Uncertified Rogue Commercial Drone Operators

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Not sure if this has been discussed. I went to a lot of time and trouble - plus $150 testing fee - to get my Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate to be in the good graces of the FAA. I studied my butt off and made a 95% on the General Knowledge Test. Like many here, I intend to use Aerial video/photo services to supplement my income. That said, I did not anticipate the large number of rogue drone operators I would encounter who represent themselves as legitimate when in fact they are not, and lack the proper FAA certification (Section 333 Exemption or Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate). I don't mind competition from other certified aerial businesses, but when these rogue operators begin to saturate the market and hi-jack potential opportunities, I take exception to it.

I am simply shocked at how many so called "Commercial Operators" are out there representing themselves as being in compliance with FAA regulations concerning the commercial operation of a drone (under 55 pounds). I would even go so far as to call it borderline epidemic. Most are listed on Craigslist and are not shy about stating that they are engaged in for-hire commercial drone activities, even to the extent of publishing their rates.

I quizzed 5 of them by email and simply asked each if they held either a Section 333 Exemption or a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate. Out of the five I contacted, none (zero) had the proper certification. It was amazing to see how they convinced themselves that they were certified. One operator sent copies of his drone registration. When I asked him again if he had a 333 or 107, he made a vague reference to the Section 333 process, stating "Those have been delayed and still processings nationwide thats why we hold our active certificate til petitions are granted." Not sure what he meant by "... active certificate".

Another operator justified his activities by stating, "If your asking do I have the right to properly do business. My answer is, yes. This is a side job for me. If your upset about my prices I have set, you can look up the laws in regarding that." I don't recall the FAA making any exceptions for "side jobs".

I guess I'm just frustrated that this many people are circumventing the regulations - either intentionally or by honest misinterpretations. What makes matters worse is that more often than not, potential clients are clueless about the regulations for commercial operators. This, together with the FAA being overwhelmed by new pilots - both hobbyists and commercial - just makes matters worse.

So I'm throwing this out there to see if any of the Certified commercial operators on this board are finding the same situation in your neck of the woods. I'm also interested in suggestions on how these rogue practices can be put in check.

Thanks in advance.....
 
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I questioned one in my area about his facebook post bragging about his new flyer advertising his "FAA licensed commercial drone."
 

N017RW

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Some might just be naive. Others don't care.

You'll find this in many, many, aspects of business.
 
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there was a post here but cant find it now, about someone who actually held a section 333 being called by the FAA, they thought a competitor had called the faa to report them.
 
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This is in any business.

Tree trimmers who have no insurance or state license verses ones who do. Plumbers and contractors the same. Even my barber complains about two near her who run their barbershops with no license and the inspectors don't go to them as they are not on their licensed list, meanwhile she gets a $250 fine for not using a tissue on the customer's neck where she uses a new drape and all others nearby sans a license escape. Try going to barber or hair styling school for $15,000 and have then having others operating near you that never did and no inspections either.

I doubt if many realtors care about a 107 either as they operate on the cheap and sleaze anyway (Damhik either since I served on jury trials for those guys!), even with pro still photographers they hire who may or may not have a verifiable business and shoot for fun or sideline.

Welcome to the real business world.
 
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I won't have a problem reporting unlicensed operators. If they don't care enough to go through the proper channels then they probably don't care enough to fly safely. Just as I have no respect for people who complain about left lane drivers, but drive like maniacs in the left lane.
 
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This is in any business.

Tree trimmers who have no insurance or state license verses ones who do. Plumbers and contractors the same. Even my barber complains about two near her who run their barbershops with no license and the inspectors don't go to them as they are not on their licensed list, meanwhile she gets a $250 fine for not using a tissue on the customer's neck where she uses a new drape and all others nearby sans a license escape. Try going to barber or hair styling school for $15,000 and have then having others operating near you that never did and no inspections either.

I doubt if many realtors care about a 107 either as they operate on the cheap and sleaze anyway (Damhik either since I served on jury trials for those guys!), even with pro still photographers they hire who may or may not have a verifiable business and shoot for fun or sideline.

Welcome to the real business world.
I think the big difference here is someone bringing down another aircraft due to reckless use.
 
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This is in any business.

