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Learning patterns/Plan aerial photography projects

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A learning pattern forphoto events
Aerial photography projects
problemHow to plan an aerial photography project.
solutionThere are several ways to organize aerial photography projects.
created on21:08, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

What problem does this solve?


Learn from groups who have planned photo events to capture images of important geographies or landmarks from the sky.

Liberty Island Aerial Photo from a Helicopter
Palm Springs International Airport Shot from a Airplane Cockpit

Traditional Aerial Photography


Aerial photography is costly and difficult, traditionally for larger scale developments or area documentation flown using airplanes, helicopters and balloons to do the "lifting labor" required to get the shot.

In the United States, the Pilot has a series of levels that he/she has available to them. The first level of the FAA system is a "Sport Pilot" rating. This is typically going to cost in the range of 15 to 18 thousand dollars. Sport Pilots are restricted to smaller two seat aircraft, this makes the process far less expensive.

Renting a plane during your training is less costly as then the larger, four-seat airplanes that have traditionally been used for training. Expect to spend about $125 an hour to rent the training airplane, including fuel. You will only being billed for the time that the engine is running.

Your instructor will also charge about $55 to $75 an hour for the instructor’s time. A certified Single Engine Private pilot certification from the FAA, the costs run well over 20k, plus the 6 months + it requires to obtain it.

Few of the regular participant's in the Wikicommons "Featured Picture" Program, grasp what it is like to take a photo @ 120 MPH in a airplane of something on the ground, as it is rarely weighed in on the FP consideration notes.

Access to UAV/s or Drones


Reaching out to the Drone users, is perhaps the most effective route to Plan aerial photography projects, as the investment and cost of entry is 1% of what it takes to become a "Pilot - Aerial Photographer"... The learning curve is steep, if you are in a plane that is traveling at 100mph you have a high workload already flying and little time for minor camera adjustments. This also hold true for Drone pilots but both cost of entry and ability to access places that aircraft of any type are unable to go. This makes UAV's or Drone, the perfect solution to the foundations objectives of promoting Aerial Photography on the site.

The Goldman Sachs Report[1] is the best example of the potential in this market. Fact is that this site has the ability to connect with this space by offering a global and international project that promoted the use of Drones for use on Wiki sites.

NEVER fly a mission without another dedicated commercial rated pilot in a plane or a "spotter" when flying Drone's. Safety should always be the pilot's first priority, always[2]. A Jumbo Jet ran into a drone in Europe, without proper guidance the danger involved with this hobby is also expected going to grow.

The creation of a program that is welcoming to "Drone Pilots" and provides access to grant funding that enables them to fly safely, further their objective and education into the uses of UAV's, would provide aerial photography and video for the site as well feed a ongoing stream of aerial photos from all over the world.

In the creation of the program, it would be wise too require the following information on every flight be submitted to assure that this program is created to enhance the insight that would be required of any pilot, thus establishing a pattern of "Safe Operation" that would in fact enhance the FAA's efforts to regulate this industry.

  • 2. Demonstration of: Insurance - Understanding of Airspace - Preflight Operations (flight planning) - Registration on craft upload portal?
  • 3. Location of Operation: - Know distance from the local airport/restricted airspace, This shows that the contributed photos are legitimate or have been authorized by the local tower...
  • 4. Name and Confirmation of a Spotter: While this might encounter resistance, if its required that on any flight flown for use in contests, assuring a safe 2 pilot operation, in addition to promoting safe operation we assure that the system is used by the pilot to assure the net result is the creation of a safe system that enhances the Drone pilots insight into the world of aviation upload portal?
  • 5. Collect/Post Flight Data Before All Operations: Flight Plan, Registration, Insurance, Launch Point and Distance from closest airspace using a compass vector (direction) from the local navigation aid for airmen, Flight limitations i.e. Altitude restrictions and distance planned from launch point, and radio frequency to monitor in the area using a FAA radio upload portal or form?

