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PPA Today: Drones Archives

Recently in Drones Category

By Sidra Safri

Congratulations on the purchase of your drone! This is an exciting development in the world
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 of photography and one we know you will thoroughly enjoy. However, before you can begin taking aerial photos and charging your clients, there are a few things you MUST do! 

1. Register your drone at the FAA's website
If you are only going to use your drone as a hobby and not for commercial purposes, then you do not have to register. However, the moment you decide to charge for your drone photography, you must register with the FAA.

2. Study/ Get Licensed
In order to fly your drone for commercial purposes, you must have a section 107 drone license. This shows the FAA that you know enough about aerial flight patterns, and other facts, to man a drone, and are well prepared in all situations. You can find plenty of study materials at PPA.com/drones or the FAA website. In order to get your certificate, you must score a 70 or higher on the exam. The exam will cost you $150 dollars to take and it must be taken at one of the FAA testing centers which can be found here. Also make sure you are aware of what waivers you can apply for. For more details or to go ahead and apply for a waiver, visit the FAA's website

3. Review your insurance.
With your PPA membership, you are already insured with PhotoCare. However, this does not include drone coverage. You will need to increase your liability insurance. This can be done by contacting Lockton Affinity and they will walk you through the entire process. You can find more information here.

4. Download the B4U fly App
This app is created by the FAA. You want to make sure you use this app before you fly. This will let you know if there are any flight restrictions, as well as if you are too close to an airport or possibly flying in airspace you are not allowed to fly in.

5. Get PPA Drone Certified
This allows you to stand out and show your clients that not only did you put in the time and effort to legally be able to fly, but also you were willing to put in the time to take fantastic drone photos. There is a learning curve to drone photography, and being a PPA Certified Drone Photographer will help you get past that learning curve in no time! For more information, visit PPA's Certified Drone Photographer page.

6. Stay up to date on all things drones.
With drone rules changing every day, it is necessary to stay current on any new developments. Visit http://www.ppa.com/drones/ to be in-the-know on all things drones!


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By Bethany Clark

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This usually goes without saying, but we're going to say it: when it comes to drones, not following the rules can have consequences.

According to the Associated Press, a Northern California man accused of flying a drone over two NFL games last weekend and dropping political leaflets has been arrested. Police cited Tracy Michael Mapes, 55, with misdemeanor charges and released him after a drone was spotted over Levi's Stadium as the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks played.


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By Sidra Safri

Many of you remember PPA talking about the Drone Pilot Integration Program a few weeks ago. Upon its introduction, there has been a large influx of interest, and the FAA wants to ensure that the correction information is shared. 

The FAA will be hosting a webinar on  November 27th at 12:00 pm to discuss the program details in depth. For more information about the webinar, please see the FAA announcement below:

The new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program fosters innovation and advances the integration of UAS into our nation's airspace to ensure U.S. global leadership in the emerging UAS industry. It's taking collaboration to a new level!  

There's already been tremendous interest in the Program and more than 4300 people registered to attend our online webinars to learn how they can participate. It's facilitating partnerships between state, local, and tribal government entities and private industry to gather operational and other data from advanced operational concepts, such as flights over people and package delivery. 

Based on demand, we've added more webinars, which provide you with an overview of the Program, application process, and the specific criteria and deadlines that you will be required to meet. Registration is required: 


The results from the Program will help to inform the development of future enabling regulations that will expand safe UAS operations and help to transition many of the new and novel operational concepts that we manage today by exception into routine, commonplace aspects of our everyday lives. 

Details about applying, timelines, and requirements are at FAA.gov/Go/DronePilot. 

Stay up-to-date about all things drones at PPA.com/Drones.

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By Sidra Safri

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It's Veteran's Day and you probably want to go out into the November sunshine and get some great shots of the celebrations taking place all across the nation. If you're in our nation's capitol however...stop right there. We've posted about this before, but it just keeps happening!... remember Washington D.C. is always a NO-DRONE ZONE. Meaning that, no matter what time of the year it is, you cannot fly a drone in the D.C. airspace. 

If an individual is caught flying a drone, not only will they have to deal with buying a new drone, but will also be subject to fines up to $1,500 and other criminal penalties. 

Bottom line: don't fly your drone anywhere near D.C!




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The Department of Transportation has taken its first steps this week to increase the government's involvement in the use of commercial drones. 

The program entitled "Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program" would allow various safety tests and improvements of advanced operations. This program would also work with state and local governments to provide regulation clarity and continue to develop regulations in a more efficient and practical manner. 

