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USA 333 Operators vs Unauthorized Commercial Operators

Would you turn in an unauthorized operator?

  • Yes, they are hurting Authorized Operators

  • No, Never

  • Yes, if there was a Safety Hazard


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As a 333 commercial drone operator, how do we compete against the constant onslaught of new amateur unregistered pilots that are driving down the already slim profit margins? I am completely for capitalism and everything but at some point we have to be able to protect our investments, as well as the safety record the commercial industry currently has.

Obviously this is a problem with any photography profession but there is no license, flying experience, and safety requirements when it comes to simply holding a camera by hand.
 

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As a 333 commercial drone operator, how do we compete against the constant onslaught of new amateur unregistered pilots that are driving down the already slim profit margins? I am completely for capitalism and everything but at some point we have to be able to protect our investments, as well as the safety record the commercial industry currently has.

Obviously this is a problem with any photography profession but there is no license, flying experience, and safety requirements when it comes to simply holding a camera by hand.
I totally agree with you.
Why not do what I now do....... I report every one I come across to the CAA/FAA.
I used to not bother but now it has become ridiculous so I have no hesitation in whistle blowing.

It is no different to unlicensed taxi drivers who have no psv insurance and have not undergone the required vehicle safety checks etc. They undercut everybody and steal peoples livelihood from honest individuals who have gone the correct route.
 
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Whats the most effective way to go about it? I have emailed the local FSDO and contacted the FAA through the reporting service on their website and as far as I can tell they haven't so much as placed a phone call or sent a letter. It's incredibly frustrating watching the "competition" offering photography for $99.
 
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I have not done any actions like you are describing but I would like to go through the process to get my Exemption. What is the process to get the 333 exemption? I film my own personal use videos and pictures but would like to get a legal exemption to start making money? Any tips?
 
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Report the person hiring the unauthorized operator as well. They can be told they are unable to use the footage they paid for and fined as well.
 
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I've yet to see the FAA or Law Enforcement in the US go after the person or company hiring the drone operator. In fact many major production companies blatantly show off the drones they are using when they have no exemption at all (BrainFarm Cinema).
 
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FAA routinely sends cease and desist letters to vendors using unauthorized footage. The local FSDO here is really good about staying on top of unauthorized operators and vendors and we see in the papaer quite often, unauthorized ops complaining about being told to shut down.
 
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Where I am there is a certified operator doing real estate flights for £80 GBP. He has the same overheads as the rest of us. I personally would be be asking quite a bit more, but he got the business and I did not. There is no doubt that overall I am seeing prices becoming lower. It's called the market.

I think the point is that certified operators have more costs and can be hard to compete with those not certified and who have no costs, certainly not having commercial insurance or pre-site surveys, risk assessments etc to do.
 
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It is only a phase, the market will self correct eventually. Try targeting different markets that need/want the use of a commercial operator, real estate photos for $100 works fine for cheap houses, why compete? I have found that the $750K houses and up want someone who is at least insured and being exempt is a bonus. Just work on your pitch...
 
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I just received my FAA letter about unauthorized UAV operation. Even though 99 percent of our flights are for chamber of commerce or other donations. It was mentioned that I was probably turned in which I do have an Idea who did. The FAA never called or shown up at any venues I was at or didn't Id themselves. I hope they do not discriminate and work to find all illegal ops.
 

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