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December 31, 2014
The mission of the United States Association of Unmanned Aerial Videographers (UAVUS) is to foster safe use of airways by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to create a vibrant economic opportunity by responsibly using UAVs for aerial imaging without violating or infringing on the safety and privacy rights of others.
The United States Association of Unmanned Aerial Videographers (UAVUS) is the largest membership association of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) videographers and photographers.
Our mission is to promote and defend the commercial use of UAVs for video and photography, and to provide professional services and educational resources that help our members grow their UAV imaging business.
As a UAVUS member, you have access to the UAVUS Member’s Center that is updated weekly with need-to-know information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other stakeholders that are shaping the direction of the emerging UAV imaging industry.
In addition, there are exclusive benefits such as the online UAVUS Pilot Logbook that members can use to document flight information, free listing in the UAVUS Business Directory, and savings offers from leading UAV education and training providers.
But the real value of a UAVUS membership is being a part of a national community of UAV operators that are committed to the ethical use of UAVs for video and photography and the development of a Code of Conduct that places public safety and personal privacy front of mind. Together, we can make a difference.
November 25, 2014
A decision handed down by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently may have many drone aficionados poised to fly off the handle.
The NTSB sided with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week in a ruling that declared small, unmanned aircrafts and drones are subject to FAA regulation. Because FAA rules prohibit the careless or reckless operation of an aircraft, the agency now has the power to implement a blanket ban on unmanned devices if it so chooses—although paradoxically, that kind of flat-footed response is made unlikely by drones’ increasing popularity.
More probably, the FAA will want to avoid mass public outrage and focus any crackdown on drones operating near airports, (an increasingly common and vexing phenomenon) and in other places where drones could be dangerous, such as fireworks shows, densely populated urban areas, and at high altitudes where planes and helicopters fly.
“It’s a huge win for the FAA, and signals it’s not going to be the Wild West for drones, but a careful, orderly, safe introduction of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system,” Kenneth Quinn, a former FAA general counsel, told NBC News.
July 29, 2014
Video drones are awesome. From shooting incredible nature footage to superhero spoofs, drones can create some spectacular videos. So it’s no surprise that the market is flooded with new drone models coming out. As video drones get cheaper we can expect to see more and more flying through the skies.
However, concerns surrounding drone safety have begun to find their way into pop culture. For example, a runner at the Geraldton Endure Batavia triathlon in western Australia received injuries after allegedly being struck with a drone. In Ohio a man faces felony charges after refusing to down his drone so a medical helicopter could land. Even the name “drone” implies scary robot overlords or unmanned death planes. With all the negative press surrounding drones, it’s no surprise that there has been stricter regulations in regard to drone piloting.
As of June 21, 2014 national parks have been designated “no drone” zones along with airspace surrounding airports. 11 states have already passed drone regulatory legislation with many more to come, so figuring out where you can and cannot fly a drone can be really quite confusing.
Luckily for us the good people at The Verge have created an interactive showing us where drones are prohibited. This map only takes into account “no fly zones” surrounding national parks, military bases, and airports. Before you fly a drone for your next big project you need to make sure your state allows for commercial drone use.
Click here for the interactive map.
This map was created by The Verge. Thanks for sharing guys!
What are your thoughts on “no drone” zones? Should there be more or less regulation? Share in the comments below.
June 4, 2014
After putting money behind the push for revamped commercial drone laws, Hollywood is officially petitioning the Federal Aviation Administration to let filmmakers fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) before final rules are put in place. Seven aerial production companies have requested an exemption from flight regulations, pilot licensing requirements, and airworthiness certification rules, none of which have been finalized. FAA rules allow the agency to grant exemptions for “narrowly-defined, controlled, low-risk situations,” and film and video companies hope that includes using low-cost drones for shots that would otherwise require a helicopter.
“Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) offer the motion picture and television industry an innovative and safer option for filming,” says Neil Fried of the MPAA, which facilitated the petition. “This new tool for storytellers will allow for creative and exciting aerial shots, and is the latest in a myriad of new technologies being used by our industry to further enhance the viewer experience.” In order to actually get the exemptions, however, the companies must prove that their plan would benefit the public good, and that it would not create unsafe conditions. If the FAA approves those exemptions, it will still need to approve individual operations.
