Hey everyone welcome to another edition
of deaf director I just want to take some time today to tell you about
something I'm really excited about I just passed
finally my commercial operators flight exam which means that
now I'm legally allowed to fly commercial operations here in the
United States now this is one of those things that I think as an independent
filmmaker just the reality of the world is to work as a filmmaker in today's
world you have to have some knowledge and some practical experience with a
because it's just become such an integral part of the storytelling
process and they should honestly become one of those things that I think clients
expect you to know how to do and so what I wanted to do today was to sort of talk
to you about how I passed the FAA exam and what I consider the key component
the number one thing that you must do if you want to pass the so
before I get into that the first thing I want to do is say you know why even
bother there why take this FAA test and I'll be honest guys I took the FAA test
and as far as the knowledge that you acquire in that test it didn't change
how I artistically operate a drone in any way shape or form
there's nothing in there you don't have to take any practical flying test the
way that I cinematically go about shooting a drone wasn't affected by that
test however the test is very important and I'll tell you a couple reasons why
the first one is it's required by law you have to have a if you
want to fly for commercial purposes in the United States now if you're like me
yeah I would cheat in and sneak it a little bit in the past but you're always
playing with fire if you do that you can have your drone confiscated you
can get a fine if you do that and not only that but if you're doing commercial
work you owe it to your clients to do it right it would be a terrible situation
to be in a situation where your client pulls all these things together you get
the drone up in the sky an enforcement officer comes and you
actually have to shut down the shoot because you didn't do what the paperwork
was required and they will do that believe me I've actually had that happen
so that's the number one thing that you need the FAA pt.107 is because it's required
by law the second thing is as we go more into the future drones are becoming
better able to communicate with other devices including those from law
enforcement and other aerial systems so it's going to be harder and harder as we
go in the future to be able to just take a drone fly it up in the air and
magically try and get away with it police enforcement officers are going to
become more savvy and being able to communicate with the drone they can find
out if you're in violation of it so it's just one of those things it's going to
become harder and harder to get away with it
so you might as well do it the other thing is going back to the clients is I
know now whenever I go on a commercial shoot for a bigger client and I tell
them that we're going to do some drone work one of the things that always comes
up is if I'm an FAA registered pilot or not it's just an expectation that you
have to meet and the reality is if I can meet that expectation there are a lot of
people out there that can so if I want to keep my clients I want to keep them
happy I need to have that FAA certification just so I don't lose my
clients and the last thing about it is safety
you know whenever you send a drone up you're over people's heads the number
one thing we always want to make sure on any set is safety and get us our next jobs
and keep everyone we're working with safe and there was a lot of great
information in the FAA exam on safety that'll get us down okay so that that
other way what did I experience as an FAA test well walking into the test I
can tell you this right now it is a very very technical test I just got to say
common sense is not going to be enough for you to pass it this is not a test
you can go in there and just figure it out I know for myself there is no way I
could have walked in a test like this with the technical components in there
and just figured it out the sectional chart section is alone the meet ours all
that stuff is so complex that I needed to figure it out before I went in there
so this is not a test maybe there's one or two of you that are savants out there
that can go out there and figure it out but this is not a test you're gonna walk
in there so what is the key to passing your part 107 test well it's nothing
sexy guys but the key is this you need to take an online flight class or ground
school and there are a lot of really good ones out there you can find a lot
of great resources I'm gonna tell you what worked for me one of the things
that's said when I started the station is that I'm gonna kind of share my
experiences of what I experienced as an independent filmmaker and be honest and
share this with you I'm in no way shape or form sponsored in any any type of
capacity I'm just gonna tell you what legitimately worked for me and hopefully
it can work for you to help you and that was I did a drone drone pilot ground
school and I'll put a link up here for it but this is a fantastic fantastic
ground school that I felt really really was the key for me getting through this
FAA 107 I'm very lucky I got a 93% all my tests and I firmly believe it's only
because of the ground school that I did now I'm gonna tell you why I think this
is a really good resource for you first off in the
it's $299 to sign up for it so it's not too expensive that's cheaper
than almost all the equipment that I have the great thing about it is it's
not only the 300 dollar fee that's a lifetime coverage fee so you can come
back every two years because I have to get recertified every two years come
back to this same resource and be able to use it to keep current
so lifetime access for $299 in my opinion was a steal so that is what I
considered the key to doing it now how it works and why it works the first
