A photo of a drone flying in the sky.

A license to fly

Erica Corder Blog, On Photography, On Videography, On Work

On July 10, 2018, I went to a quiet airplane hangar and took a test that I’d studied weeks for: the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 test. I passed — and with that, became a certified drone pilot.

This certification allows me to fly drones for commercial videography purposes. In the case of my role in the College of Engineering, this means taking to the sky for unique photos and videos for my multimedia stories.

After earning my license, I had the opportunity to spend three days in intensive training with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership to further learn about aerial vehicles and to strengthen my flying skills. I’ve flown since in and around Blacksburg, Virginia, and Cicero, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago).

So far, I’ve been able to collect some footage that really ups the quality of my productions — here’s a quick sample:

Taking the Part 107 test was probably one of the best opportunities I had in 2018, thanks to the support of my supervisor and the College of Engineering. My shiny new pilot’s license opens up a world of creative possibilities that I wouldn’t have even dreamed of when the year began.

Have any flying tips or suggestions? Feel free to tweet at me, email me, or leave a comment below.