DroneRafts Enables Part 107 Night Waivers

DroneRafts Enables Part 107 Night Waivers

One of the regulations in the Part 107 law that governs commercial drone operations is the limitation to flying only during the day; namely Part 107.29 “Daylight Operations”. There is a growing need to support operations that must be conducted at night and so the FAA has a process for approval of night operations through a waiver application. Only about 25% of the 'night waiver' applications submitted are approved by the FAA, often due to a lack of lighting systems that meet the requirements.

“Approximately only 25% of ‘night waivers’ are granted by the FAA…”

Part 107 Waivers by Category - ‘Night Waivers’ dominate *  Courtesy Streamline Designs, LLC

Part 107 Waivers by Category - ‘Night Waivers’ dominate *Courtesy Streamline Designs, LLC

There have been a total of 2,133 Part 107.29 waivers issued out of a total of 2,305 waivers overall as of December 2018. The ‘night waiver’ is the vast majority of the waivers granted by the FAA for Part 107 regulations and this requires special aftermarket lighting systems as none of the drone OEMs currently offer lighting that satisfies the FAA’s requirements.

FireFly lighting system installed on DroneRafts base mount system (TerraStrider or WaterStrider)

FireFly lighting system installed on DroneRafts base mount system (TerraStrider or WaterStrider)

During 2018 DroneRafts developed a lighting system that attaches to its popular all-terrain landing gear systems and meets the FAA’s requirements enabling approval of ‘night waivers’.

This solution brings a unique composite of capabilities to the commercial operator comprising the broadest range of expanded environments supported.

The trademark ‘FireFly’ was unveiled in January 2019 and is available for purchase directly from DroneRafts.com.

Snow, water, wind and rough terrain.

Snow, water, wind and rough terrain.

Rick Ripard captures the essence of #DroneAnywhere in this 5 minute piece featuring: Ice Yachting on Walled Lake in Michigan and Cross-country Skiing in Northville, Michigan as well as a whole host of other locations.

Easy take off, landings and no fear above water or rough terrain allowed Rick to use WaterStrider to achieve these shots, capturing some amazing footage.

Click here to see the full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQkQCtBw0so&feature=youtu.be#t=4m39

If you’ve got some amazing footage you’re keen to share, send us a link - we’d love to feature it. Drop an email to sales@dronerafts.com using the subject line ‘Feature my video’ and we’ll take a look.

DroneRafts in the Top Ten

DroneRafts in the Top Ten

DroneRafts was selected last week as a top ten semi-finalist to participate in the public voting phase of the Inc. Small Biz Salute Pitch Off.  The top ten companies were selected by the judges based on their answers to two questions in their submission; 1) What makes your business unique? and, 2) How would you use the $25,000 grand prize to grow your business if you win?  The DroneRafts response:

"DroneRafts has developed WaterStrider and TerraStrider, the only commercially available, fully engineered all-terrain landing gear system for drones. WaterStrider is patented in the USA and internationally and allows drones to #DroneAnywhere by landing on any surface, including water and snow! The sister product, TerraStrider, allows drone landings on any unprepared surface except for water. Both products add huge stability, protection, and confidence to any drone flight. $25,000 would be invested toward expanding our proven consumer products, through product modularization, into the rapidly growing commercial drone market, where the need for this solution is even greater."

DroneRafts also submitted a fun optional video pitch which can be viewed on their YouTube channel here.

The top three finalists are determined by public voting and win the opportunity to pitch to a panel of celebrity judges and vie for the $25,000 grand prize.

About DroneRafts, LLC

DroneRafts develops and manufactures highly engineered accessory landing gear systems for the sUAS/drone market.  Founded in late 2015 by three aerospace engineers and former fellow students from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana, the company developed its flagship product, an amphibious landing gear called WaterStrider, by April the next year.  The company unveiled the WaterStrider at the AUVSI Xponential 2016 trade show, and launched a Kickstarter campaign which succeeded, leading to industrialization in the Summer of 2016 and then retail sales during the 2016 Christmas season after having fulfilled the Kickstarter rewards ahead of schedule.  In the following year, DroneRafts released WaterStrider 2.0, a lighter and more versatile offspring of the original, and TerraStrider, a lighter, less expensive, non-amphibious version.  DroneRafts has delivered products to all 50 states, over 30 nations, and all 7 continents including Antarctica.

DroneRafts selected as Top Ten semi-finalist!

DroneRafts selected as Top Ten semi-finalist!

We Need Your Vote To Win!


DroneRafts is excited to be selected as a Top 10 semi-finalist for the Inc. Small Biz Salute Pitch Off.  Now it's up to you.  The road to the Top 3 is by public voting.  The finalists then pitch to a panel of celebrity judges to vie for the Grand Prize of $25,000 which will be used to grow their business.  We want to expand WaterStrider to fit other drones models and let more people #DroneAnywhere, and you can help us do that by VOTING NOW!  And please, share with all your friends!



