Drones Are The New Fireworks

Communities in Western states such as California, Colorado, and Arizona are moving towards drone swarms as a safe alternative over organized fireworks this July 4th due to droughts and wildfires.

The Aspen Chamber Resort Association in Colorado replaced their firework show with drones knowing they had a small chance of getting fireworks permit. The Travis Air Force Base in California never did fireworks because of fire danger but this year was able to feature choreographed drones that wowed viewers in animated displays such as a gigantic red-white-blue American flag and California icons in tune of different music.

Fire workers in California are happy to see drones being utilized over fireworks. “Definitely worth it to use a drone over live fireworks,”, said Lyn Tolmachoff, spokesperson for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “The drones are choreographed and programmed to ensure they don’t fall across power lines.”

Drone shows have been around for years with notable performances at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2017. China banned fireworks across more than 400 cities to help reduce pollutions and drone swarms have acted as an entertainment substitute.


Individuals piloting drones for commercial purposes must pass the FAA Remote Pilot in Command  Exam in order to obtain a certificate.
Certified Training Institute offers online video exam prep to ensure you pass the exam on your first try!


Drones Provide Safety during Ramadan

During Ramadan 2018 (16 May-14 June), security staff at the largest mosque in the world will be using drones to fly high above the throngs of pilgrims to ensure public safety.

Saudi Arabia suffered a major tragedy during Ramadan 2015. During Hajj, two large groups of pilgrims traveling in opposite directions came together at an intersection near the Jamaraat Bridge. There was insufficient space for the people gathering which caused mass panic and a ‘crush’. It was estimated that at least 2200 people from 36 countries were killed. It was the deadliest event at Mecca.

Unfortunately, this was not the only tragedy to strike the holy land. The Al-Haram Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is an enormous complex normally capable of holding 900,000 worshippers. During Hajj (the annual period when many Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca) this capacity leaps to 4 million! On multiple occasions, hundreds or even thousands of people were killed during stampedes.

As a response to criticism of the tragedy, Saudi Arabia seems to be taking safety more seriously. The drones will be controlled by security forces who will be on the lookout for anyone acting suspiciously, as well as helping authorities to monitor the movements of people throughout Mecca. Accompanying the drones will be 25,000 cameras, 2,400 policemen, and 1,300 security patrols.

Drone technology is changing the world of safety. In the next year, almost 2.3 million of the unmanned aircraft will be sold. Right now, is the perfect time to launch your career into the sky, starting with our FAA Remote Pilot in Command Certification Exam Prep!


Individuals piloting drones for commercial purposes must pass the FAA Remote Pilot in Command  Exam in order to obtain a certificate.
Certified Training Institute offers online video exam prep to ensure you pass the exam on your first try!


Drone Use In Aerial Pesticide Application Flies Into Regulatory Hurdles

The use of drones in the agriculture industry for pesticide application has been growing so popular in recent years that it’s time for outdated rules and regulations to catch up with the trend.  Ryan V. Petty wrote in Harvard Journal of Law & Technology that existing laws are hurting farmers and businesses, stating that “current regulations fail to reflect technological advancements in aerial pesticide application, create barriers to entry, and reduce competitiveness.” 

Petty outlined a few regulatory hurdles currently facing drones:

FAA pesticide regulations do not reflect the unique nature of drones.
Drones compared to a traditional helicopter or plane has more benefits such as flying lower, they are smaller, and can hover in place for longer periods of time. They can be effectively be controlled independently, have pre-programmed mapping and GPS.

Inability to waive hazardous material transport restriction further prevents the use of drones in aerial pesticide application.
Drones are forbidden from carrying hazardous materials that include active ingredients in pesticides, these chemicals would be banned from transport unless a time-consuming exemption was granted.

EPA pesticide regulations require modification in light of new drone uses.
Among the requirements of a pesticide label are instructions on how to apply, e.g, by helicopter, fixed-wing aircraft, or both. This is to minimize the risk of pesticides drifting to non-target areas and protect neighboring crops and workers. Drones offer the benefit of applying pesticides closer and reducing the concern for drift—as well as substituting hand-application methods.

