Why hire a licensed and insured drone pilot and not the guy next door?
When looking for a drone service provider it may seem easier just to go to Craigslist and hire the college kid who is trying to make a couple bucks on the side, but is he or she licensed? “But I just need a couple quick shots, I don’t care if they are licensed” you might say. While this may be the case, there are many reasons you shouldn’t hire just anyone with a drone (or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as they are more formally referred to) to get you those shots you need to sell your real estate listing, capture your event from above, or inspect your crops.
For the longest time, it was a very gray area, hiring a drone operator. The rules were not clearly defined, but all that has changed since August 29, 2016. The FAA released the new Part 107 regulations that codified the commercial use of drones in United States airspace.
Now if you hire an unlicensed and/or un-insured provider you can be held liable for any injuries, crashes etc. If you are a real estate agent / broker the consequences can be rather stiff including loss of real estate / broker’s license as well as committing a federal crime.
It’s illegal by federal statute (a crime), for anyone to “knowingly and willfully” employ an individual who does not have an airman’s certificate, to act in that capacity. See: 49 U.S. Code § 46306(b)(8). The penalty is a fine of up to $250,000.00, or up to 3 years, or both.
This is an excerpt of an email from a FAA official about the use of unlicensed operators:
“Liability for unauthorized operations can fall on both the pilot and the person who hired the pilot.
14 CFR 1.1 defines operator as:
“Operate, with respect to aircraft, means use, cause to use or authorize to use aircraft, for the purpose (except as provided in §91.13 of this chapter) of air navigation including the piloting of aircraft, with or without the right of legal control (as owner, lessee, or otherwise).”
In this case, someone who causes the operation can be liable as well. And with the way the civil penalty provision is written, the pilot would only face a fine of $1,100 per violation (as an individual acting as an airman), while the person who causes the operation could be liable for a fine of $11,000 (as an individual not acting as an airman).
FAA UAS Integration Office”
So, if you’re going to hire a drone pilot, these are some of the reasons you’ll want to make sure they are a licensed and experienced drone pilot.
A licensed drone pilot has spent extensive time learning the laws and regulations established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and has passed certification tests from the FAA and has been vetted by The Department of Transportation back ground check process.
If there is a mishap, you don’t want to find out the hard way how much damage a drone falling out of the sky can create, and cost. Always use someone that is insured.
Aside from getting their job done, it is their mission to make sure that everyone is safe. Part of the extensive training the pilot goes through is knowing when to fly and when not to fly.
The pilot has the reputation of themselves and their business to uphold, so you know that you are going to get a high-quality finished product.
Professionalism is top priority. As the customer, we know that you want someone who will do the job right and do it well. Hiring a licensed and insured drone pilot will deliver professionalism 100%.