Flying a drone is a lot like IFR (Instrument) flight, in so much as your looking at the tablet and the drone, if you fly solo and often must rely on the remote for orientation, this requires looking away from the aircraft and thus makes you a IFR flight to take this to the reality of things. Using a visual observer as a non commercial operator establishing strong and safe patterns for the pilots, this is in fact required for all commercial operation under the FAA's part 333 program.

Promote safe piloting habits that "Mirror's the Aviation Industry" and this site will be rewarded with Great Aerial Photos.

While a number of "foundation financed programs" have run in other countries, the US has had no aerial photography program's, contests or events whatsoever.

UAV/s and Wiki


While many people have drones already, few of them learn from a FAA licensed aviator. This disconnect has created a separation between them that could be dangerous as time continues. Using traditional aviation training technique's, and giving the Western US access to these systems could promote both Wikipedia, as well as the UAV operators access to the training, as well as the drones themselves as well as a path to advance the effort's into a financial opportunity or career for that individual.

Educationally speaking an aeronautical degree is the foundational degree that most "commercial pilot candidate's" would obtain on the way to the cockpit of a jumbojet. Today the robotics industry is flourishing, and the need for trained UAV operators, is going to explode when the FAA's system allows product delivery via UAS devices. A recent patent by Amazon would allow blimp to be launched daily, with thousands of Drones ready to deliver the nick nack you ordered yesterday from the 40,000 feet. Someone will need to fly each drone to its destination.

Making these devices available on a performance basis would be the best route to teach and certify each pilot for use. Any UAV can become a dangerous device if not properly operated and to assure that the user is safe and accepts responsibility, it would be best to have then obtain training and demonstrate safe operation before any use of Wiki drones is considered.

Wikicommons contributors have the prerequisite knowledge to contribute high quality photos and few have access to a UAV platform. Many new Drone owners are great pilots, but rarely use anything other then the auto mode for photos and video. The site and its users could assist in the education process for these drone pilots, while hosting a competition that is encouraging and supportive for these new contributors and creates a "win win" for the site, developing a systematic manner that this program can be replicated at flight schools around the world.

The UAV's selected are able to be purchased with a no fault program, from the manufacturer (DJI) on a annual basis. Added this eliminates the need for full coverage and assures that the unit remains operational without relying on the flight school for technical support.

The final step in the process is to make these devices available to the existing Commons contributors to fly there own cameras. The larger drones require a team of people for support and could never happen unless these contributors have demonstrated the ability to operate safe and with purpose.

What is the solution?

DJI Inspire 1 Professional
Aerial photo from a Phantom 3 Drone

Acquiring Amateur Aerial Photographers...

  • 1. 2.2 million Drones are now registered in the USA as of December, 2016.
  • 2. This "evolving market" has little in the way of support for them to learn in a global forum that allows the potential of having ones work published and Commons can give them a place to learn the trade and skills needed to be a quality photographer.
  • 3. Create a new source for aerial work that can be used under the CC release that many are unaware of.
  • 4. The FAA allows flights for "Hobby" use without the requirement of ANY certification from the pilot, only registration of the drone and liability insurance are required.

Start by having/working with local Meetups that are hosted by Drone users that are willing to share the experience's and contribute to the site in the hopes there work will be featured, or used on one of the other project sites. Create a inviting space that promotes conversation and the sharing of thoughts and ideas to further the insight these drone users obtain in the hope that each can become a part 107 "Commercial UAV/s (Drone) operator" and start flying for a living having vetted skill sets that a global community like this could create.

Perhaps covering the insurance cost's for participant's on dedicated "shoot days" would help to also insure that the public interest is covered and that any content submitted was obtained in a lawful manner.

This creates a contest template that other meetups can follow, it exposes the public at large to this channel and how it might fit into the UAV industry as it evolves.

Run the contest regionally & organize "shoot days" during weeks that we run the contest and require that the ECIF must be marked for those dates. The key here is that we now have millions of drones and "no sheep herder" to direct them, just millions of free lancers looking to get published....

