From Toys to Tools – UAS (Drone) use in the Home Inspection Profession

How many of you are thinking about or have already gotten or about to get a Drone as a Christmas, Birthday gift, Anniversary gift, or self-gifting it to yourself? Within this next couple of months there will be over several hundred thousand drones purchased for the holiday season. The skies will be full of folks learning how to fly in neighborhoods, cities and towns.  If you’re considering this type tool in your business and calling them Drones” you may not be perceived to be a professional in the industry.  you would be looked at as more of a hobbyist,

The word “Drone” was used to soften or to make it easier for folks to identify the Unmanned Aerial Systems “ UAS”, as they call it in the industry. I could take a lot of time and go over the timeline of how we’ve come to this point but I have upcoming training classes that we will talk about this in more depth.

podium-bruceThere are two types of operators right now that are using UAS’s. There are the hobbyists who are governed by the AMA American Modelers Association and then there are the commercial users. They fall under a different realm of the FAA guidelines.  Over the last year and a half there have been several different types of credentials that are being looked at and may be required for the type of flight operations that you will be engaging in.

If you’re planning to fly commercial there was a 333 endorsement which had very specific criteria in the way that you operated and now there is the part 107 which also has waivers depending on what applications in operations that you are looking to operate under. (See links below)

The FAA’s has come out with several guidelines within the last couple of months and I have heard from several home Inspectors around the country that feel that these rules are not going to pertain to them or that they’re not going to abide by them because they don’t feel that they need to, they don’t feel that they need to go out and take the certification class from the FAA to be able to fly under the 107 guidelines.  I can assure you that after attending several seminars, Expos and national summits regarding this a lot of the rules by state, municipality’s and FAA guidelines are constantly in flux and changing local municipalities are taking it upon themselves to self- govern in their particular City, County, Township, jurisdiction,

I would be very cautious if you’re going to be one of those Cowboys that are going blaze their own trail, you could find out that you could lose your ability to utilize your UAS and have several fines, possible charges, or even lose your equipment with no legal recourse.

I would strongly suggest and here are some links to the FAA website to help you to fly professionally and not put yourself in a financial hardship or risk penalties, fines, or losing your investment of equipment.

If you want to get an idea of what some of the questions on the test will be like you can take a free online training course and sample test from the FAA. This is designed for licensed pilots but it will give you a very good idea of the questions that will be asked.

To take the course. The course will take about 45 minutes and the sample test will take about an hour or so. If you are thinking about taking the Part 107 test I would highly encourage you to take this free course and test.

Within the next couple of months I’ve been asked/ tasked, to put together several training classes on the use / applications of UAS’s applying to the home inspector industry from inspecting roofs, building structure, property analysis and agricultural, even search and rescue.

There will be several opportunities and applications that you would be able to utilize these tools in your day-to-day business to enhance your reporting capabilities, to increase some of the safety in which you inspect roofs, chimneys and commercial building equipment, You can even possibly reach out to some of the municipalities, cities or towns in assisting with rescue operations or search and rescue in remote areas becoming an asset to your community.

I’m starting to get asked frequently what is the best Drone UAS or how much do I need to spend my question back to them would be well what are you planning on utilizing it for are you planning a flying it with your kids in the park as a hobbyist or integrating it into your business as a tool.

There’s a lot of fine models out there that range from $500-$2000 that will fulfill most of your needs and some of your wants, There’s other applications that you may want to consider in looking into, building a custom unit to fulfill your very specific needs I have been researching and talking with manufacturers on just this I am working on coming up with a couple of options depending on your skill level, operational needs, and of course within a specific price point.

This is just a small taste of what’s going on in the industry there is definitely way too much information for me to in part in such a small form, I will try to get out more information in the next couple of weeks as to when I am going to be conducting classes from basic operations to utilizing the UAS in the field and how to go about it.

Bruce is a Certified ASHI Home Inspector and Trainer and is Certified in Advanced Mold Assessment, has earned a FEMA Disaster Housing Certification, and is TRI Certified. Bruce currently sits on the ASHI Board of Directors. Learn more about Bruce – click the BIO link below to download his full biography.

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