I believe I can fly II.

In an earlier post I was very enthusiastic about having bought a Phantom 4 camera drone, quadcopter, RPAS or whatever you’d like to call this kind of technical marvel.

In an earlier post I confidently declared that I will not have my drone grounded by red tape; laws, rules and regulations (English Summary).

Turns out I was a bit optimistic.

I attended an information session organised by the Dutch Civil Aviation Authority at their headquarters, not far from our international Airport Amsterdam Schiphol.

The more I learned about the laws governing Dutch Airspace (in particular), the more disillusioned I became. Even with the ‘light’ version of the needed operating licence and with several exemptions for the serious operator licence, taking the mandatory course and paying all kinds of fees, I couldn’t really do anything more than a ‘recreational’ RPAS pilot, except I would be legally allowed to post images shot with the drone on my website.

On my website I promote my photography and sell postcards and prints. That makes it a commercial endeavour. Footage shot with the drone posted on my site would make that flight a commercial flight for which you need licences.

The ‘light’ version of the licences with exemptions however, doesn’t allow you to shoot for a third party and get paid for it, for that you need the ‘proper’ licences.

Setting up an organisation that has all the proper papers and equipment would cost around €20.000,- (requirements are, list not conclusive, Operations Manual approved by the Dutch Civil Aviation Authority, pilot with Remote Pilot Licence (PPL or CPL don’t count), RPAS with a Special Airworthiness Certificate, Telecom Licence, Radio equipment to maintain two way communication with the nearest Air Traffic Control tower, Licence to operate such equipment and a Transponder C for the drone) . Sadly I don’t have that kind of money and even if I did there wouldn’t be a way to get any ROI.

As an alternative I though why not ‘just’ take the courses and exams needed to get a RPA-L, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Licence, or Remote Pilot License. That way I could fly drones for an operator that is looking for licences pilots. I happen to know one.

I expected the course and exams to set me back around €1.800,- but the real amount is around €4.000,- plus the costs of the Aeromedical check up.

Sure I could start saving money for this, but again I don’t think the ROI will be any good. Sure it would be fun to get my Remote Pilot Licence, and it would be fun flying a drone professionally (the operator I know does inspections of technical installations), but I don’t think it is worth the money.

So my dream of piloting has sadly crashed, not quite burned, but certainly crashed.

Video below is shot as a private person, not intended to advertise or in any other way promote any possible commercial activity I may or may not pursue.

jwamsterdam