Tree trimmers who have no insurance or state license verses ones who do. Plumbers and contractors the same. Even my barber complains about two near her who run their barbershops with no license and the inspectors don't go to them as they are not on their licensed list, meanwhile she gets a $250 fine for not using a tissue on the customer's neck where she uses a new drape and all others nearby sans a license escape. Try going to barber or hair styling school for $15,000 and have then having others operating near you that never did and no inspections either.

I doubt if many realtors care about a 107 either as they operate on the cheap and sleaze anyway (Damhik either since I served on jury trials for those guys!), even with pro still photographers they hire who may or may not have a verifiable business and shoot for fun or sideline.

Welcome to the real business world.
I wonder if realtors would care about someone facilitating a real estate sale without a license?
 
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You can always do a license query and post the results.
Doubt you will get FAA to do much, but claiming a license for purposes of business is fraud and can be reported locally.

FAA Registry - Airmen - Airmen Inquiry - Main

If they have a 107 it will show up.
 
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You can always do a license query and post the results.
Doubt you will get FAA to do much, but claiming a license for purposes of business is fraud and can be reported locally.

FAA Registry - Airmen - Airmen Inquiry - Main

If they have a 107 it will show up.
Thanks, FlyGary. I tried it but couldn't find my 107 RPC ("No records found based on search criteria provided above."). I have a copy of my temporary certificate in my back pocket. This will be a good resource if I can get it to work.
 
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Mine didn't showed a few weeks ago. Maybe because a had a private license back in the 80s and the profile was already there.
 

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there was a post here but cant find it now, about someone who actually held a section 333 being called by the FAA, they thought a competitor had called the faa to report them.

That was ME!! I was "reported" as a non-licensed Commercial Operator. Fortunately when they ran my name they saw I had the credentials and it was case closed. I hold Section 333 and Part 107 (and I'm current Part 61 holder as well) so I do/did have the credentials but someone saw my business name in my work and decided to try and get me into trouble.

Such as life.
 

BigAl07

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I wonder if realtors would care about someone facilitating a real estate sale without a license?
Exactly and they are very MORAL in many ways but they don't mind doing OUR jobs with no license. It's an uphill battle almost every day. Luckily the Realtor market isn't one to build a business model from because they are cheap and want it all for free. LOL
 
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I agree. Report them and let them know that you reported them and maybe? Just maybe a few will either stop or go get their 107?

I also think that businesses that hire certified 107 holding pilots need to check credentials, insurance and ID before the job starts to be sure they are getting what they are paying for.
 
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I wonder if realtors would care about someone facilitating a real estate sale without a license?
As in "For sale by owner?"

Back on realtors, no doubt realtors tattle on each other too, like ones who operate out of their homes rather than in a commercial district that is zoned for it or moonlight under a commercial realty name and their license. This game has gone on with pro photographers reporting on their lower-pricing competition for operating out of their homes, but city zoning seems to have their own local enforcement arm to deal with that verses "I know a non-commercial drone operator and I'm telling on them to the FAA."

Having a commercial license doesn't make one responsible any more than a trucker with a Class A who exceeds the speed limit which is daily around here. Knowing that if they are caught enough times and may lose their insurance and license both, it sure doesn't seem to stop them.

Reality is that some care, and some don't - and seems the ones who don't are money ahead in the game - albeit illegally and without conscious.
 
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As in "For sale by owner?"
No. I'm talking about someone consulting with a homeowner about the sale of their home and collecting a fee without a realtors license.

Back on realtors, no doubt realtors tattle on each other too, like ones who operate out of their homes rather than in a commercial district that is zoned for it or moonlight under a commercial realty name and their license. This game has gone on with pro photographers reporting on their lower-pricing competition for operating out of their homes, but city zoning seems to have their own local enforcement arm to deal with that verses "I know a non-commercial drone operator and I'm telling on them to the FAA."

Having a commercial license doesn't make one responsible any more than a trucker with a Class A who exceeds the speed limit which is daily around here. Knowing that if they are caught enough times and may lose their insurance and license both, it sure doesn't seem to stop them.

Reality is that some care, and some don't - and seems the ones who don't are money ahead in the game - albeit illegally and without conscious.
When you spend time and money to take a test and buy insurance you tend to think twice about what actions you take with a drone.
 
