We have been working hard daily since launching our drone law practice group in January 2014 (its our Two Year Anniversary!) and it is easy to forget how hard it is to figure out the basics when just getting started.
Here is the beginner’s guide to getting legal in the drone world. it is just general information and not legal advice, but we think it is a good start to figuring out where to go when you are at the starting line.
Legally Flying an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in the United States
- What drone(s) will you be operating?
- Rotorcraft offer much versatility and can carry heavy payloads.
- Fixed wing aircraft can be used for surveying projects over large areas of land.
- Which FAA pathway applies to you?
||Public Certificate of Authorization
|· Available to individuals, private organizations, and some government entities
· Anticipated 120 day turnaround time from FAA
· Applicants can fly nationwide, 5 miles from an airport
· Person operating the drone must have FAA pilot license (“PIC”)
|· Available to public agencies conducting governmental functions
· Anticipated 60 day turnaround from FAA
· PIC may not need a pilot’s license
- Register your drone(s) with the FAA.
Commercially operated drones must have an N-Number (tail number). This is NOT (yet) the online web version for hobbyists that has been in the news. That would be easy.
- Once you’re approved under Section 333 by the FAA, think about applying for non-standard COAs or amendments.
- Will you be operating drones that you haven’t been approved on?
- Will you need to operate higher than 200 feet above ground level, or within 5 miles of an airport?
- Will you need to operate at night?
- Insure your drones and your operation.
- Look at commercial, UAV-specific insurance. Discuss what you are looking to do with your broker.
- Consider looking into both liability and hull
- You could lose your commercial insurance by failing to follow the terms of your 333 approval!
- Get it in writing!
Contracts protect you, your clients, and your employees. Consider having a standard service contract prepared in advance of being contacted for jobs. Entering into discussions with a prospective partner? Think about asking him or her to sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect your company information.
- Protect your intellectual property.
- Copyrights protect original works of authorship, such as photographs and videos.
- Trademarks protect the identity of your brand.
Further information and knowledgeable, passionate attorneys can be found by calling us at 312-201-8310 or filling out the form below.