Dealerships, Know The Law Before You Fly!

Drone Technology

Dealerships, Know The Law Before You Fly!

January 9, 2017
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“Dealerships, Know The Law Before You Fly”

As an employee of Dealer Synergy and Dealer Video Production, I recently faced a very unique situation when our company brought on a new client for a monthly video production package. We were given the opportunity to film our first broadcast television commercial and the client was specific in what they were looking for: they envisioned cinematic, aerial shots that can only be accomplished by using a state-of-the-art Drone camera.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past two years, I am sure you have heard the term “Drone” being used on a regular basis. A Drone is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard, operated remotely with a control. The technical term used by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or UAV, and Small Unmanned Aircraft System, or sUAS. Whether you are a Sales Associate, General Manager, or even Dealer Principal with the urge to fly, it is important to understand the new rules that have come into effect when using a Drone for commercial purposes.

Before purchasing a Drone yourself, you should do plenty of research on the available models and sort out which is the best for your situation. If your dealership is looking to produce basic video content, then I personally recommend purchasing a Parrot Bebop Drone. This prosumer-grade Drone is a solid beginner model for someone who wants to start taking their video strategy seriously but lacks ample video experience. Though the price tag may be a bit daunting to some, it’s a far safer bet than purchasing any one of the low-priced Drones that sit behind the counter of your local drug store.

Given the current marketing trend with these magical devices, there’s a good chance that if your dealership does video advertising, it may have already employed a production company to shoot Drone footage capturing the car lot or storefront. However, if you want to undertake this operation yourself, then there are a number of rules and resources to consider. This article will examine the basic laws and functions of a UAV that everyone should have a general understanding of before cruising one over their dealership.

Some things you will learn from this article:

  1. The most recent law passed by the FAA on personal and commercial Drone use.

  2. How you can register your Drone online for use.

  3. The resources for obtaining a certification from the FAA to use your Drone commercially.

  4. Tips and tricks for operating a Drone in a safe and effective manner.

As of August 29, 2016, the FAA has passed a new rule (Part 107) regarding Drone operations both personally and commercially. The first and most important thing to do when you purchase a new Drone is to register your device with the FAA before you even attempt to fly. Any consumer or semi-professional level Drone that weighs between .55 lbs and 55 lbs must be registered through the official FAA website (https://registermyuas.faa.gov/). The owner of the Drone is fully responsible for going to the website and paying a $5 service fee. However, if you are hiring a production company to film with their own Drone, then it is not your responsibility to have the Drone registered.
If you or someone from your dealership owns a Drone and plans to use it for commercial purposes, including digital marketing on the web, then the remote pilot must pass a FAA sUAS Knowledge Test to legally operate the Drone. This knowledge test is a 60 question multiple-choice examination that is conducted at a participating airport in your region. It is very similar to a driving test or a CDL test; you will pay a one time fee of $150 that is non-refundable if you fail the test. In order to pass the test, you must score a 70% and finish within the allotted time of two hours.

After you pass the test and are ready to fly your Drone, there are some key safety tips that you must follow in order to ensure safe flight.

  1. You MUST pay attention to the weather patterns (clouds, wind, precipitation) before you fly. Fierce winds can lead to a wayward Drone and potentially damaged property.

  2. Always check with the FAA on the B4YOUFLY application (available for iOS & Android) to make you are that not flying in an restricted airspace. Failure to do so could lead to major legal issues.

  3. If you are within five miles of a public or private airport, you MUST contact the airport or the traffic control tower to notify them you will be flying within their airspace.

  4. Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for birds, trees, aircrafts, and power lines, or anything else that could collide with your device and leave unfortunate results.

  5. Operate your Drone the same way that you would operate an automobile. DO NOT fly the Drone under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  6. DO NOT try to “SHOW OFF” your skills by flying in dangerous areas, like closed-in spaces (particularly a dealership showroom). You are essentially controlling a small helicopter and should treat it the same way that you would a full-scale one.

Despite the overwhelming level of caution that one must take when flying a Drone, the resulting footage that can be captured makes the whole process worthwhile. Countless dealerships are using Drone footage today to improve their commercial presence, and it shows in the dynamism of their content. If you master the art of Drone flight, you can take your dealership to the next level and use it to impress your customers and competition.

However, if you’re uncertain about spending the money on a Drone and want to get an idea for how the footage looks and can be applied, then I recommend hiring a professional organization to shoot it for you.

Dealer Video Production is certified in Drone operation and uses the DJI Inspire V2 on a constant basis to provide the best video content for their clients across the continent. If you have any questions about Drone use or would like to inquire about Dealer Video Production’s Drone services, please contact us at dealervideoproduction@dealersynergy.com or call (856) 546-2440 x29.

 – by Christopher German