FAQ – Commercial Drones

Welcome to our FAQ page, where you can learn about the operation of industrial UAV drones and related regulations. If your question isn’t listed, please contact us today for an answer.

  • Why purchase small helicopters instead of larger, more commonly used helicopters?

    Unmanned aircraft technology provides an alternative to traditional aviation for law enforcement agencies. Unmanned or remotely piloted aircraft are safer and cheaper to own and operate than traditional fixed-wing planes and helicopters. Although our unmanned helicopters look similar to hobby aircraft, they are equipped with industrial avionics, navigation and communication equipment that allows for safer and more reliable operations. They are also operated under streamlined FAA regulations.

  • What is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)?

    An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), also referred to as an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), is a helicopter, fixed-wing or multirotor aircraft that can operate under its own control (fully autonomous) or under the control of a remote, human pilot. It is an aircraft (as defined by 14 CFR 1.1) that is intended to navigate in the air without an onboard pilot.

  • What is an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)?

    A UAS is an unmanned aircraft and its associated elements related to flight operation, which may include ground control stations, data communications links, support equipment, payloads, flight termination systems, flight batteries, and launch/recovery equipment.

  • What is a VTOL UAV?

    A VTOL UAV is a Vertical Take Off (and) Landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle that has the ability to take off and land without a runway. Because a VTOL UAV does not need a runway to take off or land, they can be easily deployed in locations that conventional aircraft cannot. Often, they are more likely to be operable in inclement weather and wind conditions because of their multiple propellers

  • What is the difference between an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), a Remotely Operated Aircraft (ROA), and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)?

    ROA and UAV were terms previously used to identify unmanned aircraft. Currently, the FAA and most of the international community uses the term “UAS”.

  • What is an RC Model Aircraft?

    The aircraft is a UAS used by hobbyists and flown within visual line-of-sight under direct control from the pilot. It can navigate the airspace and is manufactured and operated for the purposes of sport, recreation, and/or competition. Frequently, these systems might operate like ‘drive-by-wire’ and not have fully autonomous capabilities.

  • Do I need to get approval from the FAA to fly a model aircraft for recreational use?

    No. FAA guidance does not address size of the model aircraft. FAA guidance says that model aircraft flights should be kept below 400 feet above ground level (AGL), should be flown a sufficient distance from populated areas and full-scale aircraft, and are not meant for business purposes. Remember to always consult with the FAA for any recent changes.

  • Are there restrictions for model airplanes?

    Yes. Although a hobbyist does not need a license or COA to fly RC models, RC airplanes and helicopters must obey FAA Rules and Regulations.

    Model aircraft operations that are conducted in accordance with an FAA-accepted set of standards established and administered by a community-based association as discussed in Section 2.2, shall otherwise be exempt from the requirements of any Special Federal Airworthiness Regulation (SFAR) that results from this recommendation.

  • Do I need to get FAA approval for commercial use of a UAV?

    Yes. Depending on the aircraft size, airspace and timing of flights, you can either operate under a Part 107 pilot’s license, or a different kind of Commercial Drone Pilot’s License or exemption. Our team of strategic partners can help you with the process.

  • What’s the difference between public and civil aircraft?

    A public aircraft is one that is only for the United States government or is owned and operated by the government of a state, the District of Columbia, or a territory or possession of the U.S., or a political subdivision. Operators of public aircraft include DOD, DOJ, DHS, NASA, NOAA, state/local agencies, cities, communities, emergency management groups, and qualifying universities. Civil aircraft means other than a public aircraft.

  • What is a “Public Agency?”

    Any agency that operates a public aircraft (14 CFR Part 1.1). If you receive funding from the federal government at some level, you are probably a “Public Agency.” A public agency can never operate under the guidelines of Advisory Circular 91-57 (Model Aircraft Operating Standards). Contact us if you would like support obtaining your commercial drone approvals.

  • Are there Grants available for the purchase of a UAV for government public agencies?

    Yes. Grants are available for the purchase of an unmanned aerial aircraft. FEMA is a great source for UAV grants. Many of our customers have received donations, organized fundraising events or used seized assets to purchase their industrial drone. Certain EPA fines (from local businesses) might be eligible to be contributed to the purchase of a drone instead of paying the fine. Contact us to learn more!

