Will Temporary Flight Restrictions Ruin Jobs for Drone Operators?

Will Temporary Flight Restrictions Ruin Jobs for Drone Operators?

As a U.S. citizen, I have to abide by the laws of my country; As a drone operator, I have to abide by the rules of the FAA, just like anybody else. Yesterday I was at a wedding in New York when I found out President Trump was venturing to his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey for a 17 day vacation. Along the way, he brought an amazing Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) that is stopping me and many other people from flying with in a 30 NM radius of his location.

I understand that this is my president, and I do respect that. As such a high up, Trump needs all the security he can get when traveling and being somewhere. I know that he travels to more places than just New Jersey, but wherever he goes, there is a TFR for a certain duration of time. This has happened before for about 2–4 days which isn't the end of the world, that is only a few days. However, a 17-day vacation that he decides to randomly take that creates a TFR spreading throughout a solid portion of New Jersey is a little ridiculous to me. Yesterday I was really fired up searching for some sort of solution but realized there probably isn't one.

After learning a thing or two about airspace after taking the Part 107, I understand that these rules are in place for a reason. I am not writing this just because it affects me, but because it affects everyone else in my field who does this for a living/hobby.

I am really annoyed that this TFR is out there because for the next two weeks, I will not be able to fly my drone for any reason, whether it be work or personal, in a large portion of New Jersey. At this point, I would have to say 85 percent of my jobs are aerial jobs. I fly my drone to shoot real estate literally on a daily basis doing anywhere between 2–5 houses a day on average and up to about 20 a week if it is that busy. Now maybe that doesn't sound like a lot to some people, maybe it does, but numbers aside for over two weeks I cannot fly. I cannot do what most of my jobs require me to do and even worse, I can't even fly for my own personal self unless I venture out of that space.

I am not the exception though, this goes for anyone out there who is looking to fly, anyone out there who is just like me. This hurts all of us and there really doesn't seem to be any sort of solution at the time, unless this gets in front of Trump. If he realizes that people can't work because of this, then the FAA would have to lessen the restrictions on the TFR. But what are the chances of that actually happening?

So in these next 17 days, I and many others will mourn because we cannot work in this specific part of New Jersey. Instead, we will have to venture outside of that airspace to shoot our own personal content and do any sort of commercial work.

The rules/laws are still very new and all of us have to follow them, so this article is to raise awareness that TFRs are hurting jobs for a lot of drone operators out there. We can take the time to catch up on other things, make sure our aircrafts are in good shape, and be ready to work when the TFR ends. The 17 days hurts so much for me, my clients (if they even understand), and everyone else who owns a drone. I'd like to hear some thoughts or solutions on this topic if anyone would like to comment.

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31 Comments

Anonymous's picture

"a 17-day vacation that he decides to randomly take" I'm not sure any president takes random vacations. I'd bet a lot of thought and debate goes into the timing of these things. That said, even though I think drones are spawns of hell, I feel your pain.

Ryan Mense's picture

I'm pretty sure Ty means it was not something publicly announced in advance, therefore he could not plan his business around it and instead he now has to deal with suddenly not being able to perform prearranged jobs. Obviously there's good security reasons for not announcing the president's schedule ahead of time, but it's fair for Ty to be frustrated.

Anonymous's picture

Agreed.

Is it the weekend? Yes.
Is Florida "Hot as Hell?" Yes, not going to visit Mar-a-Lago.

If only there was some sort of presidential retreat somewhere. A Camp maybe...?

The only problem is Camp David is too rustic for Trump. It doesn't have gold-plated toilets or chandeliers.

Every President has there favorite places to go. I heard the people of Hawaii were pretty tired of Obama's visits because what it did to traffic and everything else. I don't think that the people who lived in Waco minded Bush visiting.

Ty Poland's picture

Interesting that New Jersey is his choice haha, I mean it is a nice golf course and the weather hasn't been bad... I just want to be able to fly :/

Tayyeb Mubarik's picture

One solution is to make a special license to those who have to operate their drone in TFR for their work/business. Also keeping a limit on how many drones can fly at once in this zone and keeping a track on where these drones are.
Other than that I don't see any other option.

Ty Poland's picture

This sounds the most reasonable. Either way it seems like a lot of extra work the FAA would have to do to monitor all this stuff. I think lessening the restrictions and allowing people to fly for commercial use somehow would be a huge help to all the people out there who cant work because of this. I'm lucky right now that I'm just outside of that airspace, however a lot of my jobs sit right inside of it.

James McCann's picture

This, while a good suggestion, would lead to more work not just for the FAA but for the Secret Service. Each person would have to be vetted. Obviously the TFR wouldn't be announced before-hand, so for you to register would then take time. Maybe this could lead to some work being done by you, but I wonder how many people would apply.

Daniel Haußmann's picture

Those NFZs seem to be designed to allow enough reaction time for any hijacked manned aircraft entering this area. As drones have a far smaller range there could be a drone NFZ with maybe 10/20km diameter. 55km seems to be pretty ridiculous.

