The next Hobby


Like I don’t’ have enough to do, I’m studying for the 14 CFR Part 107 certification to become a commercial sUAS pilot. What is that?  It’s a  license that allows a person to fly a drone almost everywhere. Sure there are some restrictions, but I can fly wherever I need to for the most part with an authorization which I will be more likely to get with a certification.

SBC Facility MapPretty much anyone with enough cash can own a drone. Many of them start at as low as 35 or 40 bucks. When you start adding cameras and capability, the price goes up and anything less than a grand, is just a toy. All drones are supposed to be registered with the FAA and most DJI drones are “geolocked” meaning they won’t take off where they are not allowed. You can’t launch most DJI drones at the airport, for instance. You can apply for an authorization through an app called B4U Fly, but you’re not likely to get it in most cases unless you’re a part 107 certified pilot. This map is called a “facility map” and shows where in the Shreveport Bossier area is a “0 ceiling” meaning you can’t fly in those areas of 0 ft off the ground.  A lot of parks in that area.

In addition to regular airspace restrictions, you also can’t fly within a certain distance of a government facility or an air force base like Barksdale. this means that a lot of the SBC is no-fly. You would have to go a good distance from the city center to find air and even then, a lot of that is restricted to 100, 200, or 300 ft. Max height you are allowed to fly a drone is 400 feet per the FAA. If you are licensed, you can request authorization even if the ceiling is 0 ft.  It makes that grand you spent on a drone worth it.

I don’t own a drone yet, but I’m working towards it. I will reward myself for passing the test with a DJI mini 3. It’s small and relatively quiet so you’re less obtrusive. The classes will take me a while, though. I’ve signed up with Pilot Institute and I seem to be absorbing the massive quantity of information that is being presented. Each evening after work, I watch through a section of videos, take notes, and then take a quiz. I’ve been doing pretty good on them. The next day, I retake the last quiz and then go through the new information and take the next quiz. They suggest not move on unless you’ve scored an 0 percent, but I’m shooting for a 100 % the second time I take the quiz. I’m only 16% through the training and I feel like I’m learning a lot. I’m in the “regulations” section and next up is airport operations.

Wish me luck.

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