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Flying drones for commercial photography

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by bigpern23, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Perhaps this should be on the journalism topics board, but I thought it would get more eyeballs here.

    I'm wondering if anyone here owns a quadcopter or similar consumer drone, and if anybody flies their drone for commercial use?

    I want to use my DJI Phantom 3 to expand my fine art offerings for my photography business, however, I would be required to acquire at least a sport pilots license and an exemption from the FAA for Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. I have no interest in learning how to fly an airplane and spending $5,000 to do it.

    Oddly, hobbyists and recreational flyers are not required to get a license. They must register their drone and follow restrictions set forth by the FAA, but other than that, they're good to go. A commercial operator must adhere to the same set of restrictions as the hobbyist and doesn't need any additional skills, so I don't understand the reason for the distinction.

    Am I wrong that this law could be seen to violate the First Amendment? If a hobbyist can operate the drone without a license, why should a photographer need to acquire a license and an exemption to operate under the same standards? Should a news organization be required to have its photographers get pilots licenses before they could print a photo taken by a drone?

    I would think drone photography could be invaluable to news organizations, whether they're covering sports, natural disasters, local events such as state fairs, etc. They'd give readers a whole new view of their towns and might actually draw some eyeballs.
  2. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    bigpern23 likes this.
  3. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

  4. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Interesting article, thanks. I know the FAA was under the gun to get some sort of legislation passed to keep up with the exploding drone market, but it seems like they crafted overly broad restrictions that are negatively affecting operators such as myself. I can fly my drone, make photos and videos, post them on the internet and let people enjoy them, but if I try to sell them, I face stiff monetary penalties and potentially jail time. It doesn't make a lot of sense.
  5. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Liberals disliking regulations when they apply to them is one of my favorite things.
    Songbird likes this.
  6. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for stopping by, YF. You really contributed to the conversation. Good work. FWIW, conservatives who preach about the sanctity of the Constitution unless it doesn't apply to them is one of my favorite things.
    Gator likes this.
  7. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member


    So sorry you finally met a regulation you didn't like.

    Not surprised it just happened to be one that applied to you.
  8. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Also among my favorite things are middle-aged posters who respond with "LOL," like teenagers.

    Not sure what prompted you join this thread to take a potshot at me (and, not surprisingly, one that doesn't apply to me), but feel free to contribute to the conversation at hand. Do you agree with the FAA regulations? If so, why? Are you bothered at all by the First Amendment implications that are involved? As a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, do you take issue at all with the anti-business nature of the regulations?

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.
  9. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    I suppose I'm against it in general. Seems arbitrary and rushed through. And, I'm not sure how they came up with the cost.

    But, since I'm not an expert on the issue, I'm open to being convinced otherwise.
  10. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Such an interesting topic. Just not sure where I stand on it.
    As a general principle, less regulation is better than more regulation.
    REquiring differing levels of training and accreditation depending on the use seems arbitrary or possibly punitive.
  11. fossywriter8

    fossywriter8 Well-Known Member

    Just for the record, I'm a conservative reporter who sees a First Amendment issue with what's going on in New Jersey.
  12. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    There is a First Amendment concern there, but that seems to be one small part of a larger concern with regard to overall commercial use.
    It seems as if concerns about a proliferation of drones is a Chicken Little argument, but there was a time when the horse-less carriage was a fad.
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