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PPA Today: Drones Archives

Recently in Drones Category

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:

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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.

By James Yates

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. 

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 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 to be in-the-know on all things drones!

by Sidra Safri

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Let's be real - accidents happen, even to the most seasoned drone operators. A drone can crash due to an unexpected gust of wind, a bird that comes out of nowhere, or simply because you were distracted. However, there are certain situations that must be reported to the FAA.

Section 107.9 states:

No later than 10 days after an operation that meets the criteria of either paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, a remote pilot in command must report to the Federal Aviation Administration in a manner acceptable to the Administrator, any operation of the small unmanned aircraft involving at least:

a.       Serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness; or

b.      Damage to any property, other than the small unmanned aircraft, unless one of the following conditions is satisfied:

1.       The cost of repair (including materials and labor) does not exceed $500; or

2.       The fair market value of the property does not exceed $500 in the event of total loss.


The rule basically states that if a person is hurt, or some sort of property damage occurs due to the drone crashing, you must file a report with the FAA within 10 days of the incident. All accident reports can be filed at the FAA website.

As always, stay informed on all things drones at

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Texas Drone Users,  

The FAA warns unauthorized drone operators that flying a drone could interfere with the U.S. National Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Texas Military Department's rescue and recovery missions as evacuations escalate due to rising water. 

You could be subject to significant fines if you interfere with emergency response operations. 

Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is not in place. 

Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.

By Trent Schick

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'!

You never know what you'll find out about on theLoop, PPA's members-only social network. Recently, PPA member David Bailey, M.Photog., CPP, of Colorado Springs, shared info we figured deserved another push... and a big THANK YOU!

InterDrone, the biggest Drone Conference and Expo in the country is coming to Las Vegas, September 6-8, 2017! We know from the response to our Drone Zone at Imaging USA last year that drones are currently the hottest addition to a successful photography business. Now you can experience a conference devoted to all things drone... certainly some inspiration you may want to pick up if you're considering becoming a PPA Certified Drone Photographer... which David Bailey also just did!

InterDrone will feature information for builders, buyers, and flyers of commercial drones, technical classes, an expo hall with the "Yes-Fly Zone" drone demo area, expert speakers, and other special events. InterDrone's expo will feature more than 185 unmanned system manufacturers and sellers. The full commercial drone conference features more than 120 panels, sessions, classes and drone workshops. Justin Moore, PPA's first Drone Certified Photographer, is also a speaker at InterDrone!

If you register by August 25th, there is a discount available! David asked for and received another 15% discount for PPA members, so just use the discount code PHOTO when you register! Visit for more information. 

by Sidra Safri
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We all know that there are certain things you can and cannot do with your drone. You can fly a drone for commercial purposes once you have passed your Section 107 drone certification exam. You cannot fly your drone over large groups of people. Pretty much ever. 

To make these dos-and-don'ts (and life as a drone photographer) a little easier, the FAA introduced waivers. FAA Certified drone photographers can apply for a waiver that allows them to fly over people, fly during a moving vehicle, fly at night etc....whatever the case may be. 
We have all heard about these waivers, but still very little has come out on how to apply for them. 

Well, guess what? PPA has a "How to Apply for a Drone Waiver" guide just for you. This new resource walks you through what information you need to provide, how detailed you should be, and what the FAA is looking for when processing your waiver. Check out this cool new resource here!

For more information about drones or to get details on PPA's new Certified Drone Photographer program, head over to

by Sidra Safri
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Every so often you will hear about a drone that got too close to an airplane or a drone that was being flown in an area it shouldn't have. As more people purchase drones for commercial or personal use, these close calls are happening more than ever before and are getting more and more risky.  The FAA reported 1,274 close calls in 2016 alone, and are expecting that number to double for 2017. 

The most recent close call reported by U.S. media outlets took place on July 31st, 2017, when a drone was seen by an airplane preparing for landing in what was stated as "in the vicinity of the runway"! That is way too close for comfort!

Constant violations of drone regulations are forcing the FAA to crack down on violators. Most recently, the FAA arrested a man from Arizona for endangerment and unlawful operation of a drone during a massive wildfire near Phoenix. Besides the possible criminal charges, the fines can get quite pricey. In 2016, the FAA fined one company $1.9 million! 

As a rule of thumb:

  1. Always check the B4U fly app to ensure there are not limitations to flights in your location. 
  2. Stay of the airplane's way!...Keep in mind planes are much larger and faster than drones and are carrying fellow humans. One wrong move from a drone and it can put many people's lives in danger. 
  3. Always fly below 400ft!
As always, check for all the latest drone news and best practices. 


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

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