What type of equipment do you use?
DST Drones currently operate two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), a DJI Phantom 4 Professional V2.0 and a DJI Phantom 3 Standard. We most often fly the Phantom 4, as it is currently the most advanced drone within the Phantom series. This quad-copter is capable of providing amazing photographs through its one-inch sensor 20 megapixel camera. It is also capable of generating 4K video at 60 frames per second. The Phantom 3 is used in situations where the Phantom 4 Professional is not available or in more "risky" situations.
What does it mean to be FAA Part 107 certified?
In order to provide commercial drone services, remote pilots must be certified through the FAA's Part 107 program. This involves studying for and taking a test through the FAA. The test covers many aspects of responsible unmanned UAV flight, including how to identify restricted airspace and how to operate UAV equipment safely and legally.
Do you have insurance (ie. what happens if the drone malfunctions and flies through a window)?
Yes, all of our commercial flights for clients are insured up to $500,000 through Verifly or SkyWatch. These on-demand services allow us to take out an insurance policy to cover each and every flight. Proof of insurance can be provided upon request.
How high can you fly?
Flying under FAA rules generally requires that drones fly no higher than 400 feet from the altitude at which they were launched. However, if flying near a radio tower (perhaps performing an inspection), the drone is permitted to fly 400 feet higher than the highest point of the tallest nearby structure.
Can you fly at night?
FAA regulations require that flight operations occur from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
My property is near an airport, is drone operation allowed?
Operations within FAA controlled airspace must be first authorized by the FAA. Unfortunately, it currently takes about ninety days to obtain an airspace authorization. The good news is that the FAA is working on a new system which will allow for near real time authorizations. The bad news is that that system has not been rolled out to most of the Central Pennsylvania restricted airspace yet. DST Drones maintains an ongoing airspace authorization for the airspace surrounding the Johnstown Airport, so we are able to fly in that area without seeking additional permission. In other areas, particularly the communities of Martinsburg, Roaring Spring, and State College, restricted airspace does require going through the FAA authorization process. Flying in these areas is possible, but it does require some additional planning. If you have questions, please contact us and we will look your property up to determine if it falls within restricted airspace.
Do I have to use a certified remote pilot for my commercial imagery?
According to Federal Aviation Administration, any UAV acquired imagery that is to be used for commercial purposes must be obtained through a FAA certified remote pilot. For example, realtors are liable for up to $12,100 in fines if they use photos or videos captured by a non-certified drone operator. Before hiring a remote pilot, check that they are properly certified using the FAA Registry.