Frequently asked questions

What are the regulations to fly a UAS in the United States of America?

To legally fly an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) in the US National Air Space (NAS), you technically need to have a Certificate of Authorization (COA) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In addition, all flights are required to be done within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the pilot in command (PIC) and below 400 feet above ground level (AGL). We strongly recommend that you review the online documentation on the FAA's website at http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/uas Congress has mandated that the FAA develop a plan to integrate UAS into the NAS by September 2015 and to move faster on standards for small UAS weighing less than 55 pounds (sUAS). Until then, the use of UAS is restricted. For more information, please visit http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/uas/uas_faq

The above said, there is increasing doubt about the FAA's authority over sUAS. The most important setback to the FAA came on March 7, 2014 when an administrative judge on the National Transportation Safety Board ruled that the commercial use of small drones is in fact legal, despite six years of FAA statements to the contrary (see on theverge.com). Other competent industry observers also seriously question the FAA's authority (e.g., see on slate.com)

Do I need insurance and if so, what are some of the considerations?

A major part of your purchase decision should be the availability of insurance for your Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). While it is always a good idea to cover your UAS for any accidental damages and theft as well as mitigate your risk from third party liability claims, most commercial operations and aerial services mandate liability insurance. Being able to obtain insurance is a two-step process: 1. your UAS must be insurable as determined by your underwriter and insurance carrier, and 2., you and/or the operator of the UAS must satisfy certain minimum insurability criteria. Be aware that not all UAS are insurable!

For a list of UAS and UAV manufacturers whose products have been determined by Transport Risk Management and their Aviation Insurance Companies to be insurable for both Hull and Liability Coverage for all operations click here

How far and how high do the drones fly?

Technically the drones have a range of at least 1000 metres. With the MULTIROTOR software license, included in each MULTIROTOR service-drone, the flight radius is 250 metres. This can be extended up to 750 metres by the Pro-Version. Altitude is generally restricted to 150 metres by the aviation authorities. The limit is set by how far you can see. A normal person cannot distinguish the drone’s flight location clearly once it’s more than 300 metres away.

How long is the drone’s battery life?

The length of the flight mainly depends on the individual weight of the copter, the camera it is loaded with, the batteries and any other technical components that are required. The length of the flight is therefore always linked to the set-up. On average, flight times with a battery set are between 10 and 30 minutes.

Is the length of the flight with one battery set sufficient?

For most photo and film applications 10 to 30 minutes flying time with a battery are sufficiently long enough. Every flight, every subject and all settings are planned in advance. Images are therefore very effective and are not processed haphazardly. According to the camera being used, it is possible to take up to 200 high-resolution photos in 10 minutes. For films the average shot lasts around 3 to 6 seconds; long shots do not last more than 30 seconds. One battery life is enough to repeat the shots as often as is required.

Ultimately the limit is not set by the technical length of the flight, but rather your own concentration span. For complex shots, e.g. flying in confined spaces, around obstacles and as close as possible to performers, even the best and most experienced pilots cannot concentrate with the required precision for longer than 10 minutes and take a short brain break before carrying on with the flight.

Can different cameras be used?

Yes, it is possible to use photographic cameras, video cameras or special cameras, e.g. thermal imaging cameras. However, they must be individually integrated by our workshop. The reason for this is that not every camera is suitable for video flight and the weight of the camera, the shape and its measurements, irregular plug connections and different interfaces all have to be taken into account in order to be able to release them remotely and play the live images. You can find suitable cameras recommended by us in the technology section. Other cameras can be potentially integrated on request.

Will the image through the viewfinder be transmitted back to the ground?

Yes, on a monitor, the ground station or video glasses the live images from the camera’s viewfinder are visible in real-time, so that you can capture the subject precisely. You’re therefore not flying blind, but following your direction.

Can the system also be operated with a separate cameraman?

Yes, service-drone is the first manufacturer to make teamwork part of the general standard. All MULTIROTOR copter and the on-board cameras can be 100% directed by one person using the pilot transmitter or an Apple iPad. If you as the pilot want to work as part of a team with your cameraman, you simply switch on the second camera transmitter. The pilot and cameraman can then share the work and achieve the very best results, particularly with films.

How do I direct the camera?

