The commercial drone industry has been greatly inhibited by archaic FAA regulations. One such regulation prevents a drone pilot from flying over people (non-participants). Currently, a drone pilot needs to obtain a Part 107 waiver (107.39 – Operation over human beings) if he/she wishes to fly over people.
However, obtaining a Part 107 waiver is incredibly difficult. More than 99% of total waivers are rejected. And of the 3700+waivers granted to date, only 107 are for “Operations over Human Beings” or “Flying over People”. Yikes!
In early 2019, FAA came out with a NPRM that might make it possible to fly over people without a waiver. However, it could take years before this proposal is turned into a law. So, what is the best resort for you right now?
Fortunately, FAA is now more prone to awarding a Part 107 waiver if the drone is outfitted with a drone parachute.
We, at Vermeer have a Part 107.39 waiver for flying over people. In addition to using the Vermeer app, this ability to fly over people helps us capture breath-taking footage that exceeds client requirements.
How Drone Parachute Systems Can Help You Fly Over People
Back in June 2019, Hensel Phelps Construction Company was one of the first organizations to be granted a Part 107.39 waiver to fly their Phantom 4 Pro over people. Hensel Phelps used a ParaZero drone parachute to procure this waiver.
Clearly, flying a drone over people is a powerful thing for Hensel Phelps. Rather than waiting for the construction site to clear up, the drone operator can now fly over a bustling scene to gather the required data.
The FAA determined that the waiver application sufficiently met the standard design specification set forth in ASTM 3322-18.
“This specification defines the design, fabrication, and test requirements of installable, deployable parachute recovery systems (PRS) that are designed to be integrated into a sUA to lessen the impact energy of the system should the sUA fail to sustain normal stable safe flight”.ASTM Website
This ASTM standard requires an automatic triggering system for deploying the parachute as well as a “flight termination system” to stop the motors from spinning.
Relying on a publicly available standard has certainly resulted in more clarity, and is a step towards building a scalable model for granting waivers.
So, let us take a look at some of the popular drone parachute systems, and how they operate.
What are Drone Parachute Systems? How Do They Work?
Safeair systems by Parazero are one of the few ASTM-compliant drone parachutes in the market today. This safety system is mounted on the top of your aircraft. Powered by the drone’s battery, Parazero comes with a Flight Termination System that immediately stops the drone’s motors from spinning. Because of this, there are no chances of the parachute getting entangled in the props.
Based in Israel, Parazero provides safety solutions for DJI drones like Phantom, Mavic, M-200 and M-600. And, yes. They can even build custom solutions.
Pricing for Parazero ranges from $1,999 (for the Phantom and Mavic) to $2,500 for the M-200. While the safety systems for Mavic and Phantom are ASTM-compliant, Parazero is still working on getting ASTM-compliance for their M-200 system.
“Nexus” by the Alaska-based Indemnis is another ASTM-compliant drone parachute. The parachute is housed in a tube which becomes rigid on deployment. When the parachute is deployed, it is attached to the edge of the tube. This greatly reduces the chances of any entanglement.
Compared to Parazero, Indemnis systems are more expensive. Cost of a Mavic 2 system is $2,699 and the cost of an M-200 system is a whopping $7,500.
Fruity Chutes is another safety system provider that you can consider. This drone parachute manufacturer has an impressive client repertoire that includes the likes of NASA, Boeing, and SpaceX.
Fruity Chutes are far more affordable compared to Parazero and Nexus. A Mavic 2 drone parachute will cost you $618. Whereas, an M-200 drone parachute will cost you around $2,000.
If you found this information useful, you might want to check out other blog posts as well. Watch this space for the latest and most exciting drone news and updates!