Currently, there are three FAA exemption and waiver processes that a drone operator would need to navigate through to dispense pesticides, depending on the drone type:

  • Section 333 exemptions (drones over 55 Ibs)
  • Part 107 Waivers for drones (smaller drones)
  • Part 11 exemptions (permit relief from a vast array of FAA regulations)

Petty argues that updates to the FAA and EPA regulations dealing with aerial pesticide application are long overdue, especially in the emergence of drones being a possible safer and cheaper substitute for traditional methods. But until regulations get improved, a combination of section 333 exemptions, part 107 waivers, and section 11 exemptions are a viable and burdensome process.


How Are Drones Being Used for Businesses?

The following is a snippet from our Drones in Construction course.

Drones are being used in a growing number of industries. Here are a few short examples of how you can use drones to enhance your business.

  1. Agriculture: An IR (Infra-Red) camera can sense plant health to determine the onset of a disease that is undetectable to the naked eye. The UAV use could save upwards of $125,000 in pesticide use for a whole field (one application) by containing the disease early on.
  2. Utility: Provide inspection services in the fraction of the time it takes a crew of 2 to do the same work in one 8-hour day. Saving upwards of $1800/day. There would be multiple crews performing inspections where the UAV could do it in one day.
  3. GIS: A survey crew (2@ $180/hour) would take 8 hours ($1440) to set multiple ground control points for an 8-acre parcel that the UAV could map in 1 hour, with greater precision. The larger the location, the higher the cost for a 2-person crew to set GCP. One day of surveying is equal to 1 hour of drone mapping and surveying.
  4. Construction: How long would it take to measure every corner on the outside of a home being built? Every window and door opening, just for starters? You could fly the UAV and map the dwelling in 1 hour to post process in your office later with millimeter accuracy. Have a custom home you're showcasing and want to sell your services better? Use the UAV for cinematic exposure of your work, using still images and video elements. It captures the creative mind of those looking to buy and engages them to reach out to your company which can accelerate sales.
  5. ExcavationHoles dug, dirt moved. How much?  Map the site in less than an hour and determine how many cubic meters were added or removed. Pre-map the site before excavation is ever performed to see where the dirt needs to be moved and placed. Depending on your flight overlap, you could get your measurements down to one inch or less.

These are just a few examples of how a UAV could benefit a business or industry. There’s only one limitation, and that's your creativity to engage this technology in your business application.

Sometimes training exclusively on a system isn’t possible and once a UAV mishap happens, costs go up by replacing technology and expected savings on the anticipated use of technology goes down. Planning becomes harder with unknowns. This is why hiring a UAV company can save time, money and provide the expected outcome more quickly.



All commercial drone pilots must possess a Remote Pilot in Command Certificate which can be obtained by passing the FAA Remote Pilot in Command Exam.

Step 1: Pay the $5 fee and register your aircraft
Step 2: Pass the $150 Small UAS Remote Pilot Exam – exam prep is available here.
Step 3: Pass a TSA background check
Step 4: File FAA Form 8710-13

Check out our Complete Guide to Commercial Drone Use for more information.


4 Ways to Use (& Potentially Use) Drones for Construction

The following is a snippet from our Drones in Construction course. This course is approved for continuing education in multiple states.
Follow the link and choose your state to get started.



Monitor job site progress. Drones can be used to remotely monitor job site progress to make sure things are on track and to create immediate, real-time changes or adjustments as needed. The footage can be sent in real time to clients, investors and lead persons on the job. Architects and engineers can gain immediate access to the job site on screen, rather than having to make the trip out.

Measure stockpiles/excavations. Catch major and minor deviations. Computer technology can compare what's on the plans to what's happening in real life. Images from the drones can be fed through specific software to compare it with the plans. This type of surveillance can show you if walls are misaligned or if a window is missing or installed in the wrong place, for example.


Increasing job site safety. Your drone surveillance can show you whether or not your workers are using best practices - regardless of whether management or an OSHA safety inspector is on site. You can correct these behaviors immediately and workers will be more apt to use best practices when they know they are being watched. The drones can also access dangerous or hard-to-reach areas, such as an unfinished roof, allowing inspectors or specialists to assess a particular challenge or issue, and make recommendations for changes, or improvements without putting themselves at risk.

