Licensed drone pilot explains the requirements for flying for commercial use

Source: KALB
Source: KALB(KALB)
Published: Feb. 4, 2017 at 4:28 PM CST
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Bo Phillips is no stranger to flying.

"I used to fly for an airline as a first officer,” said Phillips. “Currently I’m employed as a commercial pilot, doing some corporate work out of Shreveport."

So naturally when drones became a craze, he knew he had to get involved.

"We've been kind of at the forefront of all the rules and regulations, so we're right there at the front," explained Phillips.

He's now the owner of AeroPro out of Shreveport. The company travels the state getting video of events like the Pro-Life March in Central Louisiana.

While he says flying at home with your family is allowed, it's a different story when you fly for a business.

"For commercial use, which is what we're doing, there's a licensing requirement, and a knowledge of the national airspace system, and how to work inside of that system safely," explained Phillips.

He explained that getting your license is an easy process, and can be done through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

"It's really just a written test you can take,” said Phillips. “And you submit the paperwork to the FAA and get your license."

Once you have your license, and your drone is registered through the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), Phillips said the next thing to be wary of is where you can and can't fly.

"You have a requirement to notify your airports within five miles if you are going to be flying,” said Phillips. “Also to operate overnight, or over people, there's requirements to all that."

Philips said not following these requirements could land you a heavy fine. For example, according to the FAA, SkyPan International was recently fined $200,000 for flying drones in airspaces against FAA regulations.

Phillips also said not registering the drone could land you a fine of nearly $30,000.

"So being versed in those requirements and what those restrictions are is important," said Phillips.

Philips said once these steps are taken, the most important step is knowing how to fly before getting one over crowds of people.

"Get a practice drone,” said Phillips. “Don't fly them if you're not willing to crash, because you will."

For more information about AeroPro, as well as the requirements to fly drones for commercial use, check out the attached links.