Commercial drones on their way to becoming mainstream


Recently, on June 10, 2014, the FAA gave the go ahead for the first commercial use of drones over land to BP in Alaska.  The drone will be used to survey pipelines and roads among other duties for the oil company.  This is the first green light that has been given to commercial drone use by the FAA.  It certainly shows commercial drones on their way to becoming mainstream.  Many companies have been lobbying for legal use of drones in business for quite some time now.  Unmanned drones have gained tremendous popularity and recognition over the past couple of years as their cost and feasibility has matured to the point where they make a lot of sense in many aspects besides the aforementioned.

However, many are saying that the okay given to BP is the milestone that many have been waiting for with the FAA finally giving airspace to commercial drone use.  However, the operation is highly restricted maintaining LOS (line of sight) with the pilot, notifying air traffic control and having certain weather conditions present such as minimum visibility of 3 miles.  So for the enthusiast crowd, there is currently no FPV allowance where the aircraft is controlled completely via instruments, cameras, etc.

Drones are currently being heavily used by civilian enthusiasts in the RC community as well as those who want to shoot very professional looking aerial video for personal use.  Other civilian private use includes small business applications where drones are being employed to get aerial video and stills where otherwise not possible such as in real estate, law enforcement, search and rescue, game and fish, archaeology, and other applications.

Most likely we will see an approval process starting to present itself with this move to allow BP use of the drones for commercial application.  While the FAA has been pushing back for the most part, the forward momentum of the application of drones will most likely be the driving force that will bring their use to be more mainstream.

Whatever the case, the RC hobby is thriving with FPV being one of hottest activities that many want to experience when getting into the hobby.  Equipment is certainly better than it has ever been before and the cost to get into FPV flying is cheaper than ever before as well.  It is definitely an affordable and very enjoyable aspect of the hobby that is just going to continue to grow and mature.