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08-29-2018, 06:59 AM   #1
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sUAS Operations

So you just passed your Part 107 exam and you're anxiously waiting for your certificate to arrive in the mail!
You can't wait to fly your drone for civil use and start making money!?

Wait.
It's time to start planning now!


This is my exact situation... Just passed my Part 107. The test was easy, but I took a 2-day crash course in aviation to learn some concepts that will help me in the sky as well as give me a higher respect for the people operating in it.


I'll be flying for different projects at work (agricultural monitoring for deer damage, wetland restoration and critical area mapping, elevation/photogrammetric processing, large scale/high resolution aerial imagining, etc).
I also have the benefit of owning my own Phantom 4 Pro for personal use and have been authorized by my employer to use my certificate for personal compensation outside of work!


I've been shooting with my Pentax DSLR for about 3 years now and I've made $0.00 from it... I'm not in it to make money; primarily to decompress from the stress of every-day life. I've never really pursued selling my prints as it's such a diluted market and I don't really have the drive to do that to myself...
However, the drone thing has real potential!

I've already been approached by a few people for small jobs/inspection work. But I need to come up with a solid list of procedures for my operation!


Here's a very basic list of what I'll be doing to prepare my operation:
  • VHF Radio - a 2-way communication is key if I get authorization to fly within a certain proximity to an airfield and need to talk with ATC. Even if you're silent, it's important to tune into the appropriate frequency and listen to air-traffic.
  • Sectional Charts - Keep them up to date! Review your flight plan and make sure you are operating in an authorized location. If you need a waiver or authorization, plan ahead of time!
  • Chart Supplement - Get comprehensive data on the airport you are operating near.
  • Check NOTAMs - PilotWeb: Home
  • Call 1-800-WX-BRIEF for updates and weather!
  • Coordinate a flight crew - brief your Visual Observer (if applicable), make sure communication is established during flight.
  • Emergency Plan - Make sure your entire crew is briefed on procedures in the event of an emergency (lost comm, fly-away, mechanical failure, etc)
  • Look Professional/ setup your Command Center - This may seem silly, but simply putting up cones and rope and wearing reflective vests will deter the general public from approaching you... every flight so far I've had someone come up and ask me the same 5 questions (Is that a drone? What are you doing with it? How fast does it go? How high can you fly it? How much did that cost? etc...) WHY?! I'm flying a device with spinning razor blades that could literally cut your finger off and you want to distract me?!
  • Have all your resources/documents - Make sure the UAV is registered with the FAA. Do you have your certificate on person? Do you have the most recent FAR/AIM book for reference? Where is your SFRA certificate (if applicable)? Did you get a waiver; do you have a copy of it? Preparing yourself ahead of time is KEY to a successful operation.
  • FLIGHT CHECK! - Before any departure, make a final flight check! Are your batteries charged? Controller charged? iPad or viewing device charged? Firmware updated? Can you maintain VSOL (visual line of sight) or do you need to relocate? Do you have a return to home plan/location for the UAV? Are the propellers free of damage; securely fastened? Is the operator (doesn't have to be you operating flight controls) attentive and ready for flight? Is the visual observer attentive and ready for flight? Have final communications been made/approved (if applicable)?


This list is not exhaustive.. But it's a good place to start!


Anyone with things to add, feel free to comment below.

Policy and regulations are constantly changing, so this is a field/industry that you'll need to be actively following if you plan to monetize your operations.



Oh yeah, and this post completely ignores actually flying the UAV and processing data afterwards...

I often reference 5-5-5
- 5 Hours Flight Preparation and Planning
- 5 Minutes of Actual Flight Time
- 5 Days of Data Processing and Edits

^ This is exaggerated of course, but not far from the truth! ^

Don't think you'll be flying a whole lot for your money making idea!
Clients pay for the final product! They don't care how long you were in the sky for...


Any other Pentaxian / sUAS operators out there?


Last edited by UserAccessDenied; 08-29-2018 at 07:07 AM.
08-29-2018, 07:15 AM   #2
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You'll get no help from me but I love this:


QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
I'll be flying for different projects at work (agricultural monitoring for deer damage, wetland restoration and critical area mapping, elevation/photogrammetric processing, large scale/high resolution aerial imagining, etc).
08-29-2018, 07:24 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
You'll get no help from me but I love this:
Thanks!

There's a lot you can do with sUAS outside of Real Estate photography and weddings...
Most people think that's the bulk of it, and perhaps that's true?

But I'm a GIS Analyst by profession and some of the projects we are receiving are just downright awesome!

- Tracking deer in ag lands using infrared sensors at night (would need a waiver to fly at night though...)
- Wetland mapping (would also need a waiver to fly in the wildlife refuge...)
- Photogrammetric elevation data (would... also need a waiver to exceed 400 ft flight height...)


.... there seems to be a common theme here.
08-29-2018, 02:53 PM   #4
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Congrats.

QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied:
I'm a GIS Analyst by profession
I used to do GIS. Mostly delivery route optimization. Nowadays I'm doing more general data management, liberating government records from proprietary systems to places where the public can see them.

---------- Post added 08-29-18 at 05:53 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
2-day crash course in aviation
You're not supposed to use that word around aircraft

08-30-2018, 04:32 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
Congrats.


Thanks!
08-30-2018, 04:33 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
I used to do GIS. Mostly delivery route optimization. Nowadays I'm doing more general data management, liberating government records from proprietary systems to places where the public can see them.[COLOR="Silver"]
Oh I feel ya!

We have a new Open Data policy in Maryland:
Basically any data has to be made public as long as it doesn't contain sensitive information...

Call it job security!
08-30-2018, 04:33 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
You're not supposed to use that word around aircraft
Whoops!

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