Currently, public-sector groups like police, fire departments, or government agencies can obtain exemptions to operate UAVs. According to an FAA release, agricultural groups, power line and pipeline inspectors, and oil and gas flare inspectors have also approached the agency about exemptions and are considering their own petitions. Small drones are already common video tools, but they hover in uncertain legal territory. Private hobbyists are generally allowed to fly them under 400 feet outside populated areas, but the FAA hasn’t created robust regulations for for-profit flights, though Congress has ordered it to do so by 2015. Until then, commercial drone flight is officially banned, with a court case that could legalize it stuck in appeals. In late May, a real estate photographer who uses UAVs to shoot houses received a notice from the FAA advising him that there was no legal framework for his business.
If this exemption is granted, it’s extremely unlikely you’d see Hollywood drones filming a busy street scene in Manhattan, but they could be used as cheaper and arguably safer alternatives to traditional aerial photography on controlled sets. While there’s no timeline for when the FAA will consider a petition, it faces mounting pressure to make commercial UAV flight easier — alongside the film industry, Amazon is reportedly pushing for a way to fly its delivery drones to customers. A number of news media companies, including The New York Times Company and the Associated Press, also oppose the current ban on First Amendment grounds.
March 13, 2014
by Richard Edmund, broadcast news reporter and producer
As a Connecticut photojournalist moves forward with legal action against a police department after being suspended for flying a camera-equipped aerial drone, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is publishing information on its website to clarify rules and regulations, or lack thereof.
The FAA sent a Tweet Thursday linking to a post titled “Busting Myths about the FAA and Unmanned Aircraft.” The FAA responds to issues ranging from what airspace the federal agency controls to enforcement efforts for those caught flying the drones.
The FAA points out in “Myth #3” that it distinguishes no grey area when it comes to federal aviation rules and regulations. “Anyone who wants to fly an aircraft—manned or unmanned—in U.S. airspace needs some level of FAA approval,” the post said. Of course, we know the FAA recently launched a series of test sites around the country to study how to best authorize commercial drone flights. As for the argument the FAA is behind other countries in regulating and allowing commercial drone flights, “Developing all the rules and standards we need is a very complex task, and we want to make sure we get it right the first time,” the post countered.
You can find the entire post by going to F.A.A. Update: “Busting Myths about the FAA and Unmanned Aircraft.”
February 11, 2013
We welcome TJ Diaz (from xFly Films) as a guest blogger – he’s going to write a series on using multicopters for Aerial Photography – including some discussion on the dos and don’ts in future articles. In the USA, there’s been a lot of discussion of the risks and there will be some new rules coming as to who, when, where you can fly. So keep your eyes peeled on planet5D for more! Here’s how TJ proposed the series…
The Aerial world is rapidly growing and we have tested many cam’s from dslr’s all the way to the Epic. This type of production is on the tipping point of becoming a must have in most productions. The only hold back at this point is the FAA and Commercial use of these aircraft in national airspace.
I’m trying proactively stay ahead of the rules and regs curve, and have completed executive UAV certifications with the Unmanned Vehicle University. With only a few more hoops to jump through I am in position very well to legitimately fly commercially in the US.
So many topics to cover from the technology, to the camera’s, and of course tracking rules and regs; the hot topic
TJ’s 2012 ‘tribute’ video:
Over the past decade, news headlines from around the world have reported drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Unmanned aerial vehicles are controlled remotely by pilots on the ground, thus avoiding the risk to their lives. Many drones can remain airborne for 24 hours or more, operating beyond the limits of human endurance. For militaries with access to the necessary resources, drones have become a valuable tool and almost commonplace.
Too expensive for commercial or individual use, the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, a staple of the United States military, is rumored to cost $37 million. While defense contractors were making drones for the U.S. military, hobbyists were bolting iPhones onto their RC helicopters. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) industry is fairly new, with a focus on consumer products. This has been brought about by the demand for low-cost, flying robots that navigate, communicate and sense.
TJ Diaz – Aerial Photography with XFlySystems
One of the most expensive parts of a drone is the hardware for remote flight control. However, the demand for smartphones and their technology has dramatically decreased the cost of miniaturized computers. It is now possible for a business or individual to purchase a flight-capable mini-computer for less than $50. Today, a remote controlled flight hobbyist can get started for around $700 and a Go Pro camera. DJI Phantom RTF
DJI Phantom RTF
Commercial drones, unlike consumer drones, are still illegal in The United States. The American Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t issued rules yet for how commercial drones will fit into the already busy skies safely, nor has it addressed the privacy concerns that come with aerial cameras. The FAA is expected to authorize commercial use of UAV’s in 2015. This will undoubtedly lead to an explosion in demand for robotic aircraft.
