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Consequences of hiring an illegal drone operator

Wow! This is a hot topic. I get this question all the time.

Drones are becoming more and more popular and like many other subjects, there is a lot of misinformation and a lack of education on what can be done with drones.

Today, let's talk about the consequences of hiring someone without an FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot certificate. If you want to know more about these two topics, click on the respective links:

Ok, let's get back on track. Here is a nice opening tagline.

There are serious reputational and legal consequences for the person hiring the illegal drone pilots which can include prison time.

A law firm recently published the following article with some additional details on what could go wrong. They titled the article 5 Big Risks with Hiring Illegal Drone Pilots. In summary, these are the five things they talked about:

  1. Reputational Risks

  2. Prison Time

  3. You Could Lose Your Drone

  4. Wasted Business Resources

  5. Others Might Question Your Judgement

Some of these are not as serious but all of us should pause for a second before jumping into hiring an illegal operator.

A few more facts:

  • The FAA has been actively fining people, as of September 2022, they have collected millions of dollars.

  • In January 2022, Forbes published an article about one pilot who was fined $1.9 million based on a series of commercial flights over a period of time.

  • Each drone flight counts as a separate violation!

  • A Minnesota man was fined $55K for flying over people.

  • A real estate agent and an unlicensed pilot were fined $11,000 each.

The internet is full of these stories and also there are a lot of illegal pilots out there.

Why take the risk?

Yes, yes, drones are cool and an incredible marketing tool. There are relatively easy to fly and are available to buy everywhere. They are also getting cheaper.

Here comes the BIG but...

Drones are aircraft!

Since there are aircraft, they come with a set of rules, these rules are specific about who can do what with their drone and where anyone can do it.

The realty profession is the number one offender, please don't be one.

While some individuals may say "rules don’t apply to me. The FAA can’t stop me." The aviation rules are for safety and they apply to anyone who puts a drone in the air.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of videos of drone crashes and some showing injury to people. Earlier this year a model in Paris got hit by one, let me just say she got lucky it could have been much worse. Another one, but older, shows a model hit from behind on the back of the head. In these two videos, the victims only had minor bruising, they were fortunate. The internet is full of stories of drone accidents, some very serious.

Choose a certified drone operator and check their credentials.

You can go to the FAA Airman registry to check if the pilot is certified.

You don’t want to get caught hiring an unlicensed drone pilot.

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