Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about drone photography classes. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.
If a contractor wants me to take aerial footage of their construction site progress over three years — once a year — what’s the exact FAA rule about flying above people?
Isn’t it forbidden unless they’re part of the video project? Or with a waiver (which can take up to 90 days)? Can the drone be above construction workers? Above moving cars from the streets next to the site? Above people walking in these streets? Even if 90% of the time the drone will be only above the site?
I reached out to my friend and brilliant drone lawyer Loretta Alkalay, to ensure you get an accurate answer to your question.
A commercial operation would require compliance with the new Part 107 regulations, including using a pilot in command who holds a remote pilot certificate.
As far as flights over people, under 14 CFR Section 107. 39, flights over human beings are prohibited unless the person is involved with operation of the drone or is under a covered structure or inside a stationary vehicle that can provide reasonable protection in the event of a falling drone.
So, this section would prohibit flights directly over construction workers, people in moving vehicles, pedestrians and others not participating in the actual drone operation.
Part 107 does allow for waivers of this regulation but what standards or mitigating measures will be required to get a waiver is still not clear. The FAA has asked people to submit waiver requests 90 days in advance but that doesn’t mean waivers will necessarily be issued in that time frame.