Patrick Heaphy, an 18-year-resident of West Nyack, this week announced that his company is the first and only FAA-authorized commercial drone photography, videography and aerial inspection company in Rockland County, New York. According to the FAA, business-based drone flights are required to be conducted by individuals or businesses that hold a FAA Section 333 Exemption. All business related flights must also be conducted by a FAA-certified pilot with a FAA registered UAS/Drone.
Heaphy, a certified pilot, and his company are fully FAA compliant, having spent the past 9 months obtaining everything needed to fly legally. This includes a long list of items, such as a Section 333 Exemption from the FAA, the N-Number for their Inspire 1 drone, and a Sport Pilot license. The investment of time and funds ensures that client’s flights are legal and they will receive the highest level of professionalism when they entrust their projects with Hudson Valley Air.
“It’s funny when you tell people that you have to be a pilot to fly a drone legally for business purposes,” said Heaphy. “It seemed kind of crazy to me too, but after going through all the training, it gave me an entirely new insight into aviation and the importance of having a thorough knowledge of airspace, general regulations, and, most importantly, safety.”
While there are others flying drones commercially in violation of FAA rules, Heaphy says it just isn’t worth the risk to the individuals and businesses that are hiring them. The FAA recently announced that it would fine one company nearly $2 million for conducting drone operations without proper authorization, which is the largest such civil penalty ever enforced by the FAA on a drone company. The FAA has also investigated other such cases, including the use of a drone to shoot New York congressman Sean Maloney’s wedding video.
“How will Rockland County’s Drone Law affect operations at Hudson Valley Air? It shouldn’t. Our operations comply with FAA regulations which are well within Rockland Law,” said Heaphy.
A graduate of Clarkstown South High School, Heaphy is a filmmaker and 25-year-veteran of the television and advertising industry. Patrick resides in West Nyack with his wife and two daughters.
Rockland Legislator Jay Hood Jr. drafted the drone law after Sheriff Lou Falco said he’d heard reports about drones being used to smuggle contraband and weapons into jails around the country. County Executive Ed Day harshly criticized the law but didn’t shoot it down.