FAA Grounds Minnesota-Based RC Aerial Photography Business


Under the FAA’s remote control guidelines, most photographers and videographers can get away with doing as much UAV photography as they want. Problems arise when you try to turn your aerial photography into a business, as one Minnesota-based company found out earlier this week.

Fly Boys Aerial Cinematography‘s drone fleet was recently grounded by the FAA, because they won’t actually be issuing commercial permits for UAVs until 2015. Here’s the report from the Twin Cities’ own WCCO:

The company has strict safety protocols and rarely flies its drones over 200 feet, so they hope to work with the FAA to get the restrictions lifted soon. They argue that the services they provide, especially those involving real estate, have a “huge economic impact on the Twin Cities.”

But with privacy concerns leading to anti-photography laws like the one proposed in New Hampshire, 2015 may even be too soon.

(via TheBlaze)

  • Norm Cooper

    the gov’t needs the airspace clear so that it can drop drone bombs on those who it deems a ‘threat’ to national security… like those with guns… or cameras… or brains

  • Pete

    The government needs to find a way to monetize this, first. If you think you’ll be able to fly one of these suckers for anything less than a few thousand dollars a year…you’re crazy.

  • emeldastarr79ma

    the gov’t needs the airspace clear so that it can drop drone bombs on
    those who it deems a ‘threat’ to national security… like those with
    guns… or cameras… or brains

  • Greg

    Especially those scary black guns!

  • Greg

    Any pilot of a non-RC aircraft will tell you two things 1) they have the same type of requirements for a commercial venture involving flying and 2) in the case of an accident the FAA has a rule to cover any and every situation and the pilot will be at fault regardless. The fact that they will not address this until 2015 tells me that they are not yet done with the rule making process. The nature of commercial photography for real estate purposes likely means flying the RC aircraft over more “sensitive” areas than a for-fun outing would. Non-commercial RC pilots will likely fly at a park or a big field and get some really cool photos. However the nature of flying for commercial real estate photography will typically require flying over neighborhoods and in more congested city areas. The FAA wants commercial flights to have a higher level of pilot training due to the increased risk of these flights. I, for one, am happy that the FAA is uncomfortable with someone flying their RC, or non-RC, aircraft over my neighborhood and that they want to make sure said pilots have an extra measure of training. It is not a huge stretch to imagine an unqualified pilot starting their own RC photography business and flying their aircraft into the side of a house or, worse yet, the side of a kid. The FAA “owns” the US airspace and is correctly following their mandated purpose. Sure they are moving at their normal cautious snail’s pace and it sucks for the FlyBoys but they are doing so for the common good. It’s easy to see an unfair aspect to this story until you are the one taking damage from an under-qualified pilot. I wish them luck dealing with the FAA but don’t hold much hope for them. Truly a crappy situation.

  • Steven Koch

    As a pilot and a photographer I know all to well about the restrictions. I looked into buying one of these UAV’s for photography but then contacted the FAA to find out the regs. Basically they don’t want these small aircraft to flying into restricted airspace and some that are not pilots just might not know that they are flying in restricted airspace and that could create allot of problems, especially if there is a mishap with UAV with a commercial airliner or GA aircraft. Some don’t know that restricted airspace in some areas are from ground or surface to lets say 5000′ and a radius of 5 to 20 miles. There is allot that plays out in this, more than most know. I read the regs and it clearly states what the rules are. Trust me on this one, you never want to challenge the FAA and think that a person can get away with breaking them. They are bigger, have allot of money, time, power and there is allot of them.

  • debbygoel81no

    my classmate’s mother-in-law makes $77 hourly on the laptop. She has been out of a job for nine months but last month her check was $14843 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on  Ask25.c­om

  • Antonio Carrasco

    I think the main problem is that the company decided to call themselves “Fly Boys”

  • klist

    These guys were trouble from day one and were not responsive to anyones safety concerns. they flew near teenagers and wouldnt wait til they were done with practice to be safe when asked. I think they should all be pilots and i thinkthey should be able to do business but safely like pilots do with training not just guys with toys.