How to gain flight time with all the restrictions?

I am a licensed Part 107 pilot, also a Single engine land, Instrument rated private AC pilot, 40 years.
I live in Pennsylvania.The Governor just signed a law, effective the end of this month, that criminalizes use of drones, if some one complains that you are using your drone to spy on them. How they enforce this escapes me. I can only fly in my back yard so many times before I am expecting an issue. Add to that, you are not allowed to fly in any Federal or State park, and I was kicked out of two local parks where no one ever goes.
So my question essentially is, how and where do you fly your drone to gain flight experience to make yourself commercially viable? thanks, Mike

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When we were first getting started, we flew a lot at local model aircraft fields. Our city parks & recreation department publishes a list of local parks that allow model aircraft flying and we went there. We also searched for local model aircraft groups and found a couple of great places to fly with other enthusiasts. Sure, you have to share time with the drone racers and the scale modelers but there is usually plenty of time and space to practice.


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Unfortunately because of bad apples this is the direction we are going. Soon model pilots will have to pass a test and we are not far from transponders on all drones. I personally am for this because (1) It will deter the explosion of number of drones in the sky, (2) It will force people to become educated and (3) It will give the authorities the tools to actually regulate those bad apples. If you do what you are supposed to do, notify people out of a courtesy even if it isn’t required and educate others you will shine.

Despite all of this you need to study your drone law and know it by heart. It can be a weapon for you. I have had several citizens, police and sheriffs try to deter me from flying and I very nicely explain what the situation is and they become enamored and want to know more. There are bad apples there to and then you have to know your rights as a citizen. As an example of the courtesy I mentioned I took a handful of my business cards and drafted a note on a mailing label that I stick to the back of them explaining exactly what we are doing and that we are in no way collecting data on their property. Providing my contact information and encouraging a call if they have any questions. I have zero issues.

State and Federal restrictions have been in place for a long time. Local parks are covered by flying over non-participants, but there are plenty of places to fly if someone has an objection. How did you get “kicked out”?

I was " practice flying" in a local park. No one was there. After a while a state trooper pulls up and ask what I was doing. I explained. Showed him my license, etc…

He said he had a complaint and ask me to leave. He was very courteous. But said I couldn’t fly there.

I do not know who could have complained. No houses around. Just don’t know.

Thanks, Mike

Thanks for the reply. It does not seem to be a healthy business model. :frowning: Mike

I would have made him cite the regulation or bylaw at least so I could write it down. Ultimately I would have left though.

I haven’t had this experience as of yet but, I see it happening. I was thinking of investing in a caution vest and wearing that as I fly so people wont think I am some sort of spy or . I heard about this technique from watching aerial drone photographers in populated areas on YouTube.

I think thats a good idea. Try to look official… Mike

Cool! yeap, thats it. :slight_smile:

I wear a safety vest every time I fly, whether I’m flying for our company or not. Especially in areas where there might be questions.