I have discovered that most people do not know that civilian drone pilots need to be licensed by the FAA in order to operate an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) professionally, or that amateur pilots have many regulations and area restrictions that must be followed in order to fly recreationally.
People who ask me about my drones are very surprised to hear about the various local drone restrictions and Federal regulations.
It is a “safety first universe” when it comes to drones or any UAS and the safety records of the past decade prove their efficacy. There have been millions of civilian drone flights all over the US for over a decade and of this date, not a single death or major accident has been recorded by the FAA Flight Standards District Offices, which tracks all drone crashes.
Today’s drones are small, light-weight and tend to break apart on impact if they’ve hit into a building or tree. While learning to fly back in the day, the few mishaps I had typically occurred because of a small tree branch that sensors didn’t pick up. However, with the latest autonomous sensors being added to drones today, to ensure obstacle avoidance, even this doesn’t happen very often for the newer pilot.
Below are the top 10 operating limitations and regulations we must follow when flying missions.
Drones over 8.8 ounces must be registered with the FAA.
Drones above .55 ounces (that is tiny) can not fly over groups of people.
Drones can not be flown in restricted airspace unless the pilot has a special permission permit.
Maximum height the drone can fly is 400 ft. above ground and/or structure.
Drone must be 500 feet below clouds.
The drone must be in the pilot’s visual line of sight or have a 2nd observer.
Pilots can not have any medical, visual or hearing impairments during flight.
A pilot can not fly a drone at night unless they have special equipment on the drone and a COA or special permission waiver.
Drones can not follow or fly over public moving vehicles unless crossing a street to a destination point for a mission or returning to the take off point.
If there is a drone impact on public space this must be reported to the FAA.
As an FAA certified UAV pilot who has run many hundreds of flights, I can tell you that from a practical standpoint it is in the pilots best interest to know the airspace, run the flight checks, and check for all the safety and security issues when planning a mission, because putting a drone out of commission can be costly and time consuming. However, more importantly, as a professional drone pilot I never want to cause harm to anyone’s property, but insuring every mission is just part of operational procedure, to be better safe than sorry.
Following federal and local regulations and continual safety checks are part of what I do during every mission. Respecting the regulations is the only way to fly.
Schedule a free consultation from the site to learn more, or send a message to ask me any other questions you might have - I'd be happy to reply or speak with you about them.