Lexington photographer is among first to get commercial drone license

By  | 

LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ7) It may seem drones are everywhere, but actually, to fly them commercially, you need a license now. And to get that license, you need to take a test.

“It took about two hours to take the test," Steven Shires said, "And you take it at an airport.”

Basically, the same place you’d go to get a regular airplane pilot’s license. And don’t think because it’s just for drones that it’s easy. Without some serious studying, you are not going to be able to pass this test.

Lexington photographer Steve Shires, however, was ready and eager. He had been playing with drones as a hobby, and he wanted to be able to integrate it into his business.

“I started back in June," Shires said. "When I first heard rumor that this was about to become law. I went ahead and started studying then, and I devoted a couple hours per night.”

Even though you couldn’t even take the test until the end of August.

“You have to know quite a bit of aeronautical knowledge to get through this thing,” Shires said.

He was one of the first through the door on Sept. 1, and now he’s one of a handful locally licensed to fly drones up to 55 pounds.

“The ones I’m using here today are in the area of probably five pounds to no more than maybe eight,” Shires said as he tested out his newest model. “It allows me to basically have a tripod in the sky. I can now get off the ground and get up in the air and see things that I’ve never seen before.”

And those 55-pound monster drones?

“Something to carry a larger payload,” Shires said.