Category: Industry News

Why the FAA Should Change Their Drone User Requirements

Understanding and using an aeronautical map is also a prerequisite to obtaining a UAV license from the FAA.

And I’m sure the FAA already has something in the works regarding changing their recreational drone user requirements. They would be stupid not to – given the multiple warnings from safety and rescue teams and firefighters, and other pilots regarding the hazards already popping up due to recreational drone users. And let me be clear, I am only addressing the recreational use of drones in this article. Because they have not had any formal drone pilot, or FAA training. The big push will be when someone gets seriously hurt or killed due to some bozo flying their drone where it shouldn’t be. It’s just a matter of time. It will happen. An in-air collision with a manned airplane is inevitable at the rate drone usage is growing. And according to firefighting slurry bomber pilots, near misses have already happened because they and drones fly just above the tree lines.

You can’t drive a car without a license and you can’t get a license without the proper training first. The same should be true of flying a drone. After all, they are traveling in the same traffic as other pilots, and for everybody’s safety, should absolutely know what they are doing. The FAA has been far too lackadaisical in recreational drone use thus far. It’s the equivalent of if the DMV were to let people drive cars without a license as long as they are only driving for recreational use. What? Their lack of proper regulatory measures addressing recreational drone use may have been okay when there were only a couple hundred drones out there, but now there are hundreds of thousands in the air. And companies like Amazon want to use them on a daily basis to deliver packages? Soon our skies will be more crowded than our streets. We’ve already witnesses the hazards of unmanned, automated cars crashing. Well….drones are unmanned, automated cars in the sky!

Licensed Drone Pilots are NOT your neighbor with his/her drone toy.

Airspace classification mandatory for licensed UAV pilot
Airspace classification and regulations are mandatory for licensed UAV pilot

The amateur drone flyers out there (I won’t call them pilots because they’ve had no pilot training) are giving a bad rap to the rest of us responsible drone pilots and the entire aerial photography profession.

The FAA doesn’t just test potential drone pilots on the hazards of operating a drone in controlled airspace, they also require licensed drone pilots to study aeronautical charts, weather patterns, and psychological profiles and behaviors in order to pass the certification exam and receive an UAV pilot license. This is to insure the safety of all the manned aircraft pilots and their passengers who are flying thousands of flights every day all over the world. If you actually looked at an aeronautical chart (and knew what you were looking at), you would be amazed just how much of our airspace is occupied by airports and manned airplanes. It’s far more space than is not occupied by planes these days.

A drone pilot has to be part meteorologist to fly and is also required by FAA
A drone pilot has to be part meteorologist to fly and is  required to be by the FAA

As mentioned above, every idiot with a recreational drone thinks just because they can fly it that makes them a drone expert. NOT. Anyone who is a licensed drone pilot, (such as myself) will tell you that all the FAA rules and regulations regarding commercial drone use are put in place for everyone’s protection. And we responsible, commercial drone users are more than happy to spend the rigorous hours studying for the FAA UAV exam, going through all the paperwork hassles, and paying the licensing and registrations fees because WE respect the regulations the FAA has put into place for EVERYONE’S safety. Very few recreational drone users get that. Hence my comment earlier that the FAA should make it illegal to fly a drone unless you are licensed and have read and studied all the FAA information. Flying a drone should not be taken lightly. It is very easy to put more than your own life at risk with one. Furthermore, drones are not infallible. There are frequent fly-aways, dropping out of the sky for often unknown reasons, and a multitude of functional things that can go wrong with a drone just like any other mechanical device. Recently the FAA has been working with DJI to create a parachute for drones that will deploy automatically in the event of functional failure. That tells you just how often it happens: VERY.

Anyway…the above are all the things a drone pilot has to consider just to fly the darn thing. Then there’s everything to consider to be able to take good photos and video with it. That skill is discussed on my page on Photography and Video Services.

Can you read and understand the aeronautical map at the top of this page? If not, then you have no business flying anything, including a drone.