Reduce the amount of high-risk work performed by humans. Currently, only smaller hobby-type crafts - mostly good for video and photo only - are allowed to be used in any type of construction site monitoring capacity. However, as legislation
continues to address the needs and wants of the public, larger drones - even with permits - will become the norm. These drones will have nanobot technology, allowing high-risk work to be done by the drone, rather than humans, further enhancing job site safety conditions.

A recent article in Construction Executive states, "drones show potential to aid job site safety and efficiency." And, a similar article on siemens.com is titled, "Need Construction Site Surveillance? Hire a drone." We can see it now, once the legalities have been worked out, construction sites will have large signs saying, "Warning: This job site is monitored by drones with cameras.” In most cases, construction companies contract out for drone work, however, they can certainly become an in-house operation as well with the right training and resources.


Reduce construction theft. We half-joked that construction sites may soon post signage announcing they are surveilled by drones. However, this type of surveillance could drastically reduce construction theft. In addition to preventing in-house theft, occasional fly-bys of vacant sites can deter vandalism, theft or loiterers from placing your job site on their rotation.


This may be a stretch, but someday drones could be used to transport materials. If drones could transport materials from one side of the job site to the other, there will be less manual labor needed from the workers. This would be especially helpful in the hard to reach areas, where workers might have trouble moving materials with ease. The weight of the objects being transported would be an issue, though, depending on the size and power of the drone being used. Another issue would be how they would pick up the materials- manually attached by a human or mechanically with a claw or net.


Lockheed Martin Destroys Drones with Lasers in Weapons Demo

Lockheed Martin recently released a video of its latest laser weapons test. The laser was fired from the 30-kilowatt class ATHENA, a prototype powered by a Rolls-Royce turbogenerator.

Tests were conducted on five Outlaw drones by Lockheed and the US Army's Space and Missile Defense Command. Outlaws are commonly used for target practice and training in the United States military. The laser destroys the drones by hitting their fuel source and causing an explosion on board.

Lasers are especially useful for military as they are able to cause confusion and chaos without giving away their position. While this technology may seem new, the U.S. military shot down a drone with a laser back in 1973.


All commercial drone pilots must possess a Remote Pilot in Command Certificate which can be obtained by passing the FAA Remote Pilot in Command Exam.

  1. Pay the $5 fee and register any aircraft that weighs more than 0.55lbs.
  2. Pass the $150 Small UAS Remote Pilot Exam – exam prep is available here.
  3. Pass a TSA background check
  4. File FAA Form 8710-13

Check out our Complete Guide to Commercial Drone Use for more information.

Drone Logo

Why Use Drones in Solar and Wind Plants

Imagine rappelling down the side of a 250 to 400 foot-tall wind turbine for inspections. Next, you must inspect each 150-foot long blade. Better hope it's not windy. Drones are being used as a safer, faster alternative to human inspection at wind farms worldwide. A drone pilot, on the ground, can inspect windmills with as much, if not more, accuracy than a human swaying from a rope 400 feet in the air. As a bonus, drone inspections provide recorded footage of the structures for comparison in years to come.

Drones are even more useful at solar farms because the naked eye cannot detect damage to solar panels. Instead, 20% of each plant is scanned with an infrared camera every year. Clearly, a 20% scan only gives solar farms an idea of how their panels are holding up. Drones can be used to scan an entire solar farm several times each year for the same or less cost and time than a handheld thermal camera.


All commercial drone pilots must possess a Remote Pilot in Command Certificate which can be obtained by passing the FAA Remote Pilot in Command Exam.

Step 1: Pay the $5 fee and register any aircraft that weighs more than 0.55lbs.
Step 2:  Pass the $150 Small UAS Remote Pilot Exam – exam prep is available here.
Step 3: Pass a TSA background check
Step 4: File FAA Form 8710-13

Check out our Complete Guide to Commercial Drone Use for more information.



Drones for Construction

How are drones used in construction?

Drones can do the job of manned aircrafts and human surveyors but they collect data more accurately than either. This allows construction crews to work quicker with less wasted time and product. Technology companies are currently working to perfect software that will enable contractors to turn the data collected by drones into 3D structural models and topographical maps.

What are the requirements for drone use?