Ty Poland's picture

I can see that being a big deal for larger aircrafts and those can cause a lot more damage than a drone, but they are also more likely to be able to fly around that airspace. Drones are a different story, much smaller, less range, but the thing is you aren't even supposed to take off in that airspace which is what hurts the most

Maybe a system for voluntary background check & fingerprinting for exemption, sort of like the TSA Precheck

Ty Poland's picture

That could be helpful, even some sort of waiver or grant saying that you have permission to fly within restricted guidelines could help

Welcome to the aviation world.
We been following this rule for some time. Drones or Pilots, it there for a reason.

This won't change anything time soon. Enjoy your 17 day vacation.

dale clark's picture

I know it stinks. The Secret Service has no reason to grant "special" waivers and doubt they will. If anything, I see drone usage in general becoming much more restricted in the future. Many years ago when Vice President Mondale visited our high school, SS was there weeks ahead to install communication wires throughout the building. Entire sections of the school and classes moved so the tasks could be done

Mike Wilkinson's picture

This happens, and it's part of the gig IMO. I make sure to write a few paragraphs in my contracts for aerial gigs about this sort of thing so my client knows (and I'm not held accountable!) that TFRs can and do occur. Reschedule the best you can, or get all your ground shots done and bang all your aerials out once the TFR is lifted.

Leigh Miller's picture

This isn't a new issue...standard procedure anywhere the President or a senior cabinet official is travelling. Like anything else in life...work around it, reschedule or cancel. That's why we have those "unforeseen circumstances" clauses in contracts.

Aleksey Zozulya's picture

This is nothing new. I worked for an aerial photography company that uses Helicopters, and we'd be affected by TFR's as well. Major events like the UN, the vice president in town, also created no fly zones. The president always travels with a 25mile radius. For commercial reasons Weather and TFR are things "out of our control" fall into reasons for contract loopholes.

I was assigned to do a shoot of the entire New Jersey shore after Hurricane Irene (2011) from a blimp. President Obama announced the day before that he would be surveying damage and although it was pretty far north we had to stop several miles short of the top of the shore at Sandy Hook. It's part of life.

[Deleted duplicate post.]

Don't feel bad, you could live in Houston where basically the entire city is in a NFZ. We have one airport approx 10 miles north of the city and one approx 5 miles south. In between those two airports is the city center that is filled with heliports.
I can legally fly my drone............on vacation

Christoph .'s picture

Definitely one of those "one size fits all" rules that doesn't fit all. I can see why the rule is there, and no doubt there as a rule to cover planes and helicopters etc, but when we're operating RPV's that can't even travel 3NM, much less 30NM... it's a little draconian. What should sensibly be done here is an exception should be made for smaller craft, say under 2KG/5LB to be under a smaller NFZ radius.

Ty Poland's picture

I think that would make perfect sense. At least lessen it so UAV's can operate within a reasonable distance from where the president is. It isn't only the U.S that is affected by this but because drones are so new, I think it is easier to just restrict all aircraft. That being said, it is killing work for people like me and I have to plan around it or just deal with it and let clients know what is going on.

Claude B.'s picture

The restrictions territory aren’t large enough! The world should ban the drones if not for professional use.
Games, fun, hobby must never get permits to use drones.
Drone are noise polluter, scare birds, spying.

Drone hunters are welcome (Frequency killer, eagles, fishing rod, guns etc...)

If this jerk off is being sarcastic then good one sir...otherwise , feed his gun totting ass to the alligators and look him in the eye as those jaws are SNAPPING each and every bone in his body....there is no room for tolerance with garbage like this douche.

Ty Poland's picture

I actually think that the hobbyists are the ones that will cause danger here. Most of them are unaware of the TFR, don't check the maps, don't have any knowledge on the part 107, nor do they know that test even exists. These are the ones who will carelessly take their drones up in a No Fly Zone and cause problems for everyone else due to a lack of knowledge. I think if people are going to fly drones, they should have to take a test like you do when you get a drivers license or at least take the part 107 to understand the laws and what is involved in flying. The professionals hopefully know all they need to in order to follow the laws but it is the people who don't that I am concerned about, I feel like it is a bit unfair.

dale clark's picture

Unfortunately, as big corporations start using drones for deliveries , etc, more clamps will be placed on the small business person and hobbyist. The big companies have the $$$ to influence lawmakers. The general public will be fed "keeping skies safe, terror free and secure" and will be fine with it. Just like back in the 70's, law agencies set up " ident -a-kid" booths everywhere so parents could register their children's fingerprints in case of abduction, etc. In reality, it was to fill the FBI database ( like the ones you see portrayed on NCIS, etc).

dale clark's picture

You may want to have one of these for future flight restrictions. I have one and they are fantastic. At least you can still provide elevated stills and not lose all the income

http://www.polepixie.com/pixiepole.cfm

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