Things to consider

Robinson R 44 panel
Aerial photo of Pelican Hill using a DSLR & an Airplane

Christmas will see tens of thousands of new drones, hitting the sky. Some of those people will have aspiration's of going to the next level, and using them for commercial operations. Extending a invitation for our Drone contest in January will give these new owners a chance to refine skills, obtain feedback and build the "logged flight hours" required to obtain a license from the FAA as a UAV operator.

  • 1. It is from 20 to 25 thousand dollars JUST to get your pilots license. Another 30k to become instrument rated and by the time you become a Airline Transport pilot the investment is well over 6 figures. Planes rent for 125 to 325 an hour and the DSLR needed to create FP quality photos is another 3 to 5k.

This really creates a barrier to entry for just about anyone that wants to be a traditional "Aerial Photographer" willing to donate the valuable work that is obtained during flight. Drones that cost under a thousand dollars (should be) capable of taking pictures that are FP worthy, thus addressing this issue and request for more aerial media.

  • 2. Over the last 3 years the UAV or Drone market has grown at a unheard of rate that Goldman Sac's refers to as a potential goldmine in industry and commerce in the future [3] and this is an area that this site could help create and obtain the valuable assets that Drones can provide in a manner that allows a more wide spread acceptance, and a "common" location for them to share free images lawfully in most countries.
  • 3. Can the foundation assist in that expansion? The FAA is in fact, overwhelmed with this new device and its obligation to keep the US airspace safe for everyone.
  • 4. A "program" making it clear that Drones and there photos/videos are welcome here it would solve this need.
  • 5. Another issue is that the Drones according the many of the FP editors active on commons are unable to take a FP, due in part to the limited quality of the photos taken, sensor size etc.
  • 6. Establish a featured aerial photo section daily next to the FP (it would seem there is room) and with it allow the Drone pilots to be the judges rather than everyone, its just a thought but one that comes with a great deal of experience. Require that all persons doing the Judging" are fellow contributors that have not less than 5 Aerial photos submitted, thus vetting the contributors involved, this would further engages the people involved and keeps the voting to a group of like minded people rather then being judged by those without understanding of the hardships faced with in this area of Photography. In addition this would foster and promote a sense of community among them that could encourage others to participate.
  • 7. Encourage drone video for commons as well such as this one shot in Dana Point. The drone that filmed this is a 1000 dollar Phantom 3 Professional unit and as you can see obtains fantastic results.

Practical tips and tricks to be considered

Dana Point "aerial video" by the author
For Demonstration: A Fully Produced Aerial video Clip.

Before actually taking aerial photos with a photo drone practice maneuvering the drone on a big field or meadow or better yet obtain training from a local flight club in your area.

You must maintain keep visual contact with the drone at all times have a second person on-side to watch the drone and warn of any dangers or occurrences. Create a system the you both understand so as to be alert of the situational awareness at all times.

Industrial drones such as the configuration used by the author on film sets uses 2 remote controls and utilizes a three man crew, on that camera unit. Smaller one man drones really should be flown by 2 people. In the US, donation to commons under a CC releases the pilot for the work to enter into the public eye without "being paid for his work" the critical issue the FAA considers commercial use.

Additional consideration is making the masses aware of the dangers and the rules of flying near a airport. You CAN do it, but be ready to learn to speak pilot and be willing to call the local tower before you fly.[4] The FAA has launched 2 programs to address commercial Drone use in the USA. Users MUST understand what constitutes "commercial use"...

  • 1. The FAA implemented a part 333 program that allows licensed pilots with 50 hours of time on a drone, control the drone for the part 333 certification holder (this can be a non pilot) but under part 333 the pilot MUST be certified and current (flown within the last 2 to 3 years for a flight review).
  • 2. The FAA, in the second half of 2016 launched a part 107 Drone operator certification program that allows people whom have been flying drones to learn some of the fundamentals of the Aviation jargon, how to read and decipher aviation charts and how to read and understand the complex weather and notice to airman process. [5]

Many of the over 2 million drone pilots become excited at the thought of evolving there skills into a business, using the drone yet few really understand the complex nature of production itself.