Already, in Germany, drones are used to inspect the blades of wind turbines, farmers use them to survey their crops and oil companies use them to monitor pipelines. Filmmakers will put them to use as will journalists, civil engineers, realtors and artists. The U.S. Army is testing unmanned freight carrying drones.
Multicopters are a type of drone with at least four independent props. Each prop and its motor are located at the corner of the aircraft. These props are balanced for stability and ease of use. In the past, flying an aircraft required a thorough understanding of flight controls and piloting skills. With a multicopter, a small on-board computer handles the difficult aspects of flying. One of the most challenging aspects of flying a traditional remote control helicopter is the wind. To hover an aircraft in the same location, an RC pilot must make continual flight adjustments. However, with a multicopter, complex flight adjustments are not necessary. Through the use of GPS receivers, barometric sensors and flight control systems, a multicopter can hover in the same area of the sky indefinitely. This makes it easy to take photographs and video. Businesses and individuals can now benefit in many ways using multicopters.
A multicopter before takeoff
In 2008, a multicopter pilot remotely flew his aircraft next to a large meat processing facility in North Dakota. From an altitude of several hundred feet, the pilot took photos of the surrounding area. The photos revealed a bright red river flowing from the meat processing facility. The river contained biological waste, a violation of EPA regulations. The meat processing facility was forced to discontinue its harmful practices.
Multicopters are a valuable tool for real estate agents. With a multicopter, it’s easy to take aerial photos of a home or commercial property. With a DLSR camera, a multicopter can take high-resolution, color-accurate photos from a unique overhead vantage point, several hundred feet over the subject. Using a gyroscopic gimbal stabilizer, a multicopter can produce a high-quality platform for digital photographers and videographers who want unique and stylish photos for weddings, communal events and much more. Multicopters can be used for nature and wildlife photography, and other photographic opportunities that are not available through traditional techniques.
A multicopter with a Canon HDSLR
While many multicopters have limited payload capacity, some newer models are designed to haul heavier loads. Imagine that a construction firm needs to set up a rope transport between two large buildings, too far apart to throw a rope. With a multicopter, a rope can be easily transported from one building to another. Multicopters can also be used by environmental groups to take air, water and ground samples.
While multicopters are still in their infancy, they are already being used for livestock monitoring, wildfire mapping, home security and oil, gas and mineral exploration. In Australia firm has developed a system that can fly into a hurricane and communicate data directly to the National Hurricane Center in Florida. While technology is growing, the potential uses for multicopters are limitless. The only limitations of multicopters are those of human ingenuity and imagination.
TJ Diaz is the Founder and CEO at XFLY SYSTEMS. He has thousands of flights under his belt and countless hours of designing, building and testing Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) for Aerial Photography and Videography. TJ holds executive sUAS certifications from Unmanned Vehicle University and XFLY SYSTEMS is a corporate member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI); the world’s largest non-profit organization devoted exclusively to advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community. XFLY SYSTEMS is based out of Denver, Colorado.
(cover photo credit: snap from TJ)
In the last 12 months I have seen a number of new unmanned aerial vehicles (also known as drones) entering the market with the ability to capture video or photos. It has been something that I have been quite interested in and have intently researched buying one. However my latest findings have convinced me to wait a few more years before I make a purchase as now I realize they are illegal and the FAA can issue large fines and even shut you down if you are caught operating one for your business. Read on to learn more.
One of the most popular uses for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) has been for real estate photography. They use the UAV’s as an inexpensive alternative to chartering a helicopter to photograph high profile buildings and properties. However, according to the Photography for Real Estate website using these UAV’s is actually illegal and can cost you a fine and even risk being shut down. These rules will change in a few years as Congress did sign a bill into law mandating opening air space to unmanned drones on September 30, 2015. If you are thinking about incorporating UAV’s into your business it might do you well to wait a few more years. I have a feeling by then you will see a lot of manufacturers entering the market offering UAV’s thereby driving down the price substantially. Also by waiting you can avoid being shut down like California photographer Daniel Gárate experienced.
In order to operate the drones, outside of doing it as solo a hobbyist, one needs to have a Certificate of Authorization from the FAA. This site lists everyone who has one of these COA’s and is able to operate a drone for commercial or industrial use legally.
To find out more about the use of UAV’s in your work check out the article posted on the Photography for Real Estate website.
NOTE: see my friends, Nils and Jay, at Cavus Media for some great work in the Washington DC area and across the USA! And tell them Jeff sent you–