Lack of Clear Flight Rules Hampers Commercial Drone Adoption

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2016-04-11 Print this article Print
Commercial Drones

He said that in his presentations to such agents, he's constantly informing them about the rules for drones and of the consequences of failing to follow them.

Adding to the confusion are state and local rules for operating drones. Liz Pelzel, channel marketing manager for drone maker Parrot, said that when people actually realize that there are drone flight rules, most people just think about the federal regulations, not the local rules. She used the area near her home in San Francisco as an example. "On the very local level, the city parks are regulated," she explained, "but I wouldn't know where to go for that."

Pelzel said that people don't know where to drill down to find the information they need or even how it applies to their drone use. As a result, she said, she frequently sees people flying drones in a park near the Presidio, a former military base in San Francisco, which is one of the areas where drone use isn't allowed. "Knowing that you have to seek information is quite a challenge," she added.

So the question becomes, with all of this missing, confusing and sometimes contradictory information, where do you find out what the rules are? Unfortunately, even that isn't always clear.

You may not be able to find out if you buy your drone from a big box store such as Best Buy, Costco or Walmart because their employees have little or no knowledge. While some big retailers do provide training, you have to depend on catching the right employee at the right time and hope they were trained on commercial drone use.

However, one option is to hire a licensed commercial drone operator such as LoPresti and have them do the flying. This may be somewhat more expensive than doing it yourself, but you're much more likely to get the results you want legally and safely.

For companies that don't depend on flying drones as a main part of their business, this option may be less expensive than hiring the staff and buying everything you need to conduct safe and effective drone operations.

If your drone needs are more extensive, then perhaps you do need to begin commercial operations, and in that case the best solution is to contact a knowledgeable drone reseller and asking for help.

Such a reseller will be familiar with the federal rules, as well as any local regulations, and they can help you learn what else you need to do, from hiring a licensed pilot to picking the right equipment. You can find such a dealer by going to a drone maker or distributor website, finding the companies that handle their products, and then doing your due diligence to find a responsible dealer who handles commercial needs.

If this sounds like a pain in the neck, well, it can be. But your business requires that you select the right vendors in every other endeavor and that you perform due diligence. There's no reason to expect drone operations would be any different.



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