Construction Labor Shortage hits Colorado and Wisconsin

construction labor shortages hit Colorado and Wisconsin

Construction Labor Shortage

It’s hitting Colorado and Wisconsin the worst, but it will affect every construction firm across the U.S. There has never been a construction labor shortage like this one. Why is that? Well…nobody wants to do hard labor anymore. Construction is hard, dirty, tough work. Why do it if you can get paid to sit behind a desk on a computer all day? It’s the same phenomenon that has plagued the small farm industry for a decade. Many people saw it coming the minute everything in our world went digital. People want to text, surf the net, experience instantaneous results and not have to leave the comfort of their home or cell phone. We have become a lazy society. People don’t “work”, they punch buttons all day, and just where does that leave us?

It leaves us desperate for people to fill the blue collar jobs that are still needed in our society. But how can a blue collar employer compete with sitting behind a cushy desk all day doing nothing but punching a computer keyboard? The construction industry has raised their wage rate as high as they can to try and attract construction laborers. It worked for a few years, but now, even top wages are not pulling in construction workers like it used to.

Housing Boom to Bust

With the construction boom that Colorado has been in within the last decade, this labor shortage could be catastrophic to one of Colorado’s biggest industries: housing construction.  The housing market in Colorado has been experiencing a boom like no other state except California. Colorado construction companies can barely keep up with the demand as it is, and now with a labor crisis in their industry, it has slowed construction down quite a bit. Companies have had to resort to hiring out-of-state and offering high wage packages to attractive experienced craftsmen. This leads to exorbitant housing costs that are passed onto the consumer. California and Colorado have experience significant declines in housing sales since June 2018. It all trickles downhill. One tiny little element in a business will eventually affect consumers, prices and then cause a decline in sales.

The last state you would expect a construction labor shortage is Wisconsin. Construction has been a stable workforce supporter for centuries in this state, and residents are surprised to find out how much construction companies are struggling to find experienced or qualified candidates. In a state where good jobs are typically difficult to come by, it is surprising that there is a lack of interest in Wisconsinites to make good money in the construction trades.

When Raising Wages Fails to Attract Workers, What Can You Do?

From a marketing standpoint, what can construction companies do to combat this recent industry crisis? First you have to recognize what the root of the problem really is. This takes a savvy marketer and researcher to dig deep enough to get to the root of what is really affecting job applicants rather than the mountain of news articles that speculate the cause. Marketing experts (the good ones anyway) have a uncanny knack for reading between the lines to get at the real reason a market will sway in one direction or another. Marketing people think like no other. They look at everything in our world from a market perspective no matter how mundane it may seem to the average person. Things the average person overlooks as just everyday life, a marketer will pick apart, analyze to death, and use deductive reasoning to whittle away at. This is a skill not every business owner can master, which is why they hire marketing experts. A marketing expert would take the labor shortage crisis in the construction industry and look up all the data they can find to get at the reason for the trend. Then figure out the best solution to combat it. I have seen a great many construction companies throwing away money on this crisis because they fail to deduce what it is that will effectively attract workers to them over their competition. It may seem drastic or odd to you to hire a marketing expert to hire your employees, but drastic times call for drastic measures, or you are just throwing money blindly at the problem with little results.

Many construction firms stick to what they have done for literally decades to find employees, and that will not work in today’s job market. We are now being forced to think innovatively not just to attract customers today, but also to attract employees; something we are not used to and many business owners have no clue how to do.

construction worker guides beam. Construction labor shortagesSolution to Construction Labor Shortage dilemma:

1. Hire a marketing expert.  I’m not just saying this because I am one. This labor shortage is here to stay for the construction industry unless something really bizarre happens to change the way we build things. And it is going to require more than your usual employment ad in the local newspaper or on Craig’s List to cope with the way things are now. It’s going to take a creative marketing strategy to draw in new recruits.

2. Be open-minded to what a marketing expert might recommend. Times have changed. You are going to have to be willing to change the way you have recruited in the past. Out with the old, in with the new, if you are going to have any success with the current job market.

3. Actually implement the recruiting strategy your marketer recommends. They want you to succeed otherwise they won’t have your future business. If you go through time and money to hire a professional marketing expert, then do what they say. You would be surprised how many companies sit there and nod their heads in agreement during a consultation and then don’t do a thing after that. If you cannot do any of the recruitment tasks due to lack of time, then find a marketing professional that is willing to do the entire process for you up to the interview: sorry, you are still going to have to interview candidates. Nobody can pick them for you or should. You know if someone is a match for your company or not and personality has just as much to do with it as how they look on paper. A marketer can help you make the interview process a little easier and expedite it a bit though.