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PPA Today: Drones: May 2017 Archives

Drones: May 2017 Archives

by Sidra Safri


This week PPA's drone-waiver series addresses Section 107.33, also known as "Visual Observer". According to the regulations, the "Visual Observer", a second person distinct from the remote pilot, must have constant communication with the remote pilot, be able to see the drone, and beware of any hazardous conditions present while in the air. 

In order to obtain this waiver, many requirements discussed in last week's waiver blog about "Visual line of sight" must be met. These include: 

creating a detailed plan 

accessing any possible risks

conducting various practices and simulations. 

Due to the amount of preparation and planning required to satisfy the FAA concerns, only a handful of these 107.33 waivers have been granted.  Remember: if you are attempting to obtain this waiver, make sure you begin preparing at least a year out in advance to give yourself (and the FAA) enough time to process the waiver request. 

As always before any flights, refer to the B4U Fly app and make sure your drone is registered.

Visit for all the latest drones news and updates!

By Sidra Safri

As a continuation of our Drone-Waiver series, today we're going over how to obtain a section 107.31: Visual Line-of-Sight wavier. According to the FAA, a drone pilot must always have their drone in view during operation. This rule was made as a safety precaution since the drone camera can be deceiving about its surroundings. 

Applying for a section 107.31 waiver can come in handy for those who want to survey large fields, forest mines and commercial properties, as well as assess emergency situations before dispatching first responders. 

Since this waiver tends to be so high risk, before you apply for it, it is necessary to come up with an extremely detailed plan. As we have previously stated, the more detail you provide the FAA, the more likely your waiver will be approved. 

With this in mind, there are 3 main steps that can help you succeed in obtaining a section 107.31 waiver. 

  1. Develop a plan and conduct a risk assessment. This gives you a surface-level view of problems you may run into, and also helps you lay out a clear plan of what you intend to do. 
  2. Compile data about your flight plan. This includes what altitude it would be best to fly at, what speed, what you are doing, etc. A great way to do this would be at the FAA's testing facilities. It also helps to partake in an FAA pathway program.
  3. Submit your FAA waiver here, along with all your plans, research, and data. This will show the FAA you have thought through your flight and plan to abide by all necessary safety standards. 
Applying for this waiver will be time-consuming. Between the testing, making plans, compiling data, and the approximate 3-4 month turnaround time, you want to make sure you apply early enough to have your waiver approved in time for the work you need to do. 

As always before any flights, refer to the B4U Fly app and make sure your drone is registered.

Visit for all the latest drones news and updates!

By Sidra Safri

On May 19th, the District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against the FAA's regulations requiring hobbyist drone users to register their drone with the FAA. The Court stated:

"...Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act prohibits the FAA from promulgating 'any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.' The Registration Rule is a rule regarding model aircraft. Therefore, the Registration Rule is unlawful to the extent that it applies to model aircraft."  

This basically means that since the Reform Act of 2012 was passed three years before the regulations were put into place, and since, according to the court, drones classify as model aircrafts, the requirements for hobbyists are unconstitutional.
Looking over the Court's opinion, we at PPA respectfully disagree.  According to the FAA, 1.6 million drones have been registered for recreational purposes. This number is only going to increase as time goes on. Since many hobbyists are not fully aware of the regulations, limitations, and drone waivers required by the FAA, there must be some way to track and regulate all drones that go up into the air. 

Additionally, with the number of close calls reported by airplane pilots and air-traffic control men, it is more important than before to have a way to track drones and ensure they are being operated safely. 

PPA believes that having ample knowledge and understanding of drones is so necessary that we are in the process of introducing our own Drone Certification Program coming in July of 2017. For more information, please email Julia Boyd at 

Stay updated about changes to drone regulations and much more at 

By Bethany Clark

Calling all drone photographers! Have you heard of the General Liability Endorsement, exclusively made for UAS/Drone operators? This type of coverage will help you be more protected while operating your drone on assignment!

PPA's General Liability Insurance has coverage of $1 million per occurrence, or up to $2 million total. If you want to cover your drone under the same terms, it is recommended for you to purchase Drone endorsement insurance as well. Please note that this coverage is sold separately from the PhotoCare Equipment Insurance that is provided with your PPA membership. 