Check out our fun little 45 second pitch video…

Flamingos in Africa

Flamingos in Africa

#DroneAnywhere Spotlight - Mark Bender visits AFRICA

Today we shine our #DroneAnywhere spotlight on Mark Bender who recently shared his breathtaking footage from Africa including some stunning shots of vasts flocks of flamingos he captured while using WaterStrider.  Watch Mark's footage below all the way to the end!

Check out Mark's other projects on his YouTube channel '2mabender'.

Thanks for sharing Mark!

Drones - What's next?

Drones - What's next?

What are drones getting up to these days? Aside from breaking boundaries of photographic exploration, here are just a few of the new applications being augmented by UAVs:

Internet access

High tech, high altitude UAVs, led by Facebook’s ‘Aquila’, are being developed to provide internet access to underserved areas. The drones are designed to float in holding patterns for up to 90 days, powered by solar cells, and, when proven out, could bring connectivity to the more than 2 billion people currently without.


The field of ‘First Person View’ (FPV) drone racing is one of today’s fastest growing sports. Pilots view the course through a virtual reality headset, navigating the tight twists and turns and plenty of obstacles that require massive precision to navigate. The DR.ONE competition, sponsored by Red Bull, sees 18 international drone racing teams from 11 countries put their skills and technology to the test.


Whilst the jury is still out on the merits and justifications of making standard courier deliveries by drone, small, time-sensitive packages that need to get to inaccessible areas are a perfect fit. Several NGOs are already utilizing UAVs to deliver vaccines and medical equipment to inaccessible areas.



The water skiers best friend!

The water skiers best friend!

Check out our tips for getting the most out of your drone for your day on the water:

Avoid the wake!

While the WaterStrider can handle small to medium sized waves like a pro, it’s best to stay well away from wakes when you are on the water. Large splashes can irreparably damage your camera, and bobbing images are no fun to watch or control your drone by

Stay ahead of the game

Don’t aim to be directly perpendicular to your skier – not only does this yield an inferior shot, but it makes staying in-line with her an impossible challenge for even the most skilled pilots. Staying a decent distance ahead gives you more padding for unnoticeable course adjustments, and allows you to capture sweeping shots of her skills – always preferable to those from a static relative position

Land during downtimes

Waterskiing is well known for long-periods of ‘down time’, especially for beginners. When waiting for a recovery or the next skier, simply land your drone on the water (giving a wide berth from the boat and the skiiers). This will conserve battery power and give you more time capturing those unique moments before having to retrieve your drone and switch batteries


InterDrone Day one complete!

InterDrone Day one complete!

A fantastic start to the show – thousands of visitors, hundreds of conversations, sore feet and voices fatigued, it’s been a great first day at InterDrone 2017.

Keynote address, seminars and events in addition to the main floor have provided an entertaining, informative and thought provoking first 24 hours. Zac Cole, founder stated “It’s been great to spend time with industry leaders and influencers, sharing knowledge and ideas on the next generation of the drone industry”.

WaterStrider 2.0 has received an amazing response, with visitors continually remarking on how much lighter the new model is. See it for yourself – join 4,000 attendees from over 58 countries at Rio Hotel, Las Vegas, NV until September 8, 2017. We look forward to seeing you at booth #513!



Meet the team behind the technology at InterDrone, Las Vegas, September 6-8.

Come join us at booth #513 to see what's new, find our more, ask questions and meet the team.

If you've not visited before, InterDrone is where the UAV industry comes together, bringing drone pilots, UAS engineers and developers, commercial drone service businesses, UAV manufacturers, drone videographers and enterprise UAV end-users.

Click here to register your ticket

We look forward to seeing you there!

WaterStrider provides landing insurance for Antarctic shoot.

WaterStrider provides landing insurance for Antarctic shoot.

WaterStrider from Dronerafts was the device of choice for a team of photographers capturing Antarctica from the air.

With massive expanses of water and unstable terrain, WaterStrider offered the reassurance the team were looking for.

"To provide some additional security while flying, we also carried a pontoon assembly from DroneRafts called a WaterStrider, which allows you to land on the water in an emergency. Many pilots who fly over water suggest attaching a hydrostatic float (originally designed for fishing poles), but we have avoided these due to their low success rate". Said Gavin Garrison.

Click here to find out more and read the article in full.

How to – Mission Planning for Fleeting Moments

How to – Mission Planning for Fleeting Moments

As nature photographers and parents of little ones know all too well, one often only has seconds at hand to capture that perfect shot. Readiness is key, and correct preparation can save you much stress (and many hours and megabytes!)

Here are 3 tips for capturing those fleeting moments with your drone:

  1. Equipment care – Prior to setting out for the day, make sure your equipment is in tip-top shape – mechanically sound, fully charged and functioning and with a clean lens.
  2. Solid ground – Get yourself comfortable and stable before starting your flight. Once airborne and camera ready, the last thing you want to be thinking about is correcting your boat trajectory or digging yourself out of sinking mud.
  3. Flight path planning – What is the most effective way to capture your target? Do you want a still, low shot or a sweeping panoramic? Determining a flight plan and path before the capture window will allow you to react quickly and surely when the mark is in sight.

