  Do you use any form of gimal to stabilize (at least roll) the s100 in your Aero?

    2.  Do you have any advice on getting the FAA exemption (assuming we get tired of waiting on the NPRM,... or congress doesn't pass the interim rule soon)?

    3.  What type of pilot license do you and/or your team have for operating the UAV's?  This has been the show stopper for us in requesting an exemption...  we have much sUAS/sUAV pilot experience (LOS, FPV, Auto, etc.), but have no manned licenses currently. 

    Let's stay in contact ...

    Mike Governale

    Aerobot Services


    Drone Services
    Drone services, aerial videography, aerial surveying in North Carolina. Has been developing safe, affordable and reliable aerial videography and sur…
    • Mike-

      Try looking at Ian's Canon mounts here: IMP Concepts

      He made me one for my Canon Elph 330HS (which is running CHDK of course!) He has mounts for the S100 on the shelf and is very responsive.


      Canon S100, S110, S120, SX260, G9X, ELPH 110IS, 130IS, 180, 320HS & 330HS Fixed Mapping 3DP Mount &…
      Canon S100, S110, S120, SX260, G9X, ELPH 110IS, 130IS, 180, 320HS & 330HS Fixed Mapping 3DP Mount & Adapter for 3DR Iris, Solo & X8
  • Hi Clayton.

    Congratulations on your FAA exemption.

    In response to your desire to connect with others, we are also using the 3DR products in both our aerial "Videography" and "Surveys" line of drone services.  We have been hard at it for the last four years and originally were building our own copters and planes and assembling electronic sub-components (mostly foreign sourced) before starting to focus on our core services.   We settled on 3DR and its flight control, copter and plane platform for a reliable U.S. vendor with a confidence that they will be endorsed by the FAA.

    We currently do not have an exemption, but while patiently waiting for the "rule" approval, continue to develop and offer our services free.

    In case you didn't see our post, "NDVI Wheat Crop Surveys", from April of this year.....  I thought it may of interest to explain how we currently using the products for aerial surveying and NDVI imaging with our local farmers.

    Here is a link to the post:  

    NDVI Wheat Crop Surveys

    For the services shown in this post, we fly a 3DR y6 with an APM 2.5 system.  We program missions that fly under 170 feet triggering by distance a modified infra red Canon camera.  We later stitch and convert the panaroma to an NDVI map.

    For the larger fields, we also build and fly the full size "Skywalker" plane with a Pixhawk board (which is the platform that 3DR uses to brand their Aero), using the same electronics and carrying the same sensors, etc. 

    If you view the "Surveys" link on our website, www.aerobotservices.com , it shows the most recent wheat and the first of the "Tobacco" NDVI mapping.

    We are currently testing to select a light weight camera system with a much larger sensor area than the standard, so that our mission's acreage and camera triggering won't be hampered as much by the altitude height, speed, and camera's fps equation.

    In any case, I hope this might be of some help to you and your team.

    I'm glad that you can now actually begin to make some money.

    We hope to also do the same in the near future.  As I'm sure you know, this has been a costly investment, but in a new exciting technology that will provide so much to so many.... 

    We are based in Raleigh, NC, where we hope to share in providing these new services to our state's farmers.  They are a great group and have graciously offered their time in knowledge sharing and their farmlands as our testing grounds.

    Mike Governale

    Aerobot Services

  • For anyone who missed our original post on applying for a COA or exemption, here you go-

  • Congratulations!  I am in the process of writing 333's for use in Hawaii.  I welcome all advice.


  • 400 ft. works nicely for agricultural imagery. Idaho is a great place, I did potato research and went regularly to Morey's steakhouse in Burley a few years ago.

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