In the ever changing world of technology and innovation, it is often cumbersome and expensive to find contractors that operate newly christened industries legally. This translates to higher costs and longer turn around times, especially in the UAV/Drone market today. Companies and stakeholders in our community hear the warnings. The warnings are all over the news. The FAA took only two years to come up with a completely new license. The amount of drone spotting by general and commercial aviators has increased rapidly, and it is only a matter of time before a drone and a manned aircraft collide to catastrophic end.
We have heard it enough. But why does it matter for business? I’m not here to lecture the masses on the ever dangerous airspace encroachment of UAV’s, particularly ones not flying under section 107 or 333 exemptions, no. I am here to make this case to the logical business mind: It is in your favor to spend the extra green and opt for a UAV operator with proper licensing.
Hiring a licensed drone operator can be cheaper.
Imagine you’re a realtor. Realtors can be the most simple customers for UAV operators to handle, as the flights offer generous space margins from the subject of the shoot and shoots often can be successfully managed with a Phantom series or similarly sized UAV. Realtors are extremely likely to hire non-licensed, uninsured, cheap labor, or do it themselves. Could you imagine the cost, however, if one of a numerous selection of misfortunes befell the Phantom? A predatory bird feels threatened and takes it out of the air, a motor- due to lack of professional maintenance- fails due to corrosion of after working flights down the beach line, GPS signal is lost causing stability to become an issue: one thing is sure, the damage can be real and it can be costly.
Should the Phantom hit a window or a car, thousands of uninsured damages could be attributed to the operator and if they were flying without a license, it could mean more than just damages. The FAA could impose a fine or even incarceration. An insured and licensed drone operator would file a claim to the insurance company, file a claim to the FAA, pay his premiums, and so long as there were no malicious circumstances (alcohol in system, improper care or reckless operation of the aircraft) the operator will live on to fly another day.
Hiring a licensed drone operator can be efficient
The right operator has plenty of experience for those with more complex tasks than realty shoots. I will focus on construction inspections for an example. In addition to specialized equipment that can handle many different sensors (my company flies a DJI S1000+ currently for special operations). A proper operator should be comfortable within any area of the flight envelope. Skill and experience allow for close up shots well within the 1.5 meter horizontal accuracy of my Phantom’s GPS. Shots like these carry much more risk and puts skills to the test, requiring much more manual flight inputs than a relaxing flight for realty.
Shoots such as these can’t be carried out by an inexperienced pilot. Certainly not in a time efficient and safe manner. A pilot comfortable with his or her aircraft knows his or her aircraft’s limits and gets inspections done much quicker, with less risk of incidents. Insure and licensed drone operators can mean the job getting done quicker, that may mean large monetary savings. Time is money after-all…
Hiring a licensed drone operator can be innovative
I love my job. I love the ideas people have and I love finding ways to utilize my equipment to accomplish more. Flights are more than a paycheck. Because its more than a paycheck to me, I want to do it properly and legally. I certainly do not want to put any of my clients in the predicaments above. A side effect of loving my craft is finding fun ways to use drones with other companies. Maybe that means flying custom sensors, cameras, or attachments. Maybe it means using existing hardware differently. Either way, someone with a passion is always going to find newer and cooler techniques than someone just pulling down a paycheck. This means better, more interesting shots for the realtors, more ideas on streamlining inspections for the construction industry, new analytics for agricultural companies, and a more pleasant experience all around.
Andrew J Kobza – CEO and Licensed Drone Operator- Naples Drone Solutions –www.NaplesDroneSolutions.com
Posted in earlier form on: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hiring-licensed-uavdrone-contractor-why-matters-andrew-kobza