WaterStrider by DroneRafts, an all-terrain landing gear for the DJI Phantom series, can help you be fully prepared to capture those once-in-a-lifetime shots. The WaterStrider flies with your drone, allowing stress-free landings on water and a range of inhospitable and uneven surfaces such as rocks, snow, angled ground and sand while protecting and enhancing the application of your equipment.

Cleaning your Phantom

Cleaning your Phantom

Is your Phantom looking a little fly-splattered or weather beaten after your adventurous mission? Here are our top tips for servicing your drone back to new!

Simple is best! Whilst there are plenty of dedicated solutions on the market, a common and effective go-to solution for surface cleaning is a standard baby wipe! With gentle cleaners and the right amount of moisture, it is the perfect, cheap solution for most of your cleaning needs. A lightly moistened paper towel with a mild soap will also do the job just as well.

No submersion or sprays. Your drone electronics and camera gimbal, whilst quite forgiving to light rain or spray, can be damaged irreparably if liquid gets inside the mechanisms. As a result, we recommend only cleaning with hand-applied products and not sprays or submersion.

Dedicated lens care. To keep those fleeting images crystal-clear, we recommend using dedicated camera optic wipes to clean the lens and leave it streak free.

Sheltered storage. Finally, to enhance the longevity and health of your equipment, be sure to fully stow and pack away your drone for long periods of inactivity to prevent dusts and other contaminants making it dirty again. And, as with most mechanical and optical devices, temperate storage out of direct sunlight and humidity is always best.

Industry Spotlight - Drones Saving Lives

Industry Spotlight - Drones Saving Lives

The rapid expansion of the drone industry is unprecedented – and now they are helping to save lives in scenarios where seconds count.

The Center for Resuscitation Science at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm recently commissioned an experiment, published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which tested the effectiveness of rapid drone-delivered defibrillators to cardiac arrest sufferers in rural Sweden.

The test drones, carrying a small heart defibrillator weighing less than two pounds featuring an electronic voice that gives instructions on how to use the device, were deployed to the houses of 18 recent cardiac arrest sufferers at the same time and from the same location that ambulances were dispatched. They arrived, on average, 17 minutes faster than the responding ambulances, which is massively significant for cardiac events where response time is strongly and steeply proportional to mortality.

Whilst the drone-delivered devices weren’t used on patients in the preliminary study, the results are "pretty remarkable" and proof that the idea is worth exploring, said Dr. Clyde Yancy, a former American Heart Association president. The test results show "a great potential for saving lives," he said. A follow-up study is already planned for deployment in real-life cardiac arrests.

Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death worldwide, killing more than 6 million people each year.

SkyPixel and DJI’s 2017 Aerial Video Contest!

SkyPixel and DJI’s 2017 Aerial Video Contest!

“When life gets dull, it’s time to see the world from a brand new perspective. Go off the beaten path on your walk, rediscover the beauty of the city, and take on new challenges to push your limits. A new world will appear when you look at it from different angles.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to share your video exploration skills and snag some amazing prizes with SkyPixel’s 2017 Aerial Video Contest. With Sport, City and Nature categories, there is ample opportunity to show off your #DroneAnywhere skills!

The Details:

  • Submissions open June 2nd – August 1st.  There is no limit on number of entries.
  • Submitted video must be under 5 minutes including aerial clips of at least 30 seconds.
  • Content must be entirely original.

The Prizes:

  • GRAND PRIZE – DJI Inspire 2 Premium combo, Nikon D750 body and extensive accessory kit, Australia travel package
  • CATEGORY 1ST PRIZE – DJI Phantom 4 Pro, Nikon D500 body and extensive accessory kit, Australia travel package
  • CATEGORY 2ND PRIZE – DJI Mavic Pro and extensive accessory package
  • CATEGORY 3RD PRIZE – DJI Spark Fly and extensive accessory package

To enter, visit: www.skypixel.com/events/videocontest2017


Meet the founders

Meet the founders

Adam, Zac and Dave, founders of DroneRafts, met over 15 years ago while studying mechanical engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Their passion for aerospace and flight led them to specialize in the design, analysis, testing, manufacturing, certification, and maintenance of gas turbine engines and light aircraft.

After successful early careers in large aerospace firms, they caught the entrepreneurial bug and decided to set off on their own, only knowing they wanted to do ‘something’ in aviation. Detecting a flaw in the restrictive landing capability of consumer drones, the idea for DroneRafts, and the WaterStrider landing gear, was born.

The team adopts a data-driven approach to the entire product lifecycle, from design through to marketing and distribution. They are enjoying the journey of start-up development, and are already developing other product ideas to extend the range and application of UAVs.

Outside of “work”, they enjoy traveling and flying, and have 9 children between them who love helping their Dads with product testing!