How To Fly Your Drone Safely: A Few Simple Guidelines
The talk about regulating drone flying has been around ever since the first gadget appeared. Yet it took some time for the official institutions to come up with a set of rules to guide new pilots in their sky explorations. The recent White House drone incident may have sped up a few things, encouraging the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to go ahead with the renewed set of rules for commercial drone flying. Contrary to a number of rather pessimistic predictions, it seems that commercial drone flying will not be squashed by a set of harsh rules –but rather guided by a number of sensible regulations. Companies, willing to operate drones, will have to pass a test and get a special license at the FAA facility. When it comes to the actual “flying restrictions”, drones will have to be flown under 500 feet and only when there is daylight present. And, much to Amazon’s disappointment, the small unmanned aircrafts will have to be flown within the pilot’s line of sight.
Even though the rules apply to bigger model commercial drones, and individual users will not be affected by the new regulations (even more so if you live outside the US), their introduction once again brings up the question of drone safety. And perhaps, some of the rules adopted for commercial flights, could also be beneficial to the device sitting in your backyard.
So How Do You Fly Your Drone Safely?
While there may not be any official regulations, applying to individual pilots in the country you live in, common sense guides us to believe that all of us, drone enthusiasts, should keep to a simple “code of conduct”
- Choose the right area. It is highly recommended to fly your aircraft in an open site, like a park or a field, with the minimum number of trees or buildings obstructing your view. It’s also safe to say that choosing a spot with fewer people or animals ( a safe range is beyond 150 metres) will allow you to operate your device with more freedom and not cause any accidents.
- Another important factor when deciding on where to fly is the privacy issue. As most drones sport cameras and other types of “spying” equipment, flying one over somebody’s yard, rooftop or window may be a cause for concern. So do your best to stay away from private property, governmental offices, embassies or any other official and public establishments. When it comes to airports or heliports, try to keep the distance of at least 9 kilometers to not get in the way of any aero operations. It’s also reasonable to stay away from military bases, moving vehicles, concerts, sports events or any other gatherings and anywhere where you could interfere with emergency responders.
- Keeping your aircraft within a line of sight also seems like a sensible suggestion. True, you can track the route of your drone via your smartphone or any other monitor, but keeping it out of sight means you may not be able to get to it in time, in case something happens.
- Think about weather conditions. A lot of pilots prefer to fly their drones in the morning hours, as the wind is usually the weakest at this time. It’s also important to consider visibility, as well as the chances of rain or thunderstorm. Making sure your device is safe up in the sky will also ensure safety on the ground.
- Make a checklist of the things to go over before take off. Just like a pilot of any other aircraft, make sure your system is working properly before you are airborne. Check if your batteries are fully charged, the sky is clear, all your controls are in order and your mind is focused on the journey ahead.