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Not sure if this has been discussed. I went to a lot of time and trouble - plus $150 testing fee - to get my Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate to be in the good graces of the FAA. I studied my butt off and made a 95% on the General Knowledge Test. Like many here, I intend to use Aerial video/photo services to supplement my income. That said, I did not anticipate the large number of rogue drone operators I would encounter who represent themselves as legitimate when in fact they are not, and lack the proper FAA certification (Section 333 Exemption or Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate). I don't mind competition from other certified aerial businesses, but when these rogue operators begin to saturate the market and hi-jack potential opportunities, I take exception to it.

I am simply shocked at how many so called "Commercial Operators" are out there representing themselves as being in compliance with FAA regulations concerning the commercial operation of a drone (under 55 pounds). I would even go so far as to call it borderline epidemic. Most are listed on Craigslist and are not shy about stating that they are engaged in for-hire commercial drone activities, even to the extent of publishing their rates.

I quizzed 5 of them by email and simply asked each if they held either a Section 333 Exemption or a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate. Out of the five I contacted, none (zero) had the proper certification. It was amazing to see how they convinced themselves that they were certified. One operator sent copies of his drone registration. When I asked him again if he had a 333 or 107, he made a vague reference to the Section 333 process, stating "Those have been delayed and still processings nationwide thats why we hold our active certificate til petitions are granted." Not sure what he meant by "... active certificate".

Another operator justified his activities by stating, "If your asking do I have the right to properly do business. My answer is, yes. This is a side job for me. If your upset about my prices I have set, you can look up the laws in regarding that." I don't recall the FAA making any exceptions for "side jobs".

I guess I'm just frustrated that this many people are circumventing the regulations - either intentionally or by honest misinterpretations. What makes matters worse is that more often than not, potential clients are clueless about the regulations for commercial operators. This, together with the FAA being overwhelmed by new pilots - both hobbyists and commercial - just makes matters worse.

So I'm throwing this out there to see if any of the Certified commercial operators on this board are finding the same situation in your neck of the woods. I'm also interested in suggestions on how these rogue practices can be put in check.

Thanks in advance.....
In the advertising for your business mention all of the required certificates, licenses and insurance that is required and what you have. Mention that anyone looking to hire someone should ask to see their required certificates and licenses as well. Soon people will learn what is required as well. The general public doesn't know, hell some time I'm not sure.
 
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BigAl07

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Be very careful if you decide to start ratting out your competitors. I'm not saying DO or DO NOT do it but it's a slipper slope and you don't want to look like "that guy". Realtors are nothing if not very SOCIAL. If you're wanting to build a business model on Realtor work you'll want to stay on their good side. Make one made and your area will sour to you in a heart beat.

I've been doing this for years and I know exactly where each of you are coming from. I was saying the same thing (maybe just to myself) just a few months ago before Part 107 was on the scene and so many of my fellow Part 107 operators were doing this type of work without a Section 333 Exemption. Sometimes you just have to turn the other cheek and beat them with AMAZING customer service and great products.
 
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Be very careful if you decide to start ratting out your competitors. I'm not saying DO or DO NOT do it but it's a slipper slope and you don't want to look like "that guy". Realtors are nothing if not very SOCIAL. If you're wanting to build a business model on Realtor work you'll want to stay on their good side. Make one made and your area will sour to you in a heart beat.

I've been doing this for years and I know exactly where each of you are coming from. I was saying the same thing (maybe just to myself) just a few months ago before Part 107 was on the scene and so many of my fellow Part 107 operators were doing this type of work without a Section 333 Exemption. Sometimes you just have to turn the other cheek and beat them with AMAZING customer service and great products.
Have to disagree. There certainly should be reasonable cause to "rat out", as you put it and there should be due diligence before contacting authorities. I prefer to call it upholding the law. If the rogues know there will be no push-back, then anarchy sets in and it becomes the wild west and the rogue operators run with total impunity. We've become a culture of whimps and the shrewd rogue operator counts on that to clear his path.
 

BigAl07

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Have to disagree. There certainly should be reasonable cause to "rat out", as you put it and there should be due diligence before contacting authorities. I prefer to call it upholding the law. If the rogues know there will be no push-back, then anarchy sets in and it becomes the wild west and the rogue operators run with total impunity. We've become a culture of whimps and the shrewd rogue operator counts on that to clear his path.

Good luck. We'll have to agree to disagree on this one.
 

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