Companies using a drone for commercial purposes must have an employee who has passed their FAA Remote Pilot Test. This test will ensure drone pilots understand flight dynamics,  how to accommodate for weather, and sUAS flight operations.  Certified Training Institute offers an FAA Exam Prep Course to ensure individuals are able to pass the exam on their first attempt.

Where can I find drones in construction courses?

Companies can start using their drone for construction as soon as they have passed the FAA Remote Pilot Test.  However, Certified Training Institute has created a 4 hour Drones in Construction video class to teach the user how to most effectively utilize drones with the added bonus of counting as 4 hours of continuing education in Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Oregon.


Can a Drone Lift a Human?

I recently viewed a YouTube video by Casey Neistat and Samsung, where a massive drone is lifting Casey over buildings. The drone used to accomplish this was a 16 motor hexadecacopter. It uses carbon fiber propellers and has 16 independent motors. It is 10 feet wide and weighs 165 pounds with 16 batteries and 1065 pounds of thrust. A spectacular marvel of technology to say the least.

Let’s talk about rules and regulations for a moment. This drone is not legal to fly in the United States without direct approval by the FAA. The operation of a drone of this magnitude without the proper approvals could land you in some very hot water. We are talking major fines, if not jail time. I bet you are wondering how did Casey Neistat pulled it off. He traveled to Finland, which has less restrictive laws when it comes to drones.

A word to the wise for anyone who is interested in trying something like this. Do Not lift anything that breathes, and make sure you are ready for this investment. It is no small task. A drone of this type costs tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of labor to build. I recommend starting small. Build a rig for a couple hundred dollars. This will familiarize you with the tools, parts, and flight controls required for UAS systems. Also, if you crash a two hundred-dollar drone it isn’t the end of the world.

If you want to go into business that involves using drones in a commercial capacity, you will need to first pass an exam giving you the Remote Pilot in Command Certification and then register your drone with the FAA.  Certified Training Institute provides the FAA Commercial Drone (UAS) exam preparation course in full video with Greg MacMaster, the UAV Pilot who provided the content to the FAA for the exam.


Four Drone Shots That Will Make Your Listing Pop

The use of drones in real estate photography has changed the game when it comes to high-quality video from the air. An experienced UAV pilot may make it look easy, but that comes with a price. You’ll have to find the balance when it comes to cutting into profits to keep up with the competition. One way is to learn how to film your own drone videos.

Here are four video drone shots you can practice so you can film your own listings and have them look just as good as the pro’s.

  1. The Fly-By The fly-by will work in almost every situation and should be used for every listing you film. The best way to film a fly-by is to set your focal point at 200 feet out. Slowly fly by your subject panning left or right. This will add drama to the shot. Fly all the way by the subject and let it leave the frame.


  1. The High Pan – I love to use the high pan when filming a large property, especially waterfront. This is a basic shot that shows the expanse and surrounding areas. Fly straight up to between 150 to 250 feet, depending on how far you want to show in the shot. Once you reach your desired height, slowly pan the drone in a complete circle. Do your best to keep the pan as smooth as possible. The slower the pan, the better. You can always speed it up in editing.

  1. The Orbit – The orbit is a more difficult shot, but it will pay off in the end. It involves both lateral flight and a slow pan. To set up this shot, you will want to set a distance from the structure of 25 to 75 feet. Keep this distance throughout the shot, maintaining a clear flight path all the way around the structure. This is where a spotter can really come in handy. Be sure to keep the structure in the center of the frame throughout the shot.

  1. The Reveal – The reveal is a shot that can set your video apart from every other listing on the market. It is best used when you have waterfront property. Start the drone on the opposite side of the structure from the water. Fly 15 feet off the ground and point the camera straight toward the ground. Fly up and over the building as you pan the camera up. The closer you get to the roof of the home or building the better, but keep it safe. You do not want to have to go looking for a ladder to get your drone off the roof. As you fly over the building, the beautiful water will be revealed, adding a dramatic touch to your listing video.

I hope these shots have helped in filming your own real estate listings. Be sure to practice these shots in a wide-open area before attempting them at a listing. The last thing you want to do is fly into a client’s home or commercial property. Keep it safe and have fun flying.

Interested in learning more? Check out real estate specific drone courses at Real Estate Training Institute. We also offer Commercial Drone Pilot Training too!