Night Flights

I’m FAA approved now to fly drones at night. Check out my thoughts in an article written by Unmanned Aerial Online

Certificate Waiver Number: 107W-2016-01996

York County Law Enforcement

Just got back from York County in Eastern Pennsylvania where I had the honor of flying for a group of law enforcement professionals. Before landing my Phantom 3, I snapped a group selfie of this fine group. From left to right you see me (I’m the guy with the drone.); David Sterner, Chief of Operations, Ruppert Detective Agency (blue shirt with hand on his chin); Chief Brian Rizzo of Northeastern Regional Police Department NERPD, Detective Brian O’Melko, NERPD (blue shirt); Darryl Albright, Chief of York County Detectives and far right in the bright red shirt is Paul Pelaia, Commander of the York County QRT, or “Quick Response Team.”

After flying the Phantom 3 and the Inspire One Pro around NERPD HQ and the surrounding neighborhood, talk in the group was the Phantom 3 would be a better choice for their work since it is smaller, quieter and has a lower profile target. Price also makes the Phantom 3 their best option since they anticipate doing a lot of flying in high-risk situations.


Drone Pose

During a demo flight for some family members I accidentally created an oddly engaging photo. I had the lens of my Inspire One Pro X5 pointing straight down on a hot and humid early evening. My brother-in-law thought the prop wash was a good way to cool-off and looked-up so I snapped the photo. I stipulate this isn’t the safest way to take a photo. But it is safer than looking up at that bird flying overhead.


John Mullally

On The Air

Pennsylvania SkyOps is helping Perry Wellington Realty take marketing of their new luxury division to the next level. Not only are we shooting property video’s, our aircraft are capturing what life is like in Central Pennsylvania for community vignettes. The short stories will be posted on the Perry Wellington website along with the video of the properties. The vignettes are enhanced by our aerial shots of local shopping centers, county clubs and sports venues, to name a few.

I made an appearance on Real Estate 4.5 to explain how aerial video has more uses in more industries than real estate. Here is a link to the program which airs on WTAJ.

WTAJ Real Estate 4.5

Section 333 Exemption Delays

If you have filed for a Section 333 exemption you’ll be waiting more than 120 days. I filed mine back before Christmas 2015. I have customers waiting for my business Pennsylvania SkyOps to launch so I asked my congressman if he could check on the application. The FAA replied back that they are running at least 150 days or longer because of a huge backlog. They also handle them in the order they come in. So, if you filed after Jan 1 2016 you’re looking at May before they look at your application.

The Way of the Seal

Drone pilots should adopt this Navy Seal saying when flying. “Slow is smooth – smooth is fast.” In the context of the military the saying suggests moving fast, or rushing it, is reckless and will likely get you killed. In the context of flying a drone, rushing is likely to result in a crash, or other accident.  Mostly likely, rushing when flying a drone, is stick movement that is too fast for the situation. My first serious crash due to rushing came on the Fourth of July one year. It was a perfect day for flying. There was a light breeze, sunny skies and the temperature was  in the low 80’s. I was practicing with my Phantom 1 with a GoPro attached in a large field in front of a school. There was a flag pole and the breeze was causing the flag to flutter. Since it was the Fourth I decided a great way to practice would be circle the flag and get some patriotic shots. Instead of being patient, and advancing the done on the flag slowly, I pushed the right stick up to close the distance. As I approached the wind shifted and sent the flag right into my Phantom, when then went about 30 feet straight down and smashed into the concrete sidewalk.

I made more mistakes than just rushing. I should have had more altitude and then slowly brought the Phantom down into position to get the shots, and I needed to be an appropriate distance from the flag. Two things I didn’t think about because I was rushing.

I’m a believer in “Slow is smooth – smooth is fast.” You should be to, especially if you are a new pilot.

Hello Hello!

Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sky Ops blog – The Flight Line. Our focus will be less on hardware and more on the creative process. After all, it doesn’t matter if you have the latest 4K camera, if you don’t know how to compose a good photograph or the basic rules of videography. Then what do you do after you’ve captured some stunning video or photos and the exposure isn’t quite right? We’ll be looking at the post production aspect as well.

Keep your props turning!

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