Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Legal to fly them?
While the FAA is still arranging their guidelines for UAV/UAS/Drone commercial operations within American airspace, and plan to unveil them later this year, Flying UAV/UAS/ Drones is considered legal by the US government under specific circumstances. Harmony Drones follows strict safety procedures and checklists which we adopted from the American AMA, International UVASI, and Canadian affiliates with the Canadian Transportation Board to ensure maximum safety on set.
Is it safe in general?
Harmony Drones is quite proud to say with full confidence that the civilian class Drones under our operation are the safest, and most technologically advanced, Drones in the marketplace today, built by highly qualified technicians and engineers who are constantly training and monitored by the very manufacturers who produce our custom tailored drones. We can tell you that our decision to fly only the best, by the best,and maintained by the best, does come at a considerable expense. We have elected to forego bigger profits in lieu of safer and higher quality flights for our clients.
I hear about a lot of crashes in the media with drones. Is this true?
No its not. The media has a job to do, and drones are exciting to talk about. Even more so when they are flown correctly! The crashes, or close calls we have investigated, have usually resulted from an amateur pilot, or less than amateur pilot, we should say, carelessly piloting a craft above their ability and skill set. While the great majority of UAV/UAS/Drone pilots take their hobby, or profession quite seriously, in the wrong hands or environment any large RC heli, or multi rotor craft can be very dangerous. We diligently train our teams with certified trainers, only purchase our equipment and platforms from certified and authorized manufacturer dealers, and follow to the letter safety flight protocol as if we were piloting the craft as a true, certified, pilot would a traditional airframe. As with commercial class jetliners, there is always a microscopic chance for mechanical or electrical failure. We fly only in controlled situations. If we feel its unsafe to fly, then we don’t.
Are you affiliated with these Organizations?
Yes. It is mandatory here that each and every member of Harmony Drones, no matter their title, is an active due-paying member with the American AMA, and with the International UAVSI.
Do you have insurance?
Yes, to comply with the current AMA guidelines, and to protect all of our clients, we carry commercial liability insurance that covers our operations. To take it a step further, each member of our Drone Crews are certified and insured to operate the Drone craft they are assigned to with no less than 2.5 million dollars in liability coverage.
Where do you work out of?
We are a Mid-Atlantic based company but we love to travel, and our work often takes us up and down the East Coast, and at times to the sunny West Coast. The entire team at Harmony Drones are true adventurers at heart. Under the right circumstances, we are willing to travel anywhere, including internationally.
How high can you fly?
Remote equipment can fly up to 400 ft by current guidelines offered by the AMA. For most operations there is no need to fly over 200 ft. Our equipment is flown by line of sight so elevation is limited largely based on visibility.
What about Bad weather?
Weather is a factor, we don’t like to shoot photos or video during heavy or light precipitation. Light conditions are usually a factor, with bright sunshine being great for wide open shots, but overcast skies making for better exposure within forest or areas of shadow. We generally do not fly in winds over 20 km/h.
What is the maximum wind speed in which you can fly?
While we can safely fly in winds up to 40MPH, for the best video and performance, winds under 25 MPH are ideal.
How many crew members are required for operation?
A crew of 3 is needed for all operations as required by the current AMA guidelines Pilot, Camera Operator, and Spotter.
What emissions or pollutants are emitted during flight?
Zero emissions and no pollution. Our drones are electric and environmentally friendly. We use rechargeable batteries with electric motors so there is a very minimal carbon footprint.
How close can you fly to buildings, vehicles, and people?
THe AMA guidelines requires us to stay 150 feet away from any building, vehicle, or person(s) not associated with the approved Flight Certification. Those who are briefed on the operation and specifically involved with it can be within the 30 foot radius.
What camera can you fly?
Currently we are getting outstanding result with our Canon 5d Mk3 with a 24-105 Image stabilized lens. We are able to handle any DSL R that you may want to use and can mount cameras as big as the Sony FS700 and Canon C100.
What kind of image quality do you get?
Still camera – The digital camera is a special lightweight unit that is capable of taking 23 megapixel images. The camera takes time lapse every 0.5, 1, 2, 10, 30 and 60 seconds. The fields of view are 127º and 170º. THe shots can be seen via our ground station screens in real time, or, upon landing, the photographs can be reviewed by removing the SDHC card and loading it into a computer.
