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The Rise of the Drone

This weekend the FAA made progress on its deadline of regulating drones or UAS (Unmanned Air Systems) for commercial use. They have certified 2 fixed wing drone systems, Insitu’s Scan Eagle X200 and Aero Vironment’s PUMA. With a long way to go until the 2015 deadline of “opening the skies to drones” there are still a lot of questions to answer in regards to safety, airspace, operator licensing, insurance and use. And although 2015 seems close, the US is still far behind most of the world including Canada and the UK with allowing this technology to take off.

There is a lot of misinformation and speculation surrounding the rise of the drone. As the owner of an aerial photography company, I am often asked about drones. Questions focus mainly on how it will affect the professional aerial photography business. Most assume we see them as a threat, that everyone will own a drone and there will be no use for a company to provide this service.

Our industry was once thought to be dying when everyone became a photographer with accessible digital photography tools and google earth which provided aerial images for free! In both cases, the technology increased our efficiency, gave us more control and created more of a demand for our services. Upon its invention in the late 1800s photography itself was seen as a threat to fine art and professional photographers cried foul when Kodak released easy to use cameras to the mass public early in the 1900s. And yet, photography has only become more amazing with each advance.

Will the professional aerial photography business survive this new technology? It will all depend on a company’s professionalism, adaptability and the quality of photography they are able to provide. The keyword is “business” and if there is a strong foundation of relationships, systems and quality, survival is guaranteed.

Wendy Whittemore

Owner – Aerial Innovations of TN, Inc.

Here are some links to interesting articles

Canadian Regulations for UAV Systems


Newsday Article on FAA Certification


Get your Drone Pilot’s License!