What some people call spring, we call the beginning of drone season! So there’s no better time to chat about what drones can do for your marketing than now. We recently sat down with our very own FAA certified drone pilot – the leader of HenkinSchultz’s video production team/Partner, Joey Schultz, for a quick Q&A on drones.
Most people think anyone can just buy a drone and start flying. Why does it matter if you’re certified?
You need to take liability issues into account when hiring a drone pilot. Hobbyist drone pilots aren’t legally allowed to sell their footage – so you’re taking a risk with your business if you use footage from an unlicensed operator. I’m licensed to professionally represent your company while flying the drone, and we’re also covered by liability insurance.
What is drone season?
Drone season is our opportunity to fly and capture footage outside during the nicer weather months of the year. If you have a large enough facility, with enough height in the space that you’d like to shoot, then we can use the drone indoors any time of year. But atmospheric conditions have to be right for us to safely operate the drone outside, which is typically from the middle of spring to early fall here in South Dakota.
How did you prepare to get your drone certification?
If you want to take to the skies flying a drone, you actually have to start on the ground. First, I completed online training for a “small unmanned aerial system” – which is what drones are officially known as. I took countless practice tests and spent many hours preparing for them. This taught me some of the basics about aeronautical knowledge concepts like emergency operations, airspace, flight operations, micrometeorology and regulatory compliance. After passing the ground school training, I advanced to get my FAA certification to pilot a drone.
What’s the drone certification process actually like?
Strangely enough, it doesn’t involve actually flying a drone! But you do have to take the test at a designated airport. I went to Brookings, South Dakota for the actual exam. It’s not particularly exciting to watch – you basically are assigned a console and then you go take about 80 multiple-choice questions.
Did you pass on your first try?
Of course! I passed with flying colors.
What if someone has a big project and needs more than one drone?
That’s no problem at all for the HenkinSchultz video production team! I’ve been certified by the FAA to handle multiple drones if need be on a large-scale project. I’m allowed to direct a project with remote flyers, which allows us to have several drones in the sky at the same time. We can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time this way.
I also know the correct way to train and utilize a “spotter” or a visual observer on projects that need one. They are there to assist my flying and make sure I’m aware of any power lines, transformers, tall structures or any other hazards. So, again, there are a lot of important reasons to make sure you have a certified drone pilot.
Contact us today if you’re interested in taking your marketing to great new heights – whether we’re shooting on the ground or in the sky, HenkinSchultz can accommodate whatever your video production needs are!