Checklist: Hire a Drone Pilot

Thinking of getting drone aerial photos, footage, or mapping? A drone flight that is not strictly recreational is considered commercial and is regulated by the FAA - this includes flights with no compensation or piloting your drone for your business. Drone incidents can be serious and costly, don’t let your name be in the next headline!

Required:

  • Ask to see the pilot’s sUAS (drone) FAA License, and whether they hold any other FAA licenses.
  • Ask to see the pilot’s MNDoT Commercial Operator’s License.
  • Ask the pilot whether the job is in FAA controlled airspace. All commercial pilots must have prior FAA authorization to fly in controlled airspace.

Recommended:

  • Ask the pilot for a Certificate of Insurance (COI). If you’ll be working on a more complex project, or one where risk is involved, be sure to get an Additional Insured Endorsement with your company’s name listed.
  • Ask about rights to photographs and footage. If privacy or nondisclosure is of interest to you, be sure to take appropriate steps to protect your property and images before work begins.
  • Ask the pilot about their experience. Is this their full time job? How long have they been in business? How many drones and pilots are in their fleet? Do they have backup equipment if there is a failure?
  • Ask the pilot about their safety record. Have they ever crashed a drone or had an incident on a job? Do they fly with a Visual Observer? What is their weather limitation?