Getting your hands on a drone is always a special moment for any videographer. After all, now you will have the freedom to take some gorgeous aerial shots that you have always wanted to take but could not. But before you go about flying the drone around the neighbourhood, keep in mind that you need to follow certain rules and regulations in order to protect yourself from legal charges. And if you are a US citizen, then you definitely need to keep the following things in mind when flying a drone in public.
The Basic Rules
When it comes to drones, there are three basic rules to observe when flying it. Firstly, only fly the drone at a height of 400 feet from ground or less. This will keep it away from other manner aircrafts like helicopters and aircrafts that fly at a much greater height. You can get away with flying above 400 feet. However, if an accident happens involving your drone, and it is later discovered that you were flying it at more than 400 feet from ground level, then you may not be able to plead negligence and escape punishment.
Secondly, always keep the drone in your sight. Never let it fly away from you into places where you don’t have a clear view of it. Since you can’t see the drone, all the movements you make on your remote might force the drone to crash with a person or an object. So, if you find that the drone has gone out of sight, try to first bring it in your field of view, and only then try to move it as you want. Thirdly, never ever fly a drone under the influence of alcohol. If the drone gets involved in an accident as a result of which someone suffers an injury or loss, then you will be made liable for compensating them. Stick with these drone rules, and you should be able to avoid any unnecessary accidents.
If your drone weighs more than 250 grams and less than 25 kg, then you should register it with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This can be done through the agency’s dedicated Drone Zone website. Just click on the registration button and proceed as instructed. If you do not register the drone but the gadget meets the criteria or registration, then you can be made liable to criminal and civil penalties. So, don’t postpone the registration process, and do it immediately once you get possession of your drone.
Be very careful when flying the drone above communities and other people’s homes. In fact, if you can avoid it, it is better to do so. People generally don’t like being watched by others. So, when they see a drone camera right above their homes, it is natural for them to feel freaked out. Some might even take a gun and shoot down the drone. And unfortunately, you can’t do a thing about it since the drone was on their property. By the greater risk is when your drone flies above children. If you linger for too long, then the parents might feel that you are some kind of a pervert for recording children. They might even file a case against you, which can prove disastrous to your life. So, only fly above homes and communities after taking the permission of the concerned people.
Many people think that they cannot fly their drones too close to the airports because of security reasons. This is not fully true. Some airports do have such restrictions in place. But there are airports that allow you to fly drones near their area. As per the FAA, you can fly within 5 miles of an airport if you can notify and get permission from two entities of an airport – the airport manager and the air traffic control. Once they declare that they have no objection to your request, you can freely fly your drone within 5 miles of the airport, never having to worry about any legal consequences.
Flying a drone at speeds above 100 mph is generally considered as undesirable. You can easily lose control of the drone at such high speeds, resulting in accidents. Now, most drones do not have the capacity to run even close to 100 mph. As such, the vast majority of drone owners do not have to worry about this issue. However, if your drone can fly in excess of 100 mph, then it is recommended that you keep the speed of the drone at reasonable levels so that you are able to control its movements perfectly.