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What You Need to Know Before Flying a Drone

Photography by Photosebia /

Drones are awesome fun. They can bring out the inner kid in even the most jaded individual, but they can also land people in a lot of trouble. Here are some things every new drone owner should know before taking to the skies.

How far you can fly is going to be limited to the space you’re flying in and line of sight. Flying beyond your line of sight increases your risk of losing control and crashing. You might think simply that you can fly via the radio controller’s screen, or your phone or tablet (ala first person view or FPV), but we should strongly caution you against doing that.

You can certainly fly beyond your line of sight but then you risk possibly hurting someone, damaging property, and running afoul of the law. Therefore, you should stay within the 400-foot ceiling and maintain visual contact with the aircraft at all times, unless you’ve obtained an exemption from the FAA.

You should avoid flying your drone in residential or highly populated areas. Drones tend to raise privacy concerns, so if you’re a courteous pilot, you’ll try to allay those concerns by flying in sparsely populated or rural areas.

Don’t fly near airports, schools, churches, and stadiums. This also goes so for flying around power stations, water treatment facilities, prisons and detention facilities, and busy roadways. Find a wide open treeless field without buildings, cars, towers, trees, and other potential hazards. Also we’d like to stress that your shouldn’t operate around people unless you’re flying as a group or club. The simple fact of the matter is drones attract attention, and they also crash.

Finally, if you’re planning on using a drone for profit, such as to film a movie or a commercial or any project where you’ll be paid, then you will need to apply to the FAA for a commercial exemption. Even if you’re simply planning on doing a site survey or mapping out an area, you’ll still need to seek out approval.

(Via How To Geek)

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