Javad's Drone Program

Nate The Surveyor

Well-Known Member
Is this project moving forward?
Someday, I predict that every surveyor, (who has much desire to remain in the flow of data) will use, own, or work off of data, from drones.
Any info would be appreciated.

FYI.... FAA will require a Pilot's License to operate commercial UAVs.

"Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements to fly UAVs under a section 333 exemption or a Certificate of Authority (COA) is a conventional pilot's license (airline transport, commercial, private, recreational, or sport pilot certificate). Under the proposed rule, the person who manipulates the flight controls of a small UAS would be defined as an “operator.” A small UAS operator would be required to pass an aeronautical knowledge test and obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating from the FAA before operating a small UAS. In order to maintain his or her operator certification, the operator would be required to pass recurrent knowledge tests every 24 months subsequent to the initial knowledge test. These tests would be created by the FAA and administered by FAA-approved knowledge testing centers.
As of this date, 5 April 2016, the FAA has not completed the rules for UAS operations. We are anticipating that this UAS ground school training will meet the FAA proposed rules on aeronautical knowledge. The student will be responsible for scheduling the necessary exams."
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Jim Campi

Active Member
Is is considered "operate" if a pre-programmed flight plan is executed? In other words, the surveyor would have no active control of the UAV other than the decision to launch.
My opinion is that if you "pre-program" the flight plan, then you are the operator. Whether you have active control or pre-programed control, you still have control.
Just my 2¢.

Jim Campi

Active Member
Hi Donald,

I have a private pilot's license but it isn't current. In your view, what would be required for me to operate a UAV?
As I understand, the FAA will require some type of UAS ground school training, but, nothing is I know written in stone, yet.

My original response to this thread was information I received from the NC Society of Surveyors, Inc.. I plan on attending a meeting tomorrow night where we will be discussing the subject.
As of 02/15/2015: (Proposed)
Operator Certification and Responsibilities

• Pilots of a small UAS would be considered “operators”
• Operators would be required to:
– Pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
– Be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration.
– Obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating (like existing pilot airman certificates, never expires).
– Pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.
– Be at least 17 years old.
– Make available to the FAA, upon request, the small UAS for inspection or testing, and any associated documents/records required to be kept under the proposed rule.
– Report an accident to the FAA within 10 days of any operation that results in injury or property damage.
– Conduct a preflight inspection, to include specific aircraft and control station systems checks, to ensure the small UAS is safe for operation.

Aircraft Requirements
•FAA airworthiness certification not required. However, operator must maintain a small UAS in condition for safe operation and prior to flight must inspect the UAS to ensure that it is in a condition for safe operation. Aircraft Registration required (same requirements that apply to all other aircraft).
• Aircraft markings required (same requirements that apply to all other aircraft). If aircraft is too small to display markings in standard size, then the aircraft simply needs to display markings in the largest practicable manner.

Model Aircraft (Hobby)
• Proposed rule would not apply to model aircraft that satisfy all of the criteria specified in Section 336 of Public Law 112-95.
• The proposed rule would codify the FAA’s enforcement authority in part 101 by prohibiting model aircraft operators from endangering the safety of the NAS.
The attached are excerpts pertaining to UAS Rules from the Spring 2016 North Carolina Bulletin, a newsletter of the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors.

I assume other states will have somewhat similar rules.


Robert P Stenerson

Active Member
August 29th, FAA released the new rules for commercial Drone Operations.
There is no more talk about "operators", in the recent appeal of the court case of Administrator v. Pirker, the NTSB decided that these little machines being flown in the National Airspace are indeed aircraft, therefore the person who will be responsible for the aircraft, is called a "Pilot in Commnad." The new FAA rules are called Part 107. The new Pilot certificate will be for a "Remote Pilot in Command, with a sUAS rating."

I have just completed an online ground school course <> which was wise for me because even though I have a Private Pilot Certificate, Glider rating, it's been years since I last flew. The Knowledge exam costs $150.00, so you don't want to fail it, and wait at least fourteen days, and spend another $150.00 to retake it. Wish me luck, I am taking the required Knowledge Exam this Thursday.
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In North Carolina and I assume most other States, having a Pilot Certificate for a drone is only part of the requirement. You also need to be proficient in the profession of photogrammetry. To me, there are just too many obstacles to make it cost efficient. You can't fly over populated areas, where many projects are located. You can't fly within 5 miles of an airport or in or near air traffic corridors. Just my 2¢.

Robert P Stenerson

Active Member
Thanks for the well wishes.

Yes, one of the many responsibilities the RPIC has is obtainng -beforehand- any and all required clearances from any State, Agency (think National Park Service, etc), and/or local ordinances. That said, at least the FAA is not shutting us down (or putting us through a paper-chase process like the Section 333 exemption.)
This could be another technology that like the very expensive, 1st generation EDMs, and AutoCAD/Carlson, and then Survey Grade GPS, this could be another game changer, maybe...eventually.

Robert P Stenerson

Active Member
Hi Jim, I took an on-line ground school course (see above), which pretty prepped me very well, and worth the $99.00. I'm glad I did, since it has been twenty years since I got my Private Pilot - Glider Rating, and I haven't flown as a PIC since right before 911.

Nate The Surveyor

Well-Known Member
I have a copy of gps world. Oct 2018. In it, on page 53 is an ad for the F-1 Drone.
In a posting above, it says it's boards had to be redesigned, to reduce weight.
That made me think. Maybe in the future, the LS will be lighter? I hope so.
And, how's the F-1 program coming along?
I hope someday that most surveyors will have, or have access to a drone, so that complete, and high def photography can become a part of every deliverable. Maybe even 2nd generation lidar.

Shawn Billings

Shawn Billings
I am an Intergeo in Frankfurt Germany and saw it today. It seems that the delay is in making sure every aspect is well tested to insure safety. Failure of an RTK system on the ground is an inconvenience. Failure of a drone in the air can be dangerous. It looks very good an very mature. There were some target dates mentioned for an international dealer, but I will keep it to myself for now. I don't want to get hopes up unnecessarily. I appreciate Nema Ashjaee saying that it will be ready when it is ready. He doesn't want to compromise anything in its development, having said that, dealers around the world are anxious to sell it, so there is a lot of pressure to see it through.