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How many people do you need to fly a commercial drone safely?

How many people do you need to fly a commercial drone safely?

When working as a commercial drone pilot shooting footage for TV commercials and movies, pilots have to be able to fly their multirotors in a wide array of  circumstances. This includes flying indoors and outside under various weather and lighting conditions. Needless to say, this can create a stressful environment for pilots, who can have equipment costing $10,000 to $20,000 in the air.

If you want to work professionally, try to establish a three-person crew, consisting of the  pilot, a gimbal/camera operator, and a safety spotter to keep everybody informed about the aircraft’s location and any hazards that may be around it. When you have some practice time, try to do it with all three members of your crew.
Pick the area where you are going to fly, making sure you’re not near an airport, a crowded area, or any place that could get damaged bya wayward multirotor. Practice working with each other so that you always know what the other person is doing and maintaining good communication. Each member of your crew
should be an accomplished pilot so that if anything does happen, somebody else can take control of the rig.

Safety is rule number one. It’s important to establish a preflight checklist that you can go over before each flight. Do the preflight checkby working from the top of the multirotor down. When on the set, assemble your rig with your team in a secure area that nobody is allowed to enter. Once the rig is assembled, redo your safety check on everything, starting with the props, then the GPS module, the fail-safe system, and all the wire connections for the batteries and speed controller.  Also, check all the camera functions and ground-station equipment.
Tony Wilson
Professional Hollywood multirotor pilot

 

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