Cloud9Operator Operating Guidelines

The goal of this page is to educate our operators on procedures that ensure smooth operations in the field while maintaining high professionalism when engaging with clients and others.

Professionalism Guide

  • Clothing: wear weather appropriate clothing that is clean and simple. We recommend darker colored sweat wicking sport t-shirts and shorts with shoes and a baseball cap.
  • Small Tallk / Conversation: Be open to brief small talk. Show your excitment for drones. Do not use swearwords in conversation, be polite. If it starts taking too long, tell the agent/home owner that you need to get started, or you will be late for your next appointment.
  • Vehicle: keep a clean vehicle in good shape
  • Bystander/Neighbor inquiries:
    • Explain that you are here to market the property for ______ agent and are capturing aerial photography to help sell the property and show the views
  • Home Owner/Agent meeting:
    • We try to make sure the agent or homeowner will not meet to streamline the process. If they are still meeting, it may be to show you something that would have otherwise been missed, or to help identify the lot boundaries.
    • If the agent wants to watch or play director, tell them that you will be running around the property trying to capture all the shots, and hiding in the trees to make sure that the footage is the best. That usually discourages them from joining. If they insist, ask them what specifically they want shot, and then allow them to watch the initial take-off and first shot, and then ask them to go inside so you can get the job done efficiently, since you have another appointment afterwards.
  • Home owner, agent special requests: 
    • Sometimes agents ask for special requests, such as shooting a nearby neighborhood amenity. If you can see the amenity from the job site, feel free to capture it from where you are at if you deem it safe. Generally you can frame the house with the distant amenity, and the agent is happy with it.
    • The general packages we sell (base, base+feature, K1,2,3) only include 1 shoot location. Sometimes for a ranch, this maybe 2. If not specified in the notes, and the agent wants more special requests not included, tell them that this was not included in the ordered package. They can upgrade on the spot (generally $100 extra to get up to the next package, for which you will get compensated extra for), or you can defer permission to shoot additional footage to the office team. Please make these notes in the dispatch tool so that we can track additional billing or any problems.

Pre-Departure

  • Review all the missions the night before or in the morning to plan wake-up and departure time. Check if you are missing any information, if there is any airport coordination requirements, if you need to meet any of the customers.
  • Check the weather the night before or the morning of for rain, low overcast, fog, storms, over 20mph wind, high KP Index
    • If drone operations cannot be completed, notify dispatch that rescheduling will be required as soon as possible
  • Equipment Check:
    • Enough charged drone batteries for the day? Plug in any before going to bed.
    • Controller and tablet/phone charged for the day
    • 2 tablet/phone cables
    • 1 clear SD card per mission (min of class 10 or UHS 1, UHS 3 preferred)
    • Charger for phone/tablet and drone batteries/controller if needed
    • 1 full set of extra propellers
    • ND filter kit
    • Extra backup drone
  • Initiate communication to first mission client if required

Pre-Mission (Shoot)

  • Check mission details to get the realtor or home owner name, product purchases, gate code, and any special instructions
  • Park car away from the listing, or hide it so that is will not be in the footage. Walk to the listing.
  • Knock on the front door to introduce yourself
  • Walk the property either by-yourself, or with the owner/agent to make sure it is staged
    • Most importantly, the For-Sale sign needs to be pull out (this can lead to a fine for the realtor)
    • Check that cars are parked or hidden, gardening tools hidden, garbage and recycle bins hidden, pool cleaner out
    • If it is not ready, help with minor things. Do not spend more then 10minutes. For-Sale sign is most important.
  • Inform any neighbors that are outside, that you will be capturing photos of the listing to help sell it
  • Set-up the drone in the front of the house
  • Hide the drone bag, extra batteries in a spot hidden from view, or in your car

Pre-Flight

  • Quick check of weather conditions, aircraft, 
  • Check batteries, props on securely, SD card in, correct ND filter on, lens clean
  • Set up drone in clear flat area with clear space for take-off, landing, return to home
  • Power on aircraft, open app, check for any error messages on app, turn off any unnecessary notifications
  • App settings set to: video at 1080p 60fps, images at 4:3, style: vivid, exposure: auto, EV at -0.3 or -0.7, SD card has over 20min of video capacity left
  • Mentally prepare the intial 5 shots that you will do

During FLight

  • Check for cars, people, birds, aircraft before taking off (stand behind the drone) and during flight
    • immediately drop altitude, or land
  • Watch aircraft for any abnormal behavior before taking off and starting your first shot
  • Perform all the required shots while keeping line of sight with the drone
  • When using AutoPilot
    • Load the app and flight plan
    • Check the minimum altitude in the flight plan
    • Take-off and fly above the treeline. Check the altitude needed to clear all structures, trees, etc. This is the Minimum Safe Altitude (MSA)
    • Make sure that the min flight plan altitude is above the MSA (change if needed)
    • Start Engage Sequence
  • When low battery signals, come to land. Replace battery.
  • Change take-off location if needed and plan next sequence of shots
  • Land safely
  • Review the clips and pictures taken to ensure all content is captured for the product ordered
  • Power down systems

post Flight

  • Pack up the drone
  • Take out the SD card and put it in the "Do not use" case
  • Log flights and update the dispatch tool with status complete or any additional notes needed for post production
  • Return the sign if you removed it, return the pool cleaner if you removed it
  • Knock on the front door to let the home owner / agent know that you are finished