Earlier it was the aeroplanes but thanks to the constant evolution of technology, drones have now taken to the skies. Drones have become a popular gift choice for tech lovers who love navigating their surroundings with unmanned portable aircraft. Indeed it is a moment of excitement when you unbox your new drone, charge the batteries, and can’t wait to fly it under the open skies.
Nevertheless, how drones, an evolutionary aerial system, operates requires to be bound by rules and regulations. This is specifically to keep drone users, aircraft, and communities safe. Given the growing popularity of its recreational purposes and the damage it can cause, frequent drone users need to know a few restrictions and regulations before the system takes flight. When it comes to flying a drone legally and safely, follow the considerations below:
Table of Contents
1. You need to be qualified to fly a drone
If you are a new drone user, you might be wondering if you need to be qualified to fly a drone. The answer is no if you are going to use it for recreational purposes. However, those flying it for capturing aerial footage to make money out of it, will be required to fly it under the guidelines mentioned in Part 107. It involves taking a test for becoming a certified drone pilot. Those flying for recreational use such as capturing photos and videos without the purpose of making money, still need to take a few steps before flying it.
2. Registration with the FAA
Registration with the FAA (Federal Flying Administration) is the first step to ensure that before the drone leaves the ground it is secured with a registration number. Although you are flying your drone for fun instead of commercial purposes, registration is mandatory for drones that weigh more than 55 pounds.
Frequent drone users are required to obtain an FAA registration number and provide the contact information to label their drones. Registration not only helps users to have a legal pass to fly their drone but also helps them recover it if it is lost.
3. Know your flying limits
One of the primary components for operating your drone safely is maintaining a visible line of sight. Users must operate a drone during the daylight hours and in reasonable weather conditions to meet the required obligations. As per the rules, users cannot fly their drones within 5 miles of airport premises unless air traffic and airport control are previously notified of the same.
If you are a frequent drone user, you cannot fly your drone directly over individuals who are uninvolved in its operation. You must remember to operate it below or at a level of 400 feet. You also need to be aware of flying restrictions, including schools, stadiums, power plants, and hospitals.
For recreational drone flyers, there aren’t any official rules when it comes to flying drones at night. The commercial drone pilots have the allowance to fly at night, but only after their drone is equipped with anti-collision lights and pilots have taken a flying test. Anti-collision lights are also applicable for recreational flyers as it not only benefits other aircraft in the night sky but also helps flyers keep an eye on their drone when flying off at a distance.
4. Drone users need to have a drone insurance
Irrespective of how fast or slow a drone is traveling, it can damage property as well as injure people. Consequently, drone users are often advised to have drone insurance. As a comprehensive remotely piloted aircraft insurance policy, drone insurance covers loss or damage or any theft caused to the drone, including the loss or damage of its parts and third-party liabilities.
As per the policy, drone insurance covers accidental damage or loss of the drone, personal accident or injury applicable to the insured user, provides medical insurance cover facility to the authorized operator. The policy also covers third-party liability that includes coverage for accidental bodily injury and damage caused to property by the drone.
5. Do not forget about data protection
If you are a first-time drone user, you must know a few things about drone technology and drone meta-data. Drone metadata is inscribed on an encrypted secure digital card. Therefore, protecting your drone means protecting your data that includes the photos you have taken, marked with latitude and longitude. Several drone users take photos of their homes, of themselves, and their interests, which means a lost drone can have information that can help others identify places and people when needed.
6. Drone regulations do not differ across States
The general rules mentioned previously, apply to all drones irrespective of the State you are in. In the grand scheme of things, drones are comparatively a new edition. Therefore, with time, new laws and regulations are still being enacted by different states. As a frequent drone user, you can look up updated state laws for drones and act accordingly. Moreover, until and unless you are planning on delivering a heavy payload from one country to the other, you need not worry about you being a threat.
7. Understands the commercial restrictions
Imagine you have hired a wedding photographer to record your big day with a drone or hired someone to capture aerial photographs of a house you want to sell. In such instances, it is important to understand the commercial restrictions of flying a drone. When you use your drone for commercial purposes, you need to ensure that as a drone operator you have to acquire the correct FAA license and insurance policy to cover the entire process. As mentioned previously, drone operators are restricted from flying the aerial system above people.
Have fun but stick to the rules
When flying your drone frequently, always keep in mind that as a remote pilot you are responsible for your safety and others. If you abide by the rules and guidelines, you’ll enjoy flying your drone without causing trouble to aircraft, people, and property. Don’t fly over your neighbor’s garden or within the demarcated distance near an airport. Capture golden hours but remember when it’s time to take it down.