Video camera – The same camera used for photographs can also take Full HD videos of 1080 pixels (1920 x 1080), 30 frames per second NTSC standard. The fields of view are 90º, 127º and 170º . Faster frame rates can be achieved using 48, 60 or 120 feet per second and reducing the video resolution. As with still images, the video can be reviewed in real time at our ground station, FPV goggles, with a portable computer, or HD TV equipped with digital input plugs.
What is a typical Drone shoot like?
Our Harmony Drones Flight Crew travels to your location with all the necessary equipment we need to safely operate the Drone, and capture the media you have requested. Once at location, we unload, set-up, and do all safety checks. If all systems are good to go, then we can be ready for our first flights in approximately 20 minutes.
Our team consists of two key members: a primary pilot, and a remote camera operator/secondary pilot. We typically ask our clients to provide one individual to act as a spotter during the shoot.
While the camera is airborne, a live video feed is sent to our ground-station. From here, the camera operator, as well our client(s), can see everything from the camera’s perspective. Together, along-side the pilot, the group can easily communicate to one another in order to ensure the desired images are captured.
What is the payload of your Drones?
We can lift up to 25 lbs of camera equipment including but not limited to the Canon 7d, Canon 5d and the Sony FS 100 & FS 700.
Can you fly at night?
At this time night flying is not advisable as there are no set guidelines and safety protocol to follow by the FAA or the AMA. . Please inquire if your production requires night footage and we can submit a further inquiry to the AMA / FAA for your needs. We will work under extremely strict safety guidelines in the event an exception can be made.
Is it safe to fly on top of actors/crowd?
Safety comes first. We never fly on top of an audience or crowd who are not well briefed and trained for emergency procedures. With that said, our camera payloads are more than adequate to get that “in the crowd” shot you’re looking for, without putting anyone, or any equipment, in harms way. We are comfortable flying among crowds in excess of 80,000 people.
Can you fly inside?
Yes we can fly a large enough space such as Atrium, Gymnasium,. Hall, or Theatre. In the very near future, we will be equipped to fly in smaller spaces such as residential homes (for double level fly throughs)
What is the maximum speed?
Depending on wind speed and direction, about 40 MPH.
What is the maximum operating distance for the Drone?
2 mile radius. But that comes with exception. While it is true that we rely on optical screens and goggles (with instrumentation) to primarily fly the craft, our Harmony Drone Pilots, and spotters must see the orientation of the multi-rotor craft by line of sight due to safety protocol. With that said, we have dialed down the maximum radius to 800 feet from the pilot. UNder the right circumstances, following strict safety precautions, the craft can be piloted from a moving vehicle to extend its range and speed.
Can we use our own camera on your Drone?
Our payload capability is quite diverse for various cameras, instruments, and sensors. We can fly with most any equipment so long as it fits our payload space and weight restriction. Custom flights take a bit preparation. Please call us to enquire.
What is the largest camera you can fly with?
Currently, the Sony Fs 700 and Canon 1dC are the heaviest cameras we can fly.
Can you control the camera from the ground?
Yes, we can remote control tilt, pan and roll.
Can you see what you are shooting?
Yes, there is a wireless video coming from the UAS.
Can the wireless video from the Drone used for live broadcast?
Yes! The power of the video transmitter used on the drone is quite advanced these days and capable of 1080P HD video up to 2.5 miles away!. The final video is stored on the memory card of the camera on Drone, while the final quality of the image can be checked in real time while in flight via screens located at our ground station.
What safety considerations are there?
Our team is adamant about safety and takes all concerns very seriously for every operation. If we feel it is unsafe to proceed with an operation it will be rescheduled or relocated. With a range of experience flying remote equipment, we can visualize the potential of what can go wrong so we always ensure to take extensive precautions. Prior to all operations, those involved will be briefed on topics including but not limited to:
- Flight patterns
- Flight times
- Flight Durations
- Classification of Airspace
- Take off and landing procedures
- Maintaining safety zones
- Critical waypoints
- Emergency site pads
We require safety meetings with cast and crew prior to flight. Topics include but are not limited to:
- Crowd safety (preventing those who are not associated with the project from interfering)
- Stunt person/talent safety
- Safety for alternate camera and support personnel