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:
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.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. 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. 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. 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. 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 FAA.gov and always check the B4U fly app before taking off! Happy flying!