  • Does Homeland Surveillance & Electronics LLC offer grant writing services?

    Yes. Our team of experienced grant writers can help with your grant writing.

  • Is financing, leasing, or rental available?

    Yes. Homeland Surveillance & Electronics LLC will help you arrange drone financing, leasing or rental of our products.

  • Is there training available?

    Homeland Surveillance & Electronics LLC offers several comprehensive drone training courses to qualify you on all aspects of our products, as well as special law enforcement and agriculture UAV training procedures.

  • How long does the process take to obtain an experimental certificate?

    From our experience, depending on the system and operational complexity, the process may take from 60 to 180 days.

  • What are FAA Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR)?

    TFRs are used for operations in the vicinity of disasters or hazards, presidential and VIP movement; operations in the proximity of space flight operations, management of aircraft operations in the vicinity of aerial demonstrations, and major sporting events.

    Special Security Note: While not a TFR, 99.7 instructions usually have the same effect as a TFR and is included in this reference.

  • What does Auto Flight Management mean?

    Pilot-in-Command (PIC) is able to maintain stable flight without constant, direct intervention. To some degree, control surface movements result from sensors and software automation onboard the aircraft.

  • What is Collision Avoidance?

    Collision avoidance is considered a last resort maneuver of an aircraft to avoid an imminent collision. Without the maneuver, a collision might occur. Contact us to learn more about our collision avoidance on our drones.

  • What is Contact Avoidance?

    Contact avoidance is an activity that seeks to ensure that aircraft remain safely separated and well clear of each other, as not to present a collision hazard.

  • What is a Ground Control Station?

    A Ground Control Station (GCS) is ground-based equipment, that is used to maintain control, communicate, guide, or otherwise operate an unmanned aircraft. These vary from simple tablet devices to military-grade, fully-integrated Drone Command Stations.

  • What are data communications links?

    Data communication links are all links between the unmanned aircraft and the Ground Control Station, which includes the command, status, communications, and payload links. HSE offers digital, encrypted and long-range communication links for most of our commercial drones.

  • What is launch/recovery Equipment?

    Launch/recovery equipment is equipment, not on-board the aircraft, used to launch and recover an unmanned aircraft, which could also include unique navigation and differential positioning equipment used for autonomous landing.

  • What is Pilot-in-Command?

    Pilot-in-Command is the same as 14 CFR 1.1. And is ultimately responsible for the safe and effective operation of the mission.

  • What is Manual Flight Control?

    PIC is able to directly control the aircraft, such that control inputs made at the control station are translated directly into corresponding control surface positions. Augmentations that help maintain flight stability are permitted.

  • What is a UAS Flight Crewmember?

    This person is a pilot, visual observer, payload operator, or another individual who is assigned duties for a UAS for the purpose of flight.

  • What is a UAS pilot?

    A UAS pilot is a person exercising control over an unmanned aircraft during flight.

  • What is visual line-of-sight?

    Visual-line-of-sight is unaided (corrective lenses and/or sunglasses exempt) visual contact with aircraft sufficient to maintain operational control of the aircraft, know its location and scan the airspace in which it operates to decisively see and avoid other air traffic or objects.

  • What is a Visual Observer?

    A Visual Observer is a UAS flight crew member who assists the UAS PIC in the duties associated with collision avoidance. This includes, but is not limited to, avoidance of other traffic, airborne objects, clouds, obstructions, and terrain.

  • What are the differences between Commercial Drones and Hobby Drones?

    ***COMING SOON***

  • What industries are using Commercial Drones?

    ***COMING SOON***

  • How much do Commercial Drones cost?

    ***COMING SOON***

  • Where can I find drone insurance?

    We’re excited to see more and more insurance companies offering competitive and comprehensive drone insurance. Some companies offer “pay-per-flight” plans and full-coverage options as well! Check with some of these providers for whatever you might need:



    Drone Liability Insurance: Private & Commercial by the Hour










  • Tell me about drone financing or drone leasing?

    ***COMING SOON***

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