Do you own a drone? Though the legal landscape is changing fast, there are best practices and regulations for drone usage, whether you’re having fun in your backyard or using it for your photography business or farm.
Use your drone safely
Drones are also known as unmanned aircraft systemor UASs Whether you’re having fun in your backyard or using it for commercial purposes such as photography or precision agriculture you are responsible for flying your drone safely.
Know BeforeYou Fly is a nonprofit educational campaign founded by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to educate prospective users about the safe and responsible operation of a drone. The group offers safety guidelines for drone use.
Keep your drone below 400 feet.
Keep your drone within eyesight at all times.
Your drone should not fly nearer than 25 feet to individuals or animals or vulnerable property.
Contact the airport control tower before flying within 5 miles of an airport or heliport.
Do not fly over sensitive infrastructure or property such as power stations, water treatment plants, heavily traveled roadways, etc.
What are the federal regulations concerning drones?
The FAA authorizes commercial uses for drones on a case-by-case basis and you may not use your drone for commercial purposes without express permission.
You do not need FAA approval to fly a drone for recreation or hobby. FAA guidelines also say that drones should be flown a sufficient distance from populated areas and full-scale aircraft; should be kept within visual line of sight of the operator; should weigh less than 55 pounds unless certified by an aero-modelling community-based organization; and cannot be used for business purposes, such as farming.
Effective Dec. 21, 2015, if your drone weighs more than 0.55 pounds you must register it with the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft System before flying it outdoors. People who previously operated their drones must register by Feb. 19, 2016; people who do not register could face civil and criminal penalties.
The District of Columbia and cities and towns within a 30-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are a “no drone zone.”