5 Ways You Can Have Responsible, Safe Fun With Drones
A drone is considered an Unmanned Aircraft System, or UAS. A drone offers a first-person, aerial view of any terrain, building, and other outdoor areas and is the ideal device to capture spectacular bird's eye view images and action videos. Anyone flying a drone, from a weekend hobbyist to professional film maker, must follow specific safety regulations set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Know Before You Fly: FAA Drone Safety Guidelines
The FAA partnered with industry associations to create and promote the Know Before You Fly campaign. It's designed to help educate the public and drone/UAS hobbyists about safe and responsible flying of unmanned aircrafts. The basic guidelines include:
- Always fly your drone or UAS below 400 feet
- Remain clear of obstacles (ie: trees, power lines)
- Keep the aircraft in your line of sight at all times
- Never interfere with manned aircraft operations
- Never fly near stadiums/arenas or crowds of people
- Never fly a drone or UAS that weighs more than 55 pounds
- Never fly recklessly, or a fine can be issued for the endangerment of humans, animals or property
The FAA warns flyers to stay at least five miles away from airports, unless you've contacted and have permission from that airport's control tower.
You can download the Know Before You Fly safety brochure here.
5 Responsible, Fun Ways to Fly Your Drone
1. Fly in Open Areas, Like a Park
Check with your local city ordinances, but many city parks allow drone flying when the pilot flies safely and responsibly. If you're near a large field or open area, obtain permission from the property owner and head out to the wide, open space to practice diving turns, loops and other fun aerial tricks without having to worry about collisions with trees or dangerous power lines.
Note: It is illegal to fly to your drone in a national park or over a military installation.
2. Capture Amazing Vacation Photos/Video
Use your drone to take unique overhead shots of your family when out boating or enjoying a day at the beach. Again, if it's a public beach, check all rules and regulations to be sure drone flying is allowed.
3. Film Special Personal Events
If you've always been the photographer or videographer of family events, your drone offers the unique opportunity to record and capture a new point of view. Fly a drone over an outdoor family party and take pictures or video of the kids playing games, or your parents dancing for their wedding anniversary. You'll be able to capture moments that will be treasured forever.
4. Participate in a UAV Meet-up
What's a UAV meet-up? It's an unmanned aerial vehicle get-together. Check out UAV.Meetup.com for different events that may range from a simple gathering where hobbyists show off their drones and fly them together or organized drone enthusiast clubs meeting for races and competitive events.
5. Race Your Drone/Aerial Sports League
There are aerial sports leagues around the country. These events and competitions are for more advanced drone pilots and draw large crowds who enjoy watching and cheering on their favorites. Competitions may include speed races, aerial acrobatics and obstacle courses to test the drone for maneuverability and more. Check here for a chapter in your area.