Frequently Asked Questions
Where are you located and what areas do you service?
We are located in Somerville, Massachusetts and service all of New England. That being said, we LOVE to travel! If you want to get us on a project that is requires a plane or a long drive then all we ask is that you pay basic travel and lodging expenses. We are great at finding deals and do not charge a premium for this.
What sort of equipment can be used on your drones?
Our largest rig can support up to a 40 pound payload. That is only used for very specific functions and quotes are on a per project basis.
Our most popular rig for film professionals is the DJI S1000 which can carry up to 15 pounds of payload. It is equipped with a MOVI M5 and can be customized to carry many types of cameras and lenses. We typically rig it with a Canon 5D Mark IV, Sony A7S II or Sony FS5.
Our smallest and most maneuverable drone is the Phantom. This popular quad can has the least amount of set up time and can grab photos and video from the air, changing the camera settings in real time. It can also be equipped with propeller guards.
What about safety?
Safety is our paramount concern at Above Summit. We will not fly over the heads of people who are not active participants in the production or in inclement weather (precipitation, high winds, etc) and we use a Visual Observer to provide an additional level of on-site safety. Our pilots are seasoned and responsible operators with experience on an array of equipment and have created safe yet incredible, innovative shots.
How far can you fly?
The UAS must remain within the Pilot in Command's line of sight at all times, and our height ceiling is 400 feet (122 meters) by law.
How long can you fly?
We use LiPo rechargeable batteries to power our copters. Each battery lasts approximately 10-20 minutes, depending on the payload, temperature and type of aircraft. Swapping out a battery only takes a couple minutes and we always bring multiple batteries to each shoot. If required, we can also recharge batteries during a shoot, as long as there is an outlet nearby.
Are you licensed?
Yes, we were first licensed with the FAA's 333 exemption for commercial pilots and have since been licensed as Part 107 operators of unmanned aircraft.
Are you insured specifically for drones?
Yes, we are insured by the leader in the industry who specializes in covering drones for general liability and hull damage. We are also insured with separate production insurance. If you decide to book us, we will be happy to provide you with our certificate of insurance, adding your company as additionally insured.
What are the current FAA restrictions?
1. Our pilots must maintain a visual line of sight with the drone at all times.
2. Flying must be done during daylight hours, with the only exception being 30 mins before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.
3. Maximum altitude is 400 feet above the ground or a structure. For example, if we are filming a 150 ft building, we could fly 550 ft high directly above the building.
4. We cannot fly over the heads of people who are not directly participating in the operation.
5. We cannot fly within a 5 mile radius of an airport without prior authorization from the FAA.
IMPORTANT: Please note that all of Boston and parts of surrounding towns are within the 5-mile radius of Logan Airport. There is a process through the FAA where we can obtain a Certificate of Authorization. These applications are processed within 90 days. If you have a project located in restricted airspace, reach out to us as soon as possible so that we can submit a petition.
To check your project's specific location, please visit this interactive map: https://app.airmap.io
What if I want to film in restricted airspace (Boston) but don't have time to wait for a permit?
We have had great success with hiring helicopters when waiting for FAA approval hasn't been possible due to time constraints. The helicopter session can be rented in 30 minute intervals, with 3 camera operators present. This is especially useful if you're looking for both photography and video coverage at the same time. The helicopter pilot we use for these projects is extremely responsive and flexible to individual project's needs. The cameras we typically use are Canon 5D Mark IV's for photography and the Sony FS5 on a Movi M15 for video. We can rent additional equipment, if requested.