thing you need to do is you need to the time I mean the one thing that kept
me from getting my FAA test was honestly I was working and it's hard to find the
time to learn this whole new set of knowledge base when you're working as a
as a professional videographer so for me the key was finding the time
COVID-19 was kind of a perfect time but I think you know if you sit down at a
holiday if you have a holiday stretch like between Thanksgiving or Christmas
it's kind of slow this is one of those things you could probably set aside do
two or three hours a day maybe of an hour and a half over a couple weeks and
then be ready to get the begin of the year and take it so you know you just
need to find the time to do it and the reason why I think a flight school is so
important for this is that you're dealing with knowledge as a filmmaker
that has no basis and rationale or logic and anything that you have experienced
in the past right reading a meteorological chart or the codes of it
the sectional charts airport operations all these things you have no logical
base to go from so the way I kind of thought about it this is almost like
learning a new language right and to learn a new language you need to have a
bit of an immersion in it it's the best way to kind of do it so I looked at this
is a foreign language immersion and I just sort of approached it from that
point and by doing that I was able to take in the technical and graphical
knowledge it's just a language that's all it is you know reading a sectional
chart and I'll put up a section on charter so you can look at it it can
look like Greek but it's really really logical if you have keys to figure that
out and so I thought that the that component of it was very very important
the other thing I really liked about was that they
really break everything down into clear smart topic breakdowns I mean this is so
much information at cram and I know for me this is because I've never seen
anything like this really before and any other applicable scenario my life
breaking it down into clear little sections that allowed me to attack it in
bite-sized chunks was critical and you know and we're talking everything from
drone rules and regulations section or charts
op airport operations weather codes and conditions and all that stuff by
breaking the little sections that allowed you to really take it and
honestly at a little more of my pace I felt like I've done this is like a
weekend school it would have been such an avalanche of information I would have
just forgotten it when a few days and that leads to the next part that I've
been sure important is that the sections are all done up they have these little
micro tests at each of each section and these micro tests will be Allen over at
the school will do like a six-minute lecture and at the bottom of that you'll
have a small test that could be anywhere from one to ten fifteen twenty questions
and it allows you to test your knowledge and what you have and then it gives you
the answers at the bottom and it allows you as you're going along to check and
see how you're keeping up with the components the other thing that I think
is really really important and I just can't get this over is the sectional
charts section of the FAA Study Guide and that is this when you do a ground school
like this you're actually studying real FAA sectional charts that you'll
actually be tested on in the test itself so because of that you're going to
basically walk into the test on test oh I know I did and I'm gonna see all the
charts that I just been studying for it allows you to very very quickly
familiarize certain what you're doing because if I'm looking at a sectional
chart of Sioux City Iowa I've already seen that about 40 times in the course
if I'm looking at a Dallas Fort Worth one yeah it's a complicated map but I'm
familiar with it because I've already studied it in the course because I've
been using the FAA Airmen catalog to study and I thought that was just really
really helpful in being able to be comfortable and you're not throwing me
off in the test so I could answer some of those trickier questions so I think
the the sectional charts were just unbelievably critical probably the
single most important part of the ground school for helping me the other thing
that I thought was helpful is that in this class you take six six practice tests and it's timed the
same way that your time 120 minutes in the test and I found that doing these
practice tests really really helped me to basically reincorporate all that
knowledge and it made me feel so much more comfortable when I went into there
on the testing center to do it so I think that the practice test or the
aside from the sectional charts are probably the most important thing
because the things on there guys that you're never going to see your learn
about anywhere else except in the FAA knowledge test that was really really
critical and then really the last thing about the but
I thought was really great was just you know there's there's extra stuff you
know they tell you about how to get your FTN number finding a testing center or
finalizing your after even after you pass the test you still have to do
another step of sections and there's other extra resources on there too that
if you ever get to the school to check it out so if you're looking to get the
FAA part 107 test that it is achievable and I know the hardest thing
for all of us is just finding the time to study for it and it's possible it's
doable so I just want to encourage you to go out there I would strongly
recommend maybe considering investing in this resource like I said I'm not paid
by this I'm just giving you if I was came across a great lens or a great
camera I would make a recommendation in my opinion this flight school falls in
the same filmmaking category as just a tool that you should use as a resource
to help you so anyway good luck did you go out there I hope you have fun with
that and I'll see y'all soon

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