How to use this checklist

This checklist asks the most basic questions of both you and your potential service providers. As a result, it may not fit every situation perfectly, but you can modify it if needed. The checklist is oriented towards aerial photography in the Unites States and Canada, but most of it will apply about anywhere, to any drone application.

Simply answer the questions and fulfill the tasks in each section. If you have any questions directed them to Aerial Information Systems Corporation ( If you need more assistance, we would be happy to discuss consulting options to get your project up and running as soon as possible.


Flight Authorization

  1. Does the provider have permission to fly from the national civil aviation authority. In the U.S., they should currently have a Section 333 exemption or Special Airworthiness Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. In Canada, they must have a Special Flight Operations Certificate or claim an exemption (with possible registration with Transport Canada).
  2. What are the limitations of their certificate or exemption?

Note: In the U.S., rules are going to change in the coming months when commercial operators will be required to have a registered aircraft and pilot with a sUAS operator certificate. This list will be updated when new federal regulations are finalized.


  1. Who will accept liability for the operations? You or the provider?
  2. If you accept the responsibility, do you accept the risk or does your insurance provide coverage for 3rd party drone operations?
  3. If the provider needs to carry insurance, how much do they need? If the provider does not carry enough coverage, determine whether your requirements are too high or the provider is under insured. Are your coverage requirements industry standards? If your requirements are reasonable and the provider is new to your industry, inform the provider they may be under insured and to consider increasing their coverage.
  4. Avoid using additional insured clauses unless necessary.
  5. The drone service industry is in its infancy, so be understanding of businesses trying to get coverage from a handful of insurance sources.

NOTE: In Canada, liability insurance of at least $100,000 is required by regulation.


  1. Does your city, county, state or province have any drone privacy laws. Here is a list from 2014 for the U.S.
  2. If you have privacy laws to follow, does your provider know? Do they know the limitations of the law? Will they handle implementation of any laws such as securing permission from persons not involved in the operation?


  1. Does the provider have a portfolio of previous work for review?
  2. How much flight time does the aircraft and the pilot have? 
  3. How much flight time do they have on your particular type of operation?


  1. Do you need photography, videography or both
  2. What is the required resolution?
  3. Do you need the raw imagery, produced imagery or both?
  4. How will the imagery be delivered? Media? Online?
  5. Who owns the rights to the imagery?


  1. What are the dates of the planned operation?
  2. When are deliverables due?


  1. How does the provider charge for their flying operation? Do they charge per unit of time or a flat fee?
  2. Does the provider charge for imagery production services?
  3. If production is included, what do you get for the price?
  4. How are provider travel expenses covered? Wrapped into the price? Billed separately?

Flight Hazards

Identify and inform the service provider of any known flight hazards to include

  • towers (and guy wires)
  • power lines and other overhead cables
  • terrain
  • nearby airports or helipads
  • low flying aircraft
  • uncooperative neighbors
  • wildlife

Job Site

Identify and inform the service provider about the

  • Location of the job site (address or latitude/longitude)
  • Boundaries of the job site
  • Ground access to the site


  1. Has the provider had any mishaps that resulted in the loss of the aircraft or damage/injuries on the ground?
  2. If you plan to participate in the operation, will the provider conduct pre-flight safety briefings for all participants

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