Additional opportunity for quality content is available if this is broken out into 2 sections: UAV Photos - UAV Videos and have the program's run month.

What are the costs for technical equipment


The project costs for 3 drones for the Foundation to implement in an educational program located in Orange County California as well as Liability insurance, for each drone for 3 years as well as funds to produce professional training videos to invite Drone pilots to contribute to the project. cost TBD

Drones and Wikipedia; a Video


Produce a custom video that covers many of the points as mentioned above and explain how the photos and videos from "hobby" users (non FAA licensed UAS pilots) can expose and publish there work on Wiki projects. cost TBD

Level One - Video


Learning to fly and use the features of popular Drone systems from DJI. In this video we explore commercial opportunities that can evolve by connecting with a global community. cost TBD

Drone required Phantom4 Pro. Single Pilot operation OK.

Level Two - Video


Multi Crewmember Operation of complex UAS systems for professional training and use under FAA part 107

Drone required: Inspire 2 Dual Pilot Camera control required. cost TBD

Drones in the Film Industry - Video


3 man film crews provide a integral part of the industrial film industry today.

Matrix 600 & Ronin w support for industrial camera of any type. cost TBD

When to use


Drones/UAV's are becoming commonplace, the industry has grown at an overwhelming rate. The site could advocate the use of these devices by the creation of regionally based project's that can offer an ongoing series of programs to promote engagement of new UAV pilots to as a location to obtain training and knowledge needed and in the US required to take it to the next level. The creation of annual programs that are incentivized by award for good work that is donated to the site, provides not only a outlet for the work but a reward and that chance at advancement, should one prevail in a regional program.

Consider the offer of an education scholarship to an annual winner of a regional contest for a full pilot’s license. If you want photos that give value to the site and fill the public’s desire to use aerial photos considering the costs involved it makes sense to reward the winners and advance the objective..

Locating the above mentioned UAS devices at a recognized FAA Flight Training Facility will allow them to be dispatched in the same manner that a airplane is and the drones could be maintained as regular aircraft in the training of advanced drone pilots giving them ready access to the FAA testing location that provides certification testing under FAA part 107. cost TBD



The information from this learning pattern has yet to be used.

Where can I get more information and find competent contacts?


In the USA, you can approach the

There are many other sites for the exchange of information. (see below)

See also


DJI User Groups on Facebook

These are private groups and do require permission to access from the group administrator

Industrial Distributors


How to monetize your new skills.. www.shutterstock.com

Contributors MUST have a FAA part 107 certification to submit photos or video for pay.

The Template


Author Disclaimer


The author is a FAA certified Single and Multi-engine pilot with over 500 hours of flight time in aircraft of all types and also hold a FAA part 107 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operator rating. He is the founder of a company that provides flight services in the Hollywood Entertainment industry, and serves as certified production closed set pilot by Film LA, additionally holding a FAA part 333 certification for close set aerial operations. All legal information included in this text refers only to the laws and regulations in the USA as best as I am aware, I am not a lawyer and laws are subject to change in addition, may strongly differ in other countries. Always check thoroughly local laws and current regulations in your respective region/ country before using any device or vehicle designed for flight or controlled by a aviation authority. Remember that as the pilot in command you’re responsible for everything related to the flight. NEVER fly without proper insurance and have it on your person when you fly. Help keep our sky safe for everyone. NEVER exceed 400 feet in altitude, (without permission fro ATC) from your takeoff point and always be considerate of others, if you’re asked not to fly, NEVER challenge the request simply show courtesy, land your craft apologize and fly in another location. Some people do not like Drones - UAV's, respect others wishes and allow them the privacy deserved. Never fly near a airport without permission from the local tower. Fly like a professional at all times.---D. Logan 22:43, 21 November 2016 (UTC).[reply]