Ad image

PPA Today: Drones: June 2017 Archives

Drones: June 2017 Archives

by Sidra Safri
drone flyer smaller.jpg

During the past several weeks you've learned about various waivers you can apply for under the Section 107 drone regulations. Of these various waivers, the one PPA gets the most questions about is the ability to fly over people. As drones become more popular, many of you want to incorporate drones into your wedding, real-estate, and event packages. This makes many clients excited and also helps them add a WOW factor to their photos. However, before a drone photographer can LEGALLY fly a drone over people, they MUST obtain a Section 107.39 Waiver. 

Before we get into how to successfully obtain a wavier to fly over people, you should know that obtaining this waiver is extremely difficult. In the past year that the FAA has been granting waivers, only three entities have been allowed to fly drones over people, one of them being CNN. However, if you are willing to show the FAA you are prepared for anything, the chances for your success will drastically increase. With that in mind, here is what the FAA is looking for when determining to grant a 107.39 waiver:

  1. Start early. Most waivers are being granted in about 120 days. However, this waiver is averaging about a six-month response time. Make sure you start early enough to get your waiver approved in time.
  2. Contact the FAA regional Director directly. This helps in giving you specific tips on what exactly they are looking for in order to grant the waiver. This also shows that you are being proactive and will do what it takes to get this waiver granted. 
  3. When you apply for your waiver, provide a small time window. The FAA is more likely to approve smaller time windows to ensure the possibility of accidents occurring is limited. The so called "magic number" is six hours or less. 
  4. When you start talking to members of the FAA offer to do a demo. This puts their minds at ease and helps them make sure that the drone operator is flying carefully and masterfully, therefore further avoiding any possible injury to people on the ground. 
  5. Have a medical crew on the ground. Just in case something does go wrong, having a medical crew on sight shows the FAA that you are prepared in case of an emergency. Always better to be over-prepared then under-prepared. 
  6. Last but not least, show the FAA that you will be getting a release to fly over the people, helping you limit your liability. 
Don't forget to fill out your waiver at and always check the B4U fly app before taking off! Happy flying!

By Sidra Safri
As you know, this series on Drone Waivers is meant to provide you with the best information to make sure your waivers get approved.  At the same time, PPA likes to be honest. With that in mind: It is very unlikely you will get a section 107.37a waiver approved.

A section 107.37a waiver is the ability not to yield to other aircraft. Since the regulations went into effect close to one year ago, no Section 107.37a waivers have been approved. The lack of approval makes sense.  A drone under section 107 cannot weigh more than 55 pounds, and must yield to things that are significantly bigger and more powerful than it is, such as private places, commercials, etc. 

If and when a Section 107.37a waiver is approved, PPA will let you know and provide information on how you can get approval.
As always, before you fly, make sure your drone is registered and you are checking the B4U fly app!

by Sidra Safri
drone flyer smaller.jpg
As we make our way through the nine drone waivers available from the FAA, you will see that this fifth one is probably one of the most detailed-oriented waivers we will talk about. The Section 107.35 waiver allows the operation of multiple small unmanned drones. Most of the time this will be used for entertainment companies such as Intel or Disney. However, the most recent usage can be seen during the opening scene of Lady Gaga's Super Bowl performance in 2017.

With so many drones operating in such close proximity, it can be easy to see that one drone malfunctioning can cause a chaotic domino effect. For this reason, obtaining a Section 107.35 waiver can be hard. When applying for this waiver, the FAA wants you to have prepared the following:

  1. You must show that you have detailed knowledge of the layout of the area. This helps in preventing run-ins with taller items such as mountains, trees, buildings etc. 
  2. Ability to communicate with Pilot and Visual Observer in an instantaneous manner. This insures that the moment something goes wrong, or something unforeseen comes in the way, the pilot has enough time to change course or react. 
  3. Show that if one drone malfunctions or crashes, it won't damage the others. 
  4. Your Geo-fencing system works. Geo-fences are virtual geographic boundaries that are put into place to notify the pilot when a drone exits or enters the set area. 
  5. File a Notice to Airmen. In this notice you want to include the altitude at which you will be flying, the locations, and the duration of the flight. You want to make sure this is submitted 72 hours before your flight, but not less than 24 hours before. This lets other pilots know that they are sharing the airspace with a drone. 
  6. Also, in your plans, state and show that the ground speeds of the drones will be no more than 7 mph. 
In order to get a better idea of the required provisions take a look at the Waiver Granted to Disney.

As always, no matter if it's one drone or multiple drones, don't forget to check the FAA's B4U fly app to make sure you are able to fly. 

About this Archive

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

Drones: May 2017 is the previous archive.

Drones: July 2017 is the next archive.

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

Live Chat is closed