Flying Drones

Drone FlyingFlying Drones is incredibly fun, in fact most find it pretty addicting.  But learning how to fly a drone is critically important.  This includes not only the mechanics of flying and using the controller, but also includes following proper safety procedures and adhering to local and federal laws as well.

The latest quadcopter drone models available are generally very easy and simple to initially fly around; however, that initial simplicity can be very deceiving.  Quadcopter drones are very stable, and many of the higher end models can hover and stay in place.  Where things get a bit more complicated is when you try flying drones a little faster, while panning to capture video, changing elevation and turning at the same time.

Don’t misunderstand, flying a drone quadcopter isn’t incredibly complex, but they do require a significant amount of practice and take time to learn.

Combine the fun with an overconfident drone pilot (especially a new one), and you can very quickly get yourself in trouble.  This is particularly true of pilots who aren’t familiar with local and federal drone laws and regulations.

Understanding safely guidelines and drone laws are a very important part of flying drones.  They can keep you or someone else from being injured, and keep you out of trouble with the law, who right now are very sensitive to proper and improper drone use.

Flying Drones – Make sure you register first!

The FAA recently released, not only federal laws related to flying drones, but also a mandatory drone registration process.  This allows the FAA to track drone use, but more importantly when you register you agree to the federal laws that have been put in place.  Meaning, if you violate them, you can be fined or placed in jail … and the fines are not cheap either, up to $250,000.

In addition to registering, all drones requiring registration, must be properly marked with your unique registration number, just like a larger aircraft.

Here’s a summary of the registration process, and you can read all the details, including a link to the registration site in our complete drone registration article.

  • The registration fee is $5.
  • Not registering your drone, if it meets the registration requirements, can result in criminal penalties up to $250,000 and three years in prison.
  • You must register before you begin flying drones
  • Registration is required for all drones “weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms).”
  • Drone registration involves providing your name, home address, and e-mail address. After completing registration, a unique identification number is provided, and that number must be clearly marked on your drone
  • Registration is only required once per person, and individual registration for each personal drone is not required.
  • Registration is valid for three years and you must be at least 13 years old.  If you are less than 13, than an adult must register for you.

Drone Flying Laws

How far can you fly a drone?  Where can you fly a drone?  How fast can you fly a drone.  These are all questions being addressed by a combination of federal, state and local laws.  The new FAA Safety Guidelines mandate the following:

  • You will fly below 400 feet.
  • You will fly within visual line of sight (meaning you can’t use FPV goggles and fly out of your physical line of site)
  • You will comply with FAA airspace requirements, meaning avoid airports, no-fly zones, etc.
  • You will not fly directly over people
  • You will not fly over stadiums or events
  • You will not fly over emergency response efforts, such as fires, car accidents, etc.
  • You will not fly near aircraft or airports
  • You will not fly under the influence (i.e. no flying if you’re drunk)

We would also recommend avoiding drone flying over populated areas, neighborhoods, and anywhere there are children.  Privacy issues with drones had become a huge concern with the general public due to the recent media attention that’s been given.

Instead, find a nice clear field that is unpopulated and away from people.  If that’s difficult, than communication can go a long way.  Just talk to the people around you, explain what you are doing, and be sure they are ok with it.  Even offer to give them a copy of your video.

Being a responsibly drone flyer is more about courtesy and respect than law.   Recognize that drones do crash, even when under control of the best pilots.  Recognize too that they are still fairly new, and people don’t always fully understand them, and their purpose.   Always keep these two things in mind when finding a place to fly, and when flying.

How to fly a drone

If you’re new to drones, you’ll want to do a little reading, and check out some videos before flying your new drone fast or up high.  The following articles are great introductions on how to get started Drone flying, including how to use the controller, the mechanics of flying, and a step-by-step tutorial on how to learn flying.

Top 5 Cheap Drones – Drones that will save you money

Drones are easy to use and are really fun to use once you know how to control them. The best part that makes it interesting is that they can drive, swim or even fly on their own. Most of them have different AIs which act like the autopilots, but they also have the option of being remotely controlled. The manufacturers ...

Read More »

How to use a drone controller

A drone controller, often called the transmitter, is used by a drone pilot to fly and control the drone.   In most cases, the controller uses radio signals to communicate with the drone or quadcopter.   technology hasn’t really changed much over the years, and neither have the controllers themselves. Most quadcopter controllers have: 2 sticks, for controlling the channels An LCD ...

Read More »
How to fly a quadcopter

How to fly a quadcopter the easy way

A quadcopter is a type of helicopter that has four blades instead of two.   Some of the most popular personal drones on the market right now are quadcopters due to how flexible they are, including the ability to hover.   While not terribly difficult, learning how to fly a quadcopter takes practice and is not something most people will just ...

Read More »