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Section 333 Insights from Monterey Drone

Monterey Drone received their Section 333 Exemption on April 3rd. We reached out to learn more about the process from their perspective. They are located on the central coast of California and is an aerial video and photography firm.

Q. You filed your Section 333 exemption on November 7th of 2014, did the approval process go forward as you expected?

Yes, I didn’t expect the process to be a quick one. However, I didn’t expect it to take 5 months either.

Q. Would Monterey Drone have any recommendations to others who are just beginning the exemption process?

Have a clear objective on what you are using your UAV’s for. Be sure to have equipment test, pre-flight, and maintenance procedures in place prior to filing and include them in your original petition. This will speed up the process. We had 3 to 4 requests for additional information, I’m sure that made the process take longer.

Q. Do you have any advice for the FAA around the process?

Online filing procedures would make this process easier, and faster for both the FAA and the person(s) filing. A clear step by step of the process and documents that will be required.

Q. Your exemption paperwork notes that Monterey Drone: “The exemption would allow the petitioner to operate an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to conduct commercial applications for produce field management, real estate and marketing purposes, electrical engineering inspections, and live sporting events.”. Does this open up new businesses for you?

No, these are all fields that we have already started researching, working in, and or marketing to. We will be filing an amendment in the next few days to allow for additional areas, industries and addition UAS / Drone models.

Q. We noted in the exemption that Monterey Drone is going to use the DJI Phantom 2, why is this the right one for your use?

The Phantom 2 is what we call our work horse. This drone allows us to shoot in most environments and conditions. Small enough to transport easily, and stable enough to allow us to capture incredible video. Many people forget, this is not about the drones, it’s about capturing aerial video. The drone is just the tool, like a tri-pod for a camera. Myself and our other pilots have been flying remote control planes, helicopters, etc… for over 30yrs. Frankly, the quad copters (and 6 -8 copters) are boring to fly in themselves. But they are excellent camera platforms along with the real time video down link, a fantastic tool for onsite safety and emergency organizations. We have a DJI S1000 as well that we plan to use for hi-res cinema quality shots which will require an additional filing with the FAA.

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