Home of the Original Drone Safety Vest
~ Presents ~
UPDATED: July 9, 2017
The Basic Drone Safety Vest With One of Many Text Choices
It has come to our attention that a knockoff drone safety vest is being peddled on Amazon at a low price, copying one version of wording and relative font sizes we have been providing for nearly two years, but with only a single choice, with no capability of text modification or logos, etc. The lettering looks spray-painted or stenciled, the vest itself is obviously cheap, with nothing said about its manufacture or certification. The sales pitch is in fractured English. In short, this is a shoddy ripoff of our vests. It is not our product. We do not sell via Amazon.
We start with vests made by ML Kishigo, arguably the premier name in high-visibility safety clothing. These vests have six pockets and a high quality zipper, and are certified as ANSI Class II. Then comes our print media, the highest available grade of vinyl, by Siser, computer/plotter cut and heat-pressed, individually, like on a fine sports jersey, by us, right here in house. Our extensive numbered suggested word choices are just that, suggestions, for convenience, but the actual choices are limitless, as each vest is made to order.
Our customers include many professional individuals as well as entities from TV stations to the Department of Defense. Our vests are entirely professional, with uncompromising quality, as they should be to do the job of identifying professional and other legitimate pilots to clients, agencies, and to the public.
The main text, under the heading Background, below, was written early in 2016, shortly before FAA registration of most recreational pilots of miniature aircraft became mandatory. Many of us feared that registration was just the beginning of an overall repression of the hobby, and that the long-forbidden commercial use of any sort of "drones" and other miniature aircraft would probably end up restricted to major players with deep pockets.
Another Version of the Drone Safety Vest, with a Company Logo
It was a pleasant surprise later in 2016 when the FAA announced that a new category of pilot's certification (often and commonly called a "license") was forthcoming at the end of August, tailored to the commercial use of "drones" by, at the time, mostly hobbyists.
This new certification/license is issued under the new "Part 107" FAA regulations. There's a written test, a moderate fee, and a few other hoops to jump through, but overall it seems reasonable enough, and getting this license should be pretty much a minor part of setting up even a casual business with your drone(s).
So, we are now making available, as additional standard text on our vests, the words "LICENSED," "CERTIFIED," and "COMMERCIAL."
We remind everyone that aside from the choices offered here, you can specify any wording you like. Generally, custom text does not add to delivery time as all vests are printed when ordered. If the total amount of custom text does not significantly exceed the amount on the standard choices there won't be any extra cost; more extensive text coverage may cost a modest extra fee, which we will discuss with you as needed.
We also remind everyone that it is up to you what to have printed on your vest. We do not have any knowledge of our customers' status with the FAA, and as pilots ourselves we encourage safe and legal flight operations.
You've successfully jumped through the FAA's Part 107 hoops. Should you use "Licensed" or "Certified" on your vest?
We can provide any wording you like, with the suggestion that you keep your audience in mind. Savvy clients and fellow pilots may understand "sUAS," "Certified" and so on, but some broom-waving citizen is more likely to understand the dreaded "Drone" and "License." My ancient (1975) single-engine-land certificate doesn't say "license" on it (just "cert."), but just about everyone calls one of these a private pilot's license. And since a vest is hardly a legal document, and since the FAA isn't exactly an accredited authority on the English language, our opinion is that it's your choice.
Here's a simplified explanation of the current FAA registration/licensing rules in the US. For finer detail, visit the FAA's Web sites.
As of Feb. 19, 2016), new federal rules from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), requiring the registration of all unmanned aircraft in the US weighing between 250 grams (8.8 ounces) and 55 pounds, are in effect. In addition, there are already other new procedures in effect for permitting certain commercial applications of such aircraft. While these rules arose in response to the popularity of multirotor aircraft , commonly called "drones," they apply equally to traditional "model" airplanes and helicopters that fall into the same weight category. Registration is actually of the pilot, who is issued a single unique number which is required to be affixed to each aircraft. This is at the least a nuisance for most of us, but there may be a bit of a silver lining.
UPDATE: As of late spring 2017, the legal status of some FAA regulations concerning non-commercial uses of unmanned aircraft (including hobby and "prosumer" class "drones") are up in the air. Regardless of the eventual outcome, the benefits of clearly identifying to the public what you are doing remain.
We are all painfully aware that the public at large does not like our multirotors ("drones"), thanks to exaggerated reports in the media about the stupid antics of a tiny percentage of reckless and/or ignorant drone owners, along with the misconception that our aircraft have anything to do with military drones, or are some sort of greater threat to peoples' privacy than the neighbor's cell phone or the "bird watcher" at the beach with a super-zoom point-and-shoot camera.
