There is an amazing trestle bridge just north of the Des Moines area in Central Iowa. The town is called Madrid, but it isn’t pronounced like the Madrid you and I know – they pronounce it Maadrid, which is a little odd but okay. I’ve been up to this trestle bridge a few times in the past, but with my new equipment I am able to get into tight spots from great distances, which I can appreciate in a shoot like this. There’s nowhere to park, for miles. I’ve never actually walked the bridge, but I hope to some day, once the snow melts. Anyway, here’s a quick video of my time up there the other day. I’ll post a few pictures here as well.
This morning, I had the pleasure of being invited by the Waukee Fire Department to shoot some aerial drone video for a controlled house fire that the department coordinated. The goal of the burn was to give firefighters a real-world opportunity to fight a house fire in a controlled environment. While I don’t know the back story of the property, it was recently sold and instead of demolishing the home, they decided it would be easier and more cost effective to burn it down.
I’ve been working on a little side project – Waukee Aerial LLC. You can pull it up at DSM.Photo; cool domain name, right? I decided to check out Squarespace for the website and I’m really happy with it. It was a breeze to set up, the pricing isn’t bad, and it really gives photographers the power to build galleries quickly to showcase their work. A new feature of the site is The Blog, and I just posted the first entry this evening. It’s going to be different from my blog here – this will continue to be used for my personal life, and the dsm.photo blog will be used to showcase some of the aerial projects I have going on, where I’ve been flying lately, how the seasons look from the air in Central Iowa, and shots like the one below – from San Diego last week… With my 333 exemption, pilots license, and fresh FAA registration, hopefully it’s time for lift off on this little side hobby. Tomorrow morning, I’m shooting on the front lines for the Waukee Fire Department. This one will be a volunteer job, but an exciting one to say the least. They are doing a controlled burn on an old house next to the Waukee Library. Check back for photos and videos – from the ground and the air!
So after I spend the time and money going through the entire aircraft registration process for my DJI Phantom 3 Pro, the FAA announces a web based registration program that will be out in the next week or two.
The process that I’ve proactively taken included filling out carbon copy forms provided to me by the FAA, getting those notarized, paying a $5 fee, and handling it the same way a Cessna gets its tail numbers. After all of that, here’s what the FAA has planned :
According to the FAA website:
“If you own a drone, you must register it with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) registry. A federal law effective December 21, 2015 requires unmanned aircraft registration, and you are subject to civil and criminal penalties if you do not register.”
Whether you fly for fun or commercially, you need to register your uAS. Unfortunately, the only benefit to registering is so the FAA can hold you accountable if you do something wrong, or crash somewhere that you shouldn’t have been flying. Registering your aircraft guarantees that you can be fined or imprisoned, and that’s the only benefit to you. Do you think the bad guys are going to register?
If you plan on flying commercially with your uAS, flying for money that is, you better have a 333 exemption. Fortunately, there are a lot of templates out there, for the folks that have their approvals complete. You can download their requests and approvals and use that as your template for your 333 request. Hopefully, the FAA will have a streamlined process coming out for the commercial use of uAS flying platforms. The 333 really isn’t the right fit in my opinion, as you are requesting exemptions from airworthiness certificates, the amount of fuel normally needed onboard, and many other topics that typically pertain to fixed wing aircraft. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few months.
On a recent trip to Southern California, I packed up the Phantom 3 Professional and brought it out there with me for the week. I ended up getting a few great shots while I was there. The terrain is so much different than the mid-west. It’s really flat here in Iowa, so when I have the chance to explore the mountains or the beaches from the air – I can’t pass it up! This shot was from the Amtrak construction underway, reconstructing the bridge through the lagoon near Torrey Pines. The rail line is still active, as a few trains went by me that afternoon. I tried to get some shots of the train, but it just didn’t work out that day.
Every year, our property management company performs a controlled (prescribed) burn of our prairie grass areas. I filmed this burn today at Glynn Village in Waukee, Iowa. The burn is done to help promote growth of native grasses and wildflowers. The prairie acts as a natural stormwater filtration and retention system. I shot this aerial video with my DJI Phantom 3 Pro in 4K.
Here is a little video filmed from the ground in our neighborhood from about six years ago.
If you want to learn more about prescribed burns and prairie conservation environments, check out this video.
We’ve lived in Iowa a little over a year now. I’ve been waiting all year to get some aerial video of this and today it finally happened. We’ve watched this corn grow since March or April, so it was neat to see a full annual cycle. Took a bunch of Harvest pictures as well that I’ll put together into a slideshow and share, so check back!