5 Crucial questions for hiring drone operators – PT 2 PAPERWORK


Hi, I’m Drew Cobb. Dronewrx’s head pilot and Director of UAV Operations. After my experience in this industry with producers who didn’t know what to ask, I put together this series to educate you on this relatively new field of film making.

A huge issue that me and my contemporaries see all too often. Productions only know that they “want a drone” and lump all UAV’s into the same category. What you want is:

A skilled and licensed pilot/crew that has the correct drone/camera combo that best suits your productions needs.

Please read the following blog and and you will soon know exactly what you need. Or you can reach out, and we will help you get your production the right drone/pilot for the right price. BAM! 323-899-8400

Is the drone operator insured?

This is the most important piece of the paperwork puzzle. Commercial drone pilots are required by law to carry Aircraft Insurance. Production companies, or govt. agencies will specify what limits they are looking for. From 1 million up to 10 million.  Recently there have been some on demand type of services like “Verifly”, but theses are no good with Film LA or any government agency, and are an indication that the pilot is just getting started, underfunded, or only works occasionally. We’ve been carrying aircraft insurance since 2015.

Being able to file all the paperwork, and prepare a POA (Plan Of Activity) is mandatory for jobs that are permitted. Not only that, if the Fire Marshall starts asking questions, you don’t want a newby representing your interests. As toy-like and ubiquitous as drones have become, they are an aircraft with high-speed propellers and can be dangerous. The bigger the drone, the larger the potential consequences.

Can they fill out the necessary paperwork?

Drone pilots are notoriously bad at filling out the required paperwork. I heard one producer say “drone pilots don’t do paperwork”. At Dronewrx we see that as the first part of the process and ARE very good at it. It doesn’t hurt that I was a graphic designer for my first career and Adobe programs Photoshop, In Design, Illustrator, Premier etc. are programs that are second nature for me. I actually had a Fire Marshall say to me “This is the best, paperwork I’ve ever received from a drone operator”. Yes, I design my own branding and website.

If you’re working with a film commission, such as Film LA, you’re going to get barraged with requirements and the necessity to fill out questionnaires or submit a POA (Plan of Activity). The way it inevitably happens is last minute, as your permit facilitator is working other pressing projects, so when you get that email (DUN, DUN DUN) with a list of requirements, your drone operator SHOULD be able to take over for you and get them what they need within a few hours. The insurance certificate is going to take the better part of a day, and should they need a ‘Waiver of Subrogation’ it will take a little longer.

Paperwork most commonly asked for:

      • • Part 107 Certificate + Recurrent Cert – The Part 107 test has to be re-taken every two years

        • Drone Registration – Drones have to be registered with the FAA

        • LAANC  – An automated approval platform instead of a manual approval. Stands for Low Altitude  Authorization & Notification Capability

        • Insurance Certificates

        • Wavier of Subrogation – These are an addition to the insurance which certain entities ask for.

      • Insurance Certiification example:


      Drone pilots are required by law to have liability insurance, production or governing agency will dictate the amount


      Most government agencies do not accept “pay-as-you-go” type policies like SkyWatch. A company that does not have legit aircraft insurance is likely a casual pilot with little experience


      We’ve gotten jobs because the pilot they were using didn’t have real insurance or didn’t know how to file paperwork.

To continue to PART 3 “What is their experience” click here

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