Adding Drone Aerial photography as a service or a training opportunity for Rob Hill was an idea he thought he was ready for. Then came new regulations and research making flying the drone something seriously to think about.
Basically it all depends how much time you have and your budget.
If you are thinking of flying at all, first you need a safe place to practice. Keep in good standing with Model Aeronautics Association of Canada and your local flying club.
Rob took a ground school on line course which helped him get insurance. The course and insurance were around $2,000.00 for the year. Now he can fly under the Special Flight Operations Exemption. If the Ministry of Transportation questions Rob while flying he now is prepared with the knowledge and documentation to produce preventing the outcome of a huge fine and of course flying safely.
You can contact companies that will help you take a course and help you get ready to apply for Special flight certificates but that comes with a substantial price tag.
Is it worth it?
Paying someone to train you and help your company with all the paper work is a great idea if you know you will be making the sales back. The Special flight certificates would also be different across Canada so you have to look at where you will be shooting. You can do the paperwork your self but I’ve attempted once so far and this task is still at the bottom of my to do list.
Can you fly without a permit? You can…but there are many restrictions making it very difficult. Either with an exception or with a Special Flight certificate there is a lot do to pre flight.
Examples before flying: Perform site Survey, Define boundaries – actual operation will be carried out. Class of Airspace, Altitudes and routes approach and departure, Hazards associated with nearby industrial sites, Areas of high-intensity radio transmissions or electromagnet interference, Limitations and/or restrictions of local by-laws, Location and height of obstacles (e.g. Wires, masts, buildings, cell phone towers, wind turbines, etc. Built up areas, major roadways, recreational activity sites, Security provision to limit public access, Predominate weather conditions, Minimum separation distances from person, vehicles and structures…
Rob is currently shooting aerial footage for the 2017 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals. Out of the 10 locations we are shooting he is only able to shoot at seven of them flying under Special Flight Operations Exemption. These locations are rural and still very difficult to fly in. Before flying you also have to let the Ministry know where you are flying. They expect that you know the rules and regulations once you have submitted a flight day.
Our advice, talk to other drone operators that have done so legally. Hire a professional with the credentials and proof of insurance if you don’t have the expertise or time to put in to fly a drone.
Here are some helpful links.