Drone Safety Seminar

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to visit the Pittsburgh-Butler Airport for a drone safety seminar.  The course was presented by representatives from the FAA and Steel City Drones.  The majority of the seminar was information that I was pretty much familiar with based upon the FAA's Part 109 test, but I did pick up some interesting information/tips:

  • Windy.com - a live "heat map" of wind conditions.  Worth a check before heading out to fly.
  • Drone companies should focus on building a nice 90-second demo reel.  I've been posting some of my flights over on my YouTube channel, but I don't yet have what you would call a demo reel.  Hopefully I can put something together over the next few weeks.
  • We were able to check out some pretty high-end drones including a DJI Matric 200 and a an Inspire 2.  Both of these professional level drones had some very cool features, but come with a price tag that one might expect!  However, as the industry matures we'll see more and more of these features included at the consumer level, which is going to be very interesting.
  • There were a number of actual plane pilots attending the seminar, and it was interesting hearing their take on UAS regulations.  My takeaway was that many of these folks felt that drone regulations and rules are overly-strict at the moment, and are probably hurting the industry.  One gentleman said that as a licensed pilot, he is permitted to take his single-engine plane that weighs several thousand pounds and fly it over crowds, but drone operators are not permitted to do so, even though the size of the drone pales in comparison to the size of the plane.  Many in the group felt that drone regulations will (slowly) evolve to be less restrictive as the technology and licensing/certification processes evolve.

All in all, it was a worthwhile day and it was very cool to see how a "full-time" drone company operates!