Generally, the set-up of the camera is specific to each one. As a rule, they are flown with a short, fixed focal length. This has the advantage of allowing you to produce inherently stable images and can get close to your subject. The advantage of the flying camera lies in the ability to vary the distance without having to use a telephoto lens. Your images are therefore clearer, more colourful and more attractive.

The camera can be fully inclined through to vertically downwards and can be turned through 360 degrees above the copter and then triggered, either using the main transmitter (pilot transmitter) or the camera transmitter. According to the type of camera being used, fully manual shots or automatic recording modes can be selected. Combined with the biaxial or triaxial camera mounts and the fact that inessential components can be removed, this way of directing the camera is very practical and has been tried and tested hundreds of times. Some cameras are featuring optical zoom-functions which can be remotely controlled, this allows a good overview and detailed view during to safety operations.

Do I need a pilot’s licence?

No, you don’t need a pilot’s licence but you need some practice, which we can give you in our flight trainings. In Germany, in order to fly for commercial use a flight permission in required. service-drone offers the needed support!

Can I try the drone before I buy it?

Yes, simply simply arrange a test flight at one of our locations.

What is special about the MULTIROTOR camera drones?

service-drone only provides practical systems that have been tried and tested hundreds of times. We only use the very best components. If the highest quality of components is not available on the market, we develop them ourselves. Our now 4th generation of drones is the result of many years of practical experience and developing work. The most relevant components for flight, stability and safety are 100 % developed by ourselves. We insist on the highest levels of reliability and build in active fail-safes. We will continue to train and coach you long after you have purchased your drone! service-drone offers free inspections, software updates and an excellent aftersales service. A regularly maintained MULTIROTOR copter is always reliable, immediately useable and won’t become obsolete. This leads to a unique cost effectiveness. Similar systems cost five times more and often don’t deliver what they promise. service-drone is the market leader for professional aerial camera systems for civilian use. No other manufacturer has more drone systems on the market! No other manufacturer has more experience! No other manufacturer has a more successful marketing!

Can I fly when it’s windy?

Being able to leave out unnecessary components, the minimal, tough carbon fibre frame and the power reserves of the MULTIROTOR drones mean that they are extremely wind-resistant and stable in flight. In addition, our UAVs offer extremely high flight dynamics as well as superior flight control, which allows the new MULTIROTOR flight control maximum flight and image stability even in very bad weather conditions. Our multicopter fly in wind strengths up to 4 or up to 40km/h wind speed.

The robust shape with no winged sections enables our copter to take off quickly and glide at up to 50km/h, and guarantees minimal displacement, even in gusts of wind, which would not be the case with a larger constructions.

Why is the training so important?

Even if you spend 50,000 Euros on a similar aerial drone, you can’t buy the necessary flying practice and experience. We train you and pass on our concentrated experience acquired over many years of flying practice and flying training. With technical understanding and a bit of skill you can learn how to fly the drone in a short space of time. At the end you will receive the sought-after flight experience certificate that you need to apply for your permission to fly.

You can find further information on the training options we offer here.

Can the drones fly indoors as well?

Yes, e.g. in halls, stadia, studios or other locations, the MULTIROTOR camera copter offers totally new possibilities.

Autopilot - Can the drone fly autonomously?

Yes! The fully automatic scanning of so called waypoints (WPN = waypoint navigation) with the new MULTIROTOR flight control and the Apple iPad is as easy and as safe as never before! You can easily plan complete flight missions with the iPad ground station in air space up to a diameter of 1.5 km!

Using the current flightware, 500 waypoints can be set. In the fully automated mode, the drone flies the prescribed course without needing the pilot to take control. In addition, so-called "Points Of Interest" (POI) can be set. When switching to a further function via the transmitter, the camera also aligns itself automatically with the POI. At any time, the pilot is able to deactivate the autopilot and fly manually. To determine waypoints, appropriate maps are downloaded from the internet and waypoints are set with a software via simple mouse click. Data is transmitted wirelessly to the drone. In the Federal Republic of Germany autonomous flying is permitted with a corresponding rise of approval, provided that the pilot is able to turn off the autonomous flight and continue the flight manually at any time, e.g. to avoid other aircraft.

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