As drones become more affordable, their popularity is increasing significantly. According to the United States Department of Transportation, as of January 2018, there are 1 million drones registered with the FAA. Hobbyists account for 878,000 and 122,000 are registered to public and commercial drones. Before you buy your drone and take it to the sky, there are some facts you need to know. Here are some rules and regulations you must abide by when flying your drone in the United States.
1- You Must Register Your Drone
The first fact of flying your drone in the United States is that your drone must be registered with the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) before flying your drone. Your registration is based on your flying intentions. There are two registration options:
1) Fly sUAS under Part 107: is the option used if your drone is flown for commercial, recreational or governmental reasons. This registration is good for three years and incurs a registration fee of $5.00.
2) Fly Model Aircraft under Section 336: is the registration option used if you are flying your drone in collaboration with an aero-modeling club.
2- You Must Label Your Drone
Upon completion of your drone registration, you are issued a registration number. This registration number must appear on all drones flying in the United States airspace. The registration number can be engraved, applied with a permanent marker or adhered with a permanent label.
3- 4 “Nevers” You Must Follow
Four things you can never do while flying a drone:
- Never operate your drone when you are intoxicated or under the influence of a mind-altering drug
- Never fly around or near a human-crewed aircraft or close to an airport
- Never fly above nor around emergencies such as fires
- Never fly around or over crowds like stadiums and public events
4- You Must be a Certified Remote Pilot
In compliance with the FAA Small UAS Rule Part 107, you must be certified as a remote pilot. The certificate ensures that you are aware of the rules, regulations, procedures, and operation requirements to fly a drone safely. To be eligible to become a remote pilot, you must be the following:
- Be older than 15-years-old
- Be fluent in English
- Be in good mental and physical condition
- Successful pass the aeronautical knowledge exam
You must have the certificate in your possession while flying your drone.
5- Your Drone Must be in Sight While Flying
You must be able to see your drone while it is flying. If you have an observer with you, they must be able to see the drone without sight aided products such as binoculars. Also, if your drone utilizes First Person View technology, you must have a visual observer with you.
6- Drones Saves Lives, Money, and Time
Drones are not only used by hobbyists. They are used by government agencies to keep the public safe. Some uses include finding a missing person, surveying the scene of a disaster, and performing surveillance on a criminal. When used in search and rescue missions, drones can spot missing people using sensors and infrared cameras. The drone will then relay the location to the rescue crew. Drones used in search and rescue missions save lives, money and time.
Their uses have recently expanded to traffic accidents, bomb threat operations, and hazmat operations. Retail giants such as Amazon are testing prototypes on how drones can be used in their delivery systems.
Whether flying for fun or for missions, the drones will continue to increase in their uses and popularity.