This initiative may possibly allow the opportunity to explore drone package delivery (think Amazon) and test security and data links to ensure proper communication between pilots, drones, and planes. The improved connection will help prevent drones from not only crashing into each other but also planes. For more information visit the Department of Transportation Website here. 


by Sidra Safri

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New York has taken the first big step in advancing its drone corridor. This corridor is a 50-mile area of airspace over mostly rural lands located near Griffiss International Airport and the old Airforce base.

The corridor will allow drone pilots the opportunity to develop traffic management systems and further safety and performance testing. However, those using the facility are still required to abide by the Section 107 drone regulations including only flying in the line of sight.

New York is one of seven other states to have a corridor. The others are located in Virginia, North Dakota, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, and Alaska.

The corridor will not be fully operational for another year as the state continues to design the area and install necessary safety equipment to ensure flight testing can begin.

As always, stay informed on all things drones at PPA.com/Drones

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By Trent Schick

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Have you been using drones in your business but want to take things further and set yourself apart from the competition? Well PPA has recently launched the Certified Drone Photographer program! 

This unique program ensures that you are not only legal to fly drones, but also equipped with the education to take the best pictures using drones. Before you jump in, there are just a few things you need to know.

To be eligible for the program, you must meet certain requirements:  

  • PPA membership
  • An FAA Section 333 Certificate OR Remote Pilot Certificate (Part 107)
  • Proof of General Liability Insurance
  • UAS Registration Number
  • Logbook summarizing 30 hours of Flight Time

If you meet these requirements, you can apply for the program, which includes a $75 fee. After your application is successfully processed, you will be able to schedule your Certified Drone Photographer exam, the final step in your certification. The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions, costs $25, and you must score an 80% or higher to receive your certification.

The Certification is valid for two years, after which time you will need to recertify. Recertification can be completed by uploading your new FAA score or updated remote-pilot certificate.

Get more information on Drone Photographer Certification and access to the application, so you can learn to not only be 'Bona Fide' but 'Certified'!

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By Sidra Safri

Under 14 CFR §99.7 entitled "Special Security Instructions", the FAA has the ability to issue additional drone restrictions based on the recommendations of other governmental agencies. 

On September 28th, the FAA issued a new set of restrictions at the request of the Department of Interior (DOI). The FAA and the DOI have decided to restrict drone flights up to 400 feet of the lateral legal boundaries of the following sites: 

  • Boston National Historical Park, Boston, MA
  • Folsom Dam,Folsom, CA
  • Glen Canyon Dam, Lake Powell, AZ
  • Grand Coulee Dam, Grand Coulee, WA
  • Hoover Dam, Boulder City, NV
  • Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, PA
  • Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis, MO
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, SD
  • Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake, CA
  • Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York, NY

'Lateral legal boundary' means that no drones will be allowed to fly within 400 feet of the official boundaries of the site. 

These restrictions will go into effect starting October 5th. For more precise guidelines and more information, visit the B4U fly app

These new rules are important to keep in mind (and to share with fellow drone pilots and drone photographers!) as those who violate FAA restrictions will be subject to potential civil penalties and/or criminal charges. Nothing you want to be inadvertently involved with!

So remember to bookmark this page to stay up-to-date on all things drones: PPA.com/Drones.

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Drones are everywhere you look, including PPA's educational library! PPAedu has an extensive library filled with hundreds of educational videos on topics that interest professional photographers. Aside from being interesting, these videos are packed with loads of information to help you brush up on, or learn more about photography. In this case, drone photography!

Buying Your Drone: What You Need to Know with Randy Braun & Stacy Garlington from DJI! First time buying a drone? Watch this video and learn which features you should be looking for when buying your first drone Learn important key features to look for: price, camera and lens quality, etc. and how to choose a drone that fits your needs. 

The only way to access these helpful videos is through your PPA membership. As a PPA member you can access these videos anywhere, anytime. Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, photographers who have a PPA membership can tap into hundreds of programs to help them Be More! Get full access to all the PPAedu and PhotoVision videos.


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By James Yates
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Drones are everywhere you look, including PPA's educational library! PPAedu has an extensive library filled with hundreds of educational videos on topics that interest professional photographers. Aside from being interesting, these videos are packed with loads of information to help you brush up on, or learn more about photography. In this case, drone photography!

"Using Drones in your photography Business" with Randy Braun and Stacy Garlington joins Randy and Stacy from DJI as they explain the added value drones can generate to your photography business. Learn how to broaden your client base and expand your line of services.

The only way to access these helpful videos is through your PPA membership. As a PPA member you can access these videos anywhere, anytime. Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, photographers who have a PPA membership can tap into hundreds of programs to help them Be More! Get full access to all the PPAedu and PhotoVision videos. 



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This page is a archive of recent entries in the Drones category.

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