It seems like everyone owns a drone nowadays. In fact, just in Massachusetts, more than 7,500 people have registered themselves as drone owners with the FAA. Many of these people have more than one drone. Estimates suggest that there are another 30% that didn’t register, pushing the number close to 10,000 hobbyists with drones in the Commonwealth. None of these people can fly commercial operations legally.

As you can see from our site, Pictures From The Sky has an FAA 333 exemption. This provides approval by the FAA to fly commercial aerial photo & video. What does this mean and why is it important anyway?

  • It’s the LAW!   To fly drones commercially in the US, you need to have a FAA Exemption and a pilots license.  It’s very black and white.  Commercial means for payment.   Some operators will suggest that they take drone and ground shots, only charge for the ground shots and give the aerials to you for free.  They attempt to skirt “commercial use”.   The FAA figured that scheme out a long time ago when they established clear policies for commercial use of traditional aircraft – way before drones were invented.
  • It means that the person actually flying our drones needs to have an FAA pilot’s license that is current.
  • It means that we have a Visual Observer (VO) at all times, meaning a minimum 2 person team.
  • It means that we have to fly very safely and have a ton of rules we need to follow regarding operation and airspace.  We’ve had to decline many job requests because of these rules.
  • It means that we value safety and legality.  We have a lot invested and a lot to lose, so we take our operations very seriously.
  • Although not required by the exemption, we carry a million dollar liability policy.   Over 81% of 333 Exemption holders fly without this type of insurance.

There are about 170 FAA 333 Certified owner/operators in Massachusetts, of which Pictures From The Sky is one.  Some are active, some are not.   It’s very easy to determine who has an FAA 333 exemption – ASK THEM to see a copy of it.  Ask them to see the pilot’s license.  (there are a few other documents, but these two are the key ones)  A certified 333 operator has worked very hard to earn and obtain these documents and will not hesitate to present them to you.

It’s a very complicated issue.  Drop us an email or call if you have any questions.

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