Your first Drone flight: Secrets to success

Cloudpoint Aerial Services is a division of Cloudpoint Geographics, providing professional GIS and mapping services in the fields of surveying, engineering, transportation, utilities, and remote sensing.  We are sharing some of our secrets of success to achieving professional, high-resolution aerial imagery using drones that will help you get up and running with your first drone (UAV) flight.  This list is not all inclusive but gives you some key points that you will want to accomplish for providing quality aerial services with professional results.


Get Certified (Remote Pilot in Command)

Probably the most important step is to make sure you have someone qualified to pilot the drone.  The new guidelines are found in Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations which state "to operate the controls of a small UAS under Part 107, you need a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating, or be under the direct supervision of a person who holds such a certificate."

Register your drone

This has got to be one of the easiest and least expensive registration processes out there (UAS registration website).  It literally takes about 2 minutes to create an account, login, and register your UAS.  Once you register your bird, you will be given a unique FAA registration number (tail number) that must be clearly marked on your drone.  For professional looking identification marks we use Do It Yourself Lettering.


Pre-flight Planning

Sending out the proper notifications are keys to a successful drone project.  Be sure to contact the property owner(s) or authoritative governing agency to confirm the proper permissions and notices are put in place.  Also it is important to submit a notice of UAS Operating Area (UOA) which can be done at


Develop a Checklist

It will be well worth the effort to develop a detailed operations checklist for performing your drone flights.  This will help you keep from forgetting steps in the process or items to take with you onsite.  Of course we can't give away all of our secrets here but if you contact us we would be happy to send you a Free Sample Drone Pre-flight checklist.



We like to use two-way radio communications in the field so our remote pilot in command can be in contact with the visual observer at all times.  Not only does this provide an aspect of professionalism but adds to the onsite safety as well.

Practice, practice, practice

As easy as the new drones are to operate, it is still a good idea to complete several practice flights prior to tackling the serious work.  Our pilots have over forty (40) flights under their belt as either the pilot in command or visual observers to help insure that they know the ins-and-outs of the operations and are not just another "fellow with a new toy" wanting to make a quick buck.


Keep a Flight Log

Its a really good idea to keep a flight log of every drone flight you complete.  We use Google Drive to keep a log of all of our flights in which we record all types of information including date, pilot, drone, type of flight, data processing details, comments, problems or issues discovered, etc.


For questions regarding drone operations or if you are looking for a professional drone mapping (UAV) service provider, contact us or call 877-377-8124.