Who Is The Drone Geek?
In 2017 Chris Fravel, who was living in Jersey Shore, PA at the time, received a DJI Phantom 3 4K as a gift. That gift would spark a passion for flight and aerial cinematography and photography.
Three years, two moves, and one drone later, Chris opened Drone Geek Productions (d.b.a Drone Geek, Lancaster) with the goal of elevating the UAV multimedia game through a combination of superior flight skills and unique perspectives.
Chris is a Part 107 Licensed remote pilot that takes FAA regulations and requirements very seriously while flying. Years of education, practice, and training have equipped the Chris with remote flight skills that are second-to-none, allowing for more creative shots and even more unique perspectives for your project. There are very few shots the “Drone Geek” cannot capture.
Why Part 107 Licensing Is Important
When considering aerial multimedia for your project it is important to understand rules and regulations put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the local entities with jurisdiction over the area in which you are filming or shooting. Do you have time to do all of that research? I would wager a guess that you don’t. That’s why hiring a pilot that has the knowledge, skills, and time to understand these for you is crucial because there are consequences for not properly adhering to the FAA’s Part 107 requirements when capturing drone multimedia. Here are important keys for understanding Part 107 and its importance:
The FAA Can Dish Out Hefty Fines
A Part 107 License opens the door for drone multimedia to be captured for the benefit of furtherance of a business. “Furtherance of a business,” is a phrase you might hear when you speak to drone pilots — commercially licensed or hobbyist. This is an important phrase to understand because it regards to the use of drones and/or any multimedia they capture for commercial use or “in furtherance of a business.
Penalties for flying a drone and/or using multimedia captured by a drone without a Part 107 pilot overseeing the operation can be stiff. Civil penalties levied by the FAA start at fines in excess of $32,000 USD per incident of non-compliance. Criminal penalties range from fines up to $250,000 USD and/or a 3 year prison sentence.
Don’t subject yourself to these penalties. Does the FAA monitor commercial use for small projects closely? Not at all. However, from time-to-time they do pay attention and are extremely thorough in their investigations of commercial non-compliance with Part 107.
Whether it’s Drone Geek Productions or somebody else that fits your project’s needs, always hire a Part 107 Licensed pilot. It will save you a ton of headache in the event that the FAA comes knocking on your door for information about who piloted the drone used to benefit your business.
Let’s not lose sight of the fact that basic airspace (known as general or Class G airspace) is not always where the use of a drone will take place. Understanding controlled airspace and how to navigate it for even a brief flight takes things to another level and can be a clunky, complicated process. Not to mention there are times where a pilot must communicate with an Air Traffic Controller (ATC) to get permission for the flight at hand.
In the event that a flight takes place in restricted airspace or is not granted permission within a controlled airspace the FAA may impose civil penalties of up to $32,000 USD per incident. Criminal penalties range from fines up to $250,000 USD and/or a 3 year prison sentence. If there is a threat to national security, under the Homeland Security regulations and the American Patriot Act these violations may be considered acts of terrorism that may result in decades-long prison sentences or a lifetime of incarceration.
A Part 107 Licensed pilot will have mastered this knowledge and do all of this work for you ahead of time to ensure the flight goes smoothly and without any issues regarding airspace permissions.
Maybe you or your company already has a drone that you or a colleague really want to control for your project — that is fantastic! A Part 107 Licensed pilot does not need to be in control of the aircraft being used during the flight. They merely must be present during the flight to oversee the operation. This is a role titled “Remote Pilot-In-Command (PIC).” If you or a member of your team insists on flying the aircraft, you are welcome to do that for your project as long as you have a Remote PIC present for the flight and in charge of the entire operation. This means if you are flying and the Remote PIC tells you to bring the drone back or to land it, you must adhere to his or her request.
This is because the old adage is true: knowledge does not equal wisdom.
Remember, the only numbers you need to consider when thinking about who you want to hire for your project are: 32,000 / 250,000 / 3 — the consequential trio that you will face if you are not in compliance with Part 107.