Drones Give Hospice Patients One Last Look

A Cleveland hospice center has started working with Tom Davis, the owner of Aerial Anthropology to provide patients with a final trip. Aerial Anthropology will send a drone to the location of the patient's choice and relay a real-time view. One man decided to use the drone to fly over his former neighborhood, job site and church. Another woman decided to get a final view of the lake her family had been visiting for generations.

The idea came to Tom when the daughter of a friend became so sick she was not able to leave the house. Davis planned to use the drone to take the child on a tour of her favorite places but luckily she recovered before the flight.  Tom decided his idea would be more beneficial for individuals who will not recover, giving them a temporary reprise from their confinement.  The program has been a huge success in Cleveland. Before the program began patients often asked hospice workers to drive them by landmarks that hold importance and sentimental value.

Tom Davis hopes to expand the program nationwide.



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.





Flying Drones, Out of Sight

Much to the dismay of many drone pilots, current laws require them to keep their drones within their line of sight. A team of researchers are currently working to change that.

The proposed plan would create a network of receivers that would establish a wide-area network, connecting devices that are far apart.  This network would be able to track drone activity at lower altitudes. The main reason for this change is to allow for quicker and safer cleanup after disasters, aid in search and rescue missions, and mapping for better data on droughts.

The first network will be in North Dakota with an end goal of expanding across the United States.  This change will have far reaching effects for many commercial drone businesses, especially the drone delivery business.

Eventually the drone network will allow recreational users to fly their drones farther as well.  As drone users gain the ability to fly their drones farther and with less impediment it is likely that the FAA begins enforcing stricter guidelines for drone pilots. Be prepared by passing the FAA Remote pilot in Command Certification exam.

For more information about drone testing, exam prep, and education visit our website, call 1-800-727-7104 or email info@traininginstitutesedu.com.


New Ultra-Industrial Drone Announced

Drones are increasingly being used in commercial markets.  DJI recently released their most industrial model, meant for use on search and rescue missions, bridge inspections, cell tower inspections, and everything else. The new model has an upward facing camera specifically for bridge inspections and a front-facing camera which streams to the pilot constantly.  The new model, M200, also has an ADS-B receiver that alerts the pilot when other aircrafts come into range so the pilot can take evasive measures.

The M200 is set to start shipping in the second quarter of this year but no price has been released yet.  As drones continue to gain popularity in commercial markets it will be ever more important for businesses to stay on top of the required testing and education necessary to use them effectively.

For more information about drone testing, exam prep, and education visit our website, call 1-800-727-7104 or email info@traininginstitutesedu.com.


UAS Sighting Reports

An associate of mine recently sent me a list of UAS sightings by manned aircraft and it astounded me. As a licensed private pilot and commercial drone operator I have an understanding of the negative consequences associated with reckless drone flight.

I remember my one “close call” while flying a Cessna 172 Skyhawk G1000. I was on my second solo cross country flight. I was on short final for an uncontrolled airport in Northern Michigan. This was the first airport that I would be doing a touch and go on before heading out on the second leg of my flight. It was a clear day and I had a 3-knot headwind. It was a perfect day for flying. I was about 300ft AGL when a bird struck the windshield of the aircraft. As a very green pilot this shook me up a bit. It was just a little blackbird and did not damage the Cessna whatsoever but it did cause me to lose my concentration. Being the overly cautious person that I am I immediately increased throttle and announced to airport traffic that I would be going around.

This experience taught me a lot and after reading these reports made me think. What if that blackbird was a UAS? What would have been the consequences? If the drone hit the prop most likely it would have been shredded and thrown plastic shrapnel back at the windshield of the little Cessna. If it missed the prop and hit the windshield it would have probably cracked if not broken the windshield. If the drone was big enough it could even damage the aircraft and having a green pilot behind the yoke it could be disastrous.

I want to urge everyone who picks up a controller to a UAS; take the time to research the rules and regulations. Use the tools the FAA gives you to learn what you can and can’t do with your new drone. Educate yourself and think of the drone as a dangerous piece of equipment that can cause serious damage. If used recklessly it can injure or kill.

Good luck and keep on flying.

