Available in Best Buys across the country for $999 starting May 29, the Solo is arguably the most tricked-out personal drone ever, loaded with two Linux computers, a 25-minute maximum flight time, GoPro integration, and the capability to wirelessly stream video to nearly any device. In other words, Solo allows you to see what your drone sees, in real time, and then show your friends.
The FAA requires commercial drone pilots to have a certificate of authorization to fly, but commercial users like Walton can apply for exemptions to other rules.
“I’ve applied to the FAA for an exemption for me to shoot,” Walton said. “What’s going to happen is they may require people to have licenses, and I want to be exempt from that. They’ve already granted a few exemptions to the movie industry, and a few real estate companies have them.”
Justin Kyser (right), co-CEO’s of Digital Sky, operate a DJI Inspire 1 as part of their aerial photography/videography business. Kyser said he did get a cease and desist letter from the FAA, but that was while operating under a different company name.
‘It’s just so easy to outwit those FAA dumb-dumbs. They send the C and D letter and we just change the company name. Har-har-har.’
The Facebook image was captured by a DJI drone at what appears to be several hundred feet above a corner of its new campus in Menlo Park, California. The building sits about 2 miles from Palo Alto Airport—easily within the 5-mile zone in which drone operators must obtain permission from an airport before conducting a flight.
Palo Alto Airport’s air traffic control tower said it received no such request or notification of the flight.
Even if it had, current FAA regulations also prohibit any commercial use of drones unless a company has obtained a waiver, and Facebook isn’t among the handful of companies that have.
Mr. Williams is incorrect in understanding of the “5 miles of an airport” rule.
Q1: What kind of airspace is above the FB office complex? What class airspace is over the Menlo Park airport?
A1: This is the answer: http://skyvector.com/?ll=38.617109181814,-121.801486629982&chart=16&zoom=
But if one isn’t a pilot, he would be just another clueless individual writing about a subject without an understanding of the facts.
That never happens by the media, now does it?
Q2: As to the the images that FB posted of their property, are they commercial use?
A2: Since FB is a corporation, it could be argued that any images they post are for their corporate/profit goals. In that case: GUILTY!
Do these pictures of the campus really make people want to sign up for a new FB account? Buy some advertising on their site? Meh, not so much.
Were the images, taken by –The Face Book Corporate Photographer? As part of a PR campaign, “Operation, Let’s Show The Public How Rich And Big We Are.”
They look like images taken by an employee, flying their drone for fun. Then a, “Hey, look at these pics I took of the campus the other day.” email was passed around. I am not a fan of FB but I don’t think these constitute commercial use.
Q3: Any understanding how the flight software for DJI works?
A3: Obviously not. DJI software will not let you take off in an area that is prohibited. Take a look here: http://www.dji.com/fly-safe/category-mc . It will not let you exceed altitudes or encroach off-limits airspace. (Update: 27 April: It was pointed out that a DJI drone flew into the WH restricted area. I do not know if the Phantom’s software was hacked or if it worked correctly–causing a shut-down and forced landing.)
Please understand the subject you are writing about.