How bad is it? Pilots have been physically attacked while conducting perfectly legal and polite flight operations, just because their aircraft was a (gasp!) "drone." Many pilots have had lesser but still most unpleasant encounters with bystanders, or even authorities, while flying safely, in full compliance with all laws and common-sense considerations.
Also Available in Orange Color
Aside from the drone haters, most of us have been approached while flying by folks who are simply curious and interested. And some of us (myself included) have crashed or have had a photo shoot spoiled as a result of such distractions, regardless of what the interloper's intentions were.
Then there are people who may wander into a flight area who are neither friend nor foe nor interested in what we're doing, but who are just minding their own business, perhaps walking the dog, unaware that someone they are approaching is engaged in piloting an aircraft. (Which will run out of juice first, the poodle cavorting in your LZ or your hovering aircraft's batteries? Been there, done that!)
As every R/C pilot knows, watching your own back while flying is pretty much impossible. This vest and its message cannot be missed by anyone approaching, and will certainly give them pause, if not stop them cold. Nobody is likely to just rush right up to you when they see this vest. And if you and a couple of buddies are wearing them, you'll likely not hear an impolite word. Hostile individuals will likely just slink away, while the truly fearful citizen will have their anxiety softened. And if a conversation does follow, hopefully after landing, the message on the vest makes a great starting point from which to educate. (Update, mid-February 2016: We now have enough vests out and about to be getting some reports back , and it looks like their effects are calming, just as expected.)
Applying the word "drone" to our little unmanned aircraft is controversial. But the general public does not yet know the meaning of other terms we use instead, such as UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) or UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) or sUAS (Small Unmanned Aerial System). Nevertheless, some pilots prefer one of these terms on their vests. So, in the pull-down options menu at the bottom of this page we offer all four of these. Contact us if you want something altogether different.
Likewise, the words used to identify the type of pilot vary. "Registered" applies mainly to recreational pilots, while "Certified" and "Licensed" and "Commercial" are commonly ordered by business-oriented pilots (see box "More Words About Words," above, regarding a trivial spat over the words "certified" and "licensed"). The pulldown option menu offers several popular words and combinations, but there are many more to fit different needs; the chart below illustrates some popular choices. When emailing or calling us, referring to this chart can save time and effort and prevent misunderstandings.
~Above: Chart of typical vest texts and general layouts of the back~
~Exact font proportions and spacing may vary from this guide~
~Refer to the numbers of the samples when discussing these choices~
~If you don't see what you want, just ask~
We can apply your logo (in black) for a basic cost of $10 per application, with a first-order two-unit minimum (meaning that if you order a logo on the back or front only on a single-vest order, it will cost the same as logos on both front and back). Simple changes or rearrangement of wording is at no cost, while more extensive additional wording is again $10, at our discretion. We will need your logo file, in any format but the larger the better, via email, and/or clear instructions on what you want. You will get a mockup file for approval. To order a custom vest, contact us at the email address below, or call.
Some Samples of Customer-Supplied Logos, and Some Special Wording
THE FRONT OF THE VEST: All vests unless otherwise specified have the text on the back repeated on the front left top pocket (except for the "stand clear) . Changes in text are always available, just let us know what you need. Minor changes are at no cost. The top right front pocket is available for your logo, if desired.
The front left of a vest with text from back repeated
If your operations includes not only a pilot but additional crew who you'd like outfitted in vests, we can help. Costs will usually be the same as for pilot vests, and again you can have pretty much any wording you like (see chart, above, for some examples). And again, we suggest keeping your audience in mind. "Observer" is more universally understood than "Spotter" and so on. You won't want the FAA initials. You may want to change the "Stand Clear" to "Do Not Disturb" or "Please Do Not Disturb."
MULTIPLE VESTS: If you wish to purchase multiple vests, especially of different sizes or styles, etc., we will be happy to send you an invoice so you don't need to make multiple individual purchases. Email us.
Note that the message on the vest does not claim that the wearer is any sort of official, nor does it define what "FAA" stands for, or use any sort of official name, seal, or symbol. Whatever assumptions people make are their own.
These are professional-grade vests which meet ANSI II safety standards, with nice piping, four front pockets and a quality zipper. The vests are products of the American firm ML Kishigo, pioneers in high-visibility safety wear.
FREE SHIPPING for fast delivery via the US Postal Service:
Single Vests Via 1st Class Mail, Multiple Vests Via Priority Mail
(Customers outside the US must contact us before ordering.)
!!! PLEASE SELECT COLOR AND SIZE AND STYLE BELOW !!!
(Or there will be delays, pulling of hair and shouting!)