If you are on Santa’s nice list, chances are you may find a drone, or even better, a drone with a mac-daddy Go-Pro camera under your tree this Christmas. But just remember, that gift comes with some strings. A drone, no matter how small, is an aircraft in the eyes of the FAA, and you sure don’t want to end up on the government’s naughty list. So if Santa brings you one of these little joys, pay heed to some basic, common sense rules that will make your life a whole lot easier.
The FAA recently published a checklist for all drone “pilots” prior to takeoff. You can check out knowbeforeyoufly.org for information for recreational users of unmanned aircraft. Or, you can look directly at the FAA’s website, faa.gov/uas . Many of the items are – or should be – common sense. For example, don’t fly while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, near other aircraft or in adverse weather conditions. Don’t spy on, or otherwise harass your neighbors. Other rules you just need to learn, such as to keep the drone under 400 feet and contact the control tower of an airport prior to flying within five miles of it. For a full checklist, please click on the links above.
Finally, stay on top of the drone rules. The landscape is rapidly changing as the FAA continually evaluates what requirements are necessary to ensure safety and promote responsible operation.