If you are interested in becoming a commercial drone pilot please visit our website, call 800-727-7104 or email info@traininginstitutesedu.com





Drone Crashes Through 27th Floor Window

A Manhattan woman got unpleasant surprise this week when a GoPro drone crashed through her 27th floor window into her living room, landing just four feet away from her.  It is illegal to fly drones anywhere in the city aside from a few designated parks in the outer-boroughs.  The pilot will likely be easy to find since drones are tracked through the FAA registry or the serial number found within the battery casing.

The FAA has issued fines up to $200,000 for flying drones in violation of FAA regulations in New York.  The best way to avoid fines and property damage is to follow FAA guidelines directly by passing the FAA Small Unmanned Aerial Systems test and learning the relevant air codes.

Certified Training Institute offers exam prep to help individuals pass the FAA Unmanned Aerial Systems test the first time, as well as, individual classes to aid in the use of drones for recreation, construction, or real estate.

If you have any questions about drone licensing, please call 1-800-727-7104 or email info@traininginstitutesedu.com


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!


This Week’s Course Spotlight: Drones in Construction

As a contractor, showcasing your work is one of the better ways to set yourself a part from the competition. Drones, can capture a vision of your work, that before would have been impossible to see. Greg MacMaster from Eagle Eye Drone Service in Traverse City, MI, is our featured instructor in our new course that focuses on Drones in Construction. This course covers everything from the different types of UAV/Drones to the benefits of using drones at the job site.

How Can I Use Drones in Construction?

This course will answer the questions “Which drone is right for me?” and “What is it that I want my drone to do?” Greg MacMaster does an excellent job of covering important topics in this 4-hour introductory course. The following topics will be addressed:

  • Surveying
  • Mapping
  • Site Selection
  • Inspections/pre-inspections
  • Project progress
  • Aerial photo documentation on the job completion
  • And much more!


Real Life Example of Drone Use in Construction:

Let’s say a customer owns a three story hotel, and wants the roof inspected. You find out, there is no roof access, and it has a 12/12 pitch. You have two options, hire another company to come in with their equipment, which could take days to complete a full roof inspection costing extra time and money. Or take twenty minutes out of your day to fly a drone, equipped with a camera, up near the roof and complete a full inspection. Having the ability to inspect the roof by drone will not only save time and money, but it will also keep you and your crew safe from the dangers that come with steep pitch roof systems.

greg_macmaster_head_shotAbout the Instructor

Greg MacMaster spent 22 years as a Meteorologist for WPBN/WTOM (NBC) Traverse City, Michigan. During that time, he also taught as an Adjunct Instructor in Aviation Meteorology at Northwestern Michigan College. After retiring as a Meteorologist Greg served as a State Representative and represented the 105th District, from 2011 to 2014. Today Greg is the co-owner of Eagle-Eye Drone Service and preforms aerial imaging services for many industries, and teaches as a Certified FAA Instructor – Wings Program. He has accumulated over 2000 flights and 400 hours of flight operations in real estate construction industry


Alaska Builders Biennial License Renewal

Alaska state law requires all General contractors to be licensed.  Anyone who performs mostly commercial work and residential remodel work of less than 25% of the value of the structure must have a General Contractor without Residential Contractor Endorsement (which doesn’t require an exam). However, anyone who performs new home construction, commercial work, and residential remodel work of more than 25% of the value of the home or structure being altered is required to have a General Contractor License with Residential Contractor Endorsement.

When Does My Alaska Contractor License Renew?

Contractors have a biennial license renewal of December 31st of even numbered years. 16 hours of continued education are required each renewal cycle. An applicant for renewal of a residential contractor endorsement for the first time will need to document 8 hours of acceptable continued education. Renewal of Endorsement will coincide with the renewal of the General Contractor registration.

Who Offers Approved Online Continued Education?

Builders License Training Institute offers several online continued education courses. Each course is 8-hours so contractors can mix and match to create a package to suite their learning preferences.

Top 3 Continued Education Courses:

  • Drones in Construction and Successful Site Design: This eight-hour course combines Drone Technology with Successful Site Design.  Learn the proper and practical use of Drone Technology as well as the basics of aerial survey and mapping. You will also learn to develop a building program, including site selection, utilization, and way finding.
  • Manage Your Way to Big Profits: This eight-hour course will help prepare the learner for the scope of responsibilities that a professional construction project manager must be prepared to perform.
  • Contracts, Liabilities & Risk Management: This eight-hour video course explains the principles of contract law and the important elements of a home building and remodeling contract.