Know before flying
Everyone seems to be talking about drones and for good reason. These unmanned aerial vehicles are doing a lot to simplify many of the problems people face in their careers. For farmers, they can survey their fields and let them know how the crops are doing.
Real estate agents can use them to take aerial photos of the homes they’re selling. Even some police departments are using them to subdue dangerous criminals. With so many innovative ways drones can improve lives, regular Joes are headed to the store to buy one for themselves.
Here’s a guideline for first-time drone owners so they can make the most out of their UAV piloting experience while still staying within legal and safety limits:
Step 1- Register the drone
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) makes the rules about drone usage in the United States. Right now, the FAA dictates that all drones weighing over .55 pounds must be registered prior to flying them.
For drones that are .55 to 55 pounds, the registration process can be done entirely online. Anything over 55 pounds must complete through the mail.
The reason for making registration a legal mandate is primarily due to safety. Drones crashes can occur even with the most seasoned pilots, much more so with inexperienced flyers.
In the case that an accident does happen, the drone would need to be traced back to the owner for compensation for the damage caused. Luckily the online registration process is very straightforward and shouldn’t take up too much time.
Step 2- Read the instructions that come with the drone
Some may think that just because the reviews say “easy to fly” that they can skip out on reading the instruction manual; this is not a good idea. Each UAV is different and thus comes with its own maneuverability and capabilities.
Though some may receive data from 400 feet away, others may only be able to be controlled remotely from 200 feet.
A pilot won’t want to wait to find this out when their UAV is several hundred feet up in the air. Remote controls are another typical variable.
Some come with specific remotes and others can only be controlled by smart devices like a cell phone or tablet.
Those who have a good understanding of the controls will have a more enjoyable flight time and not have to pay money needlessly for repairs.
Step 3- Take safety precautions when using the drone indoors
Most of the smaller drones that can be flown indoors have tiny blades that spin quickly to elevate the unmanned aerial system, kind of like a helicopter.
Just like one would expect from such a flying machine, these swiftly circulating blades are sharp. Most of these types of mini-drones come with a foam or rubber hull that can be placed over the propeller blades.
Though this will make piloting slightly more difficult, it won’t be as difficult as piloting with a missing finger because of an accidental contact with a sharp propeller blade. Remember, these guards are made for a good reason.
Step 4- Be mindful of the privacy of others
Drones offer many benefits to modern society, but one of the main reasons why they are not more prevalently used is because people fear a violation of privacy.
Since most people use drones to capture aerial photography and videography, it’s important that they not provoke other’s privacy concerns.
Drone owners should respect their neighbor’s space by only hovering over their own property and keeping the camera attached to the UAV focused on their own yard.
No one likes to feel like they are being spied on. When flying in residential areas pilots should be sensitive to other’s right to privacy.
Step 5- Use the drone for its manufacturer’s intended use
Drone enthusiasts have likely heard about the “Burrito Bomber” business that drops off burritos to hungry prepaid customers.
Though this idea is innovative, it may not necessarily be safe especially for a new pilot to carry out. As is well known, not everyone is thrilled about drones being utilized by the public.
The first usual object is about privacy; the second is about safety. Those who try to turn their drone into a courier may not be considering the safety of others.
All it could take is a strong shift in wind and the drone could drop its cargo on someone’s head or car windshield. By having the drone deliver items, the propeller blades could be getting dangerously close to the recipients.
Step 6- Have a good understanding of drone regulations
The FAA has strict rules when it comes to drone operation and breaking the rules could mean a hefty fine or jail time.
The regulations are easy to understand and are available online. Amateur pilots will need to keep their drones within their line of sight and avoid “no drone zones” which are typically within a few miles around every airport.
Flying drones can be a fun pass-time. In order for amateurs to be able to enjoy their drones, they need to practice good safety and respect the privacy of others or the laws could change, taking away their right to fly.
Drone operator training is available and recommended even for those who don’t plan to use them professionally.
By enrolling in a drone operator training program, enthusiasts and career UAV pilots can stay up to date on the latest regulations, techniques, and safety tips.
UAVs are likely to be more publicly acceptable if people are doing everything they can to be safer pilots.