Drone Liability Coverage terms and conditions: 

  • You must be a member of PPA
  • Coverage must be purchased in conjunction with PPA's General Liability coverage
  • Limit options of $50,000 and $25,000 
  • Annual premiums of $150 and $100
  • Must be compliant with Part 107 Federal Aviation Regulations, and also state and local regulations
  • Operation of drone must be in connection with a paid assignment for your business
  • Defense coverage is included inside the limit of liability
  • Coverage extends to bodily injury and property damage of others

Ready to purchase coverage? Call our team at 888-202-1526 to secure your coverage today!

Not sure what the new FAA drones rules are? Visit!

By Sidra Safri

As a part of our drone waiver series, we will continue to talk about the 9 waivers drone photographers can apply for under the section 107 regulations. 

Today our focus will be Section 107.29 and being unable to fly at night. The FAA drone regulations state: "No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft system during the night." This means that, without a waiver, a drone operator can only fly during civil twilight (30 min before sunrise), during the day, and evening twilight (30 min after sunset).*+

Luckily, for many drone-photographers, the most commonly-requested and approved waiver is Night Operation. When applying for this waiver, be specific, but not too specific. You do not want to limit yourself too much. Do your research on the area and show the FAA that you are prepared to handle any possible situation. This includes, explaining how the operator will maintain a visual line of sight with the drone during the darkness, how you plan to avoid people, structures, and other aircraft, and how you will know - in darkness - the location, altitude, and movement of the drone. 

To submit your waivers, visit the FAA's website. After submitting your waiver to the FAA, make sure you pay attention to any correspondence from the FAA to avoid delays. See you next week for part 3! And if you missed part 1, go back and read about Section 107.25 - operation from a moving vehicle, boat, or aircraft.

*Must use anti-collision lights that are visible for 3 statutory miles when flying during either twilights. 
+Alaska: Twilight is determined by the Almanac. 


By Sidra Safri

It's been a year since the introduction of the Section 107 drone regulations and many photographers are still extremely excited! As more and more photographers look to incorporate drones into their businesses, the FAA is attempting to stay on top of the influx of waivers that are coming in. 

At first introduction, the FAA was able to process waivers within 90 days. Now, that waiting period has gone up to 120 days!  To ensure you waiver is approved in a timely manner, be careful to apply for the correct waiver and be as detailed as possible. Over the next eight-to-nine weeks, PPA will break down these waivers, providing you with examples as to when you can apply for them and what sort of information to provide to ensure your wavier is processed as quickly and smoothly as possible.
The first waiver we will address is Section 107.25- Operation from a moving vehicle, boat, or aircraft.  In accordance with the Section 107 regulations, a drone operator may not operate a drone while being transported via any method. However, there is waiver for this! One may apply for this waiver when wanting to get a shot of an aerial view for commercial or real estate purposes, inspecting power lines or pipelines, even simply shooting a video for a client.  Since there is a lot going on logistically, it is understandable that the FAA wants to approve these sorts of uses. 

When applying for a waiver to operate a drone via a moving method of transportation, include as much information as possible. Include why you are requesting this waver, the time of day, a backup plan (just in case something goes wrong). Also, it helps to have another set of eyes on the drone. Include a plan to have someone watching the drone in action to add another layer of safety. The more detail you have, the more likely the FAA will approve your request, and the less back-and-forth there is trying to get additional information. At the same time, the FAA has also requested you be as detailed as possible, but to not ask for more then you need. This will cause delays in your request, and possibly even lead to a denial. To request a drone waiver or see additional waiver options visit the FAA website.

Stay tuned for the next part in our series on drone waivers, or read them below! 

For more info on all things drones, of course, head to


by Sidra Safri

Drones have become wildly popular in the last few years, especially after the introduction of the drone regulations in August of 2016. As more and more people have purchased a drone, the amount of close calls with planes have dramatically increased. To combat these close calls the FAA, along with industry leaders and other governmental agencies and departments, is testing various drone detection systems. 

So far these tests have occurred at:
  • Atlantic City International Airport
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • Eglin Air Force Base
  • Helsinki Finland Airport
  • Denver International Airport
  • Dallas Forth-Worth Airport
Currently, drone detection technology is working with radars, radio frequencies, and electro-optical systems to see which combinations would be the most effective. 

As the FAA continues to gather information, we hope these detection methods set the foundation for a safe and effective way to locate drones near airports. As a reminder, it is always necessary to get prior permission to fly a drone near an airport, and contact air control tower to notify them of your drone flight. It is also best to check with FAA's app B4UFly prior to takeoff for any other advisories. 

Head to for further drone info! 

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Drones category from May 2017.

Drones: April 2017 is the previous archive.

Drones: June 2017 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

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