Thoughts on drone use, why or why not?

Howdy yall,

Kinda on the fence about getting a drone and wanted to pick yalls brains about use. I am pretty clear on the benefits but not sure about the drawbacks.

If you have one, what are the things that bug you about using it?

If you don’t use one on the job, what is keeping you from getting a drone?

Thanks, I appreciate the feedback.

Wind is the biggest detriment. It can get a little wild at times in my area. One time I had to fish my drone off of a 2nd story ice-covered roof using a rake and my tallest ladder, lol. That was after the wind blew it into some small tree branches and took it out of commission. Luckily the drone survived pretty much unscathed but going on the roof was not an option so I thought for a bit it was a goner (at least until spring).


The only time I use a drone is to see things I cannot reach/see with a ladder. It augments my typical inspection, it does not replace it.


It is often faster to walk a one-story ranch than it is to set up the drone and get authorization from the local airport. I use mine for most two-story homes or commercial buildings without interior roof access,


Is that a requirement in all situations? Is this akin to filing a flight plan?

Let me ask you this, have you found that using a drone has become a feature for selling yourself to potential clients?

Do you think you sell more inspections by having the drone in your toolbag? As in, is it a selling point for clients on the fence?

Yes and no. I have customers ask “How will I inspect the roof?”

I tell them, I use multiple methods and safety is a factor. I have several tools at my disposal. I walk what I can, roof edge via ladder, binoculars and drone.


No, not really. It’s fairly standard for an inspector to have a drone now. And those that don’t have one use other methods, such as a Doca Pole, to get a look at inaccessible roof areas. I prefer a drone over those other methods, and it does give access to some areas that would be impossible any other way, but it is not enough of an advantage to be a real differentiator in my mind.

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One of the drawbacks is licensing and regulation. Download the app B4Ufly and see where you can fly in your area. There will be restricted airspace where you simply cannot fly. My painters pole with a camera attached doesn’t need a license and there are no regulations. I can stik it wherever I see fit!


Same here, I also have a monocular I can mount to my phone that gives me a high zoom and magnification. Also I use a 30’

If you aren’t sure what the regulations are for using a drone visit

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I have a DJI Mini 2. The authorization automatically pops up when it is required.

Sometimes it is instantaneous for approval. Other times, it takes a while or multiple requests.

There is an Army National Guard Aviation unit in one town I do a fair amount of work in. If they are flying, you better be patient. This is an older town where most of the homes are two-story. Even though I set my max height at 150’, they still will not always authorize.

I believe in meaningful regulations. It’s this kind of overregulation that makes me understand why people do not get licensed or want tracking.

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This was why I steered clear of DJI. I don’t want the drone firmware making the decision to fly or not. It could be wrong.

We have a both drone and camera pole at our disposal when needed. This is using the camera pole with a GoPro. All about having choices and using the best one.

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Hi Casey, I asked myself the same question and was able to observe a roof inspection with a drone. The inspector was doing a great job with it until it got caught in a tree and we spent about an hour getting it out.

I use a ladder when safe, binioculars, a camera with a good optical zoom…otherwise my camera on a telescopic pole with a remote viewer (tablet) gets me about anywhere I can’t go… including low clearance crawlspaces. My preference is always to get up onto the roof if possible and the set up with the pole is potentially longer than using a drone, but at least I don’t have to worry about losing a drone ($$) or waste any time getting it unstuck.

Only you know the typical environment that you inspect in and if it is compatible with using a drone. As mentioned by others, you also would need to check regulations for piloting one and associated costs with getting a licence if necessary.

For me it is just another tool. I have ladders, roof ladders, binoculars, Doca Pole etc. I use it mainly when I cannot get to the top of a chimney and for large commercial buildings when inside access to the roof is not available.
A drone is not fond of rain and I notice when the temperature is below freezing the battery life is diminished, so I have 2 extra battery packs. Ryan already spoke about wind.

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Here is an adaptor (or adapter in US spelling) made from a paint roller handle , a bolt, a nut, a washer and some plastic putty.
This allows me to attach my camera to a roof rake (roof shovel) handle for roof shots or to attach my moisture meter to a smaller painter’s extension pole for those hard to reach spots. Cost … about $8 +pole $20-30. No licensing, permissions, additional insurance etc. Just watch out for electrical wires!

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As others have mentioned it is just another tool, and I also use mine as a last resort when I’m unable to walk a roof or am unable to view certain areas using other means.


I have been licensed for over 5 years. Better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war…

There are many valid points on both sides from what I can see.

I vote “Yes”….

The more experience you get with a drone the easier things become. I have multiple airport towers’ phone numbers on speed dial, and can get clearance just about wherever i need to…quickly…including around Scott AFB. Im not special, just persistent.

The cost is very affordable, and you dont need to upgrade constantly and drop a grand every year.

Wet roofs, wood shake, the towering chimneys that accompany those wood shake roofs…slate, etc…All viable scenarios to not walk a roof that a drone works really nice for.

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I believe @bhull1 had a not so great experience with that and lost a drone. Maybe he could share that story again…