Have you been considering purchasing a new drone this holiday season – either as a gift or for yourself? With a projected 700,000 to 1,000,000 drones being sold this holiday season, you aren’t alone.
Taking the plunge and purchasing a drone comes with responsibilities. Not only will you most likely have to register it, you also have to stay abreast of the latest information provided by the FAA. Why? As indicated in the excerpt below, flying that new drone you purchased makes you a pilot, at least in the eyes of the FAA. Yes, a real pilot, even when you are flying a drone for 100% recreational purposes.
You’re heading to the stores on Black Friday to buy that shiny new camera-equipped drone you’ve been yearning for. You can’t wait to get into the sky and let loose your inner high-flying aerial photographer, right?
Did you know you’re also going to become a pilot?
When you fly your drone anywhere in the nation’s airspace, you automatically become part of the U.S. aviation system. Under the law, your drone is an aircraft. So while the rules for drones may be different, you have the responsibility to operate safely, just as a Cessna or 747 pilot does.
Don’t get overwhelmed, the rules set by the FAA are common sense and easy to follow. To help you stay abreast of the latest rules and drone information, I’ve compiled a few useful links:
- FAA: Unmanned Aircraft Systems
- FAA: Fly Safe With Your Drone
- FAA: Temporary Flight Restrictions
- Know Before You Fly
As of December 1st, 2015, these are the nine rules you must follow according to the FAA:
- Always check for possible Temporary Flight Restrictions before flying
- Always fly below 400 feet
- Always maintain visual line of sight (VLOS)
- Never fly over groups of people
- Never fly over stadiums and sporting events
- Never fly within 5 miles of an airport (without first contacting and receiving approval from air traffic control/airport authorities)
- Never fly near emergency response efforts (such as an active wild fire)
- Never fly near other aircraft
- Never fly under the influence
If you follow these rules, you can be confident you will be flying safe and legal.