Although RC drones have been around for a relatively long time, it’s only recently that the latest innovations in technology have made them more accessible to the average newbie. As drones makes their away into pop culture, and as their technology continues to evolve, there needs to be strict guidelines for how to fly a drone the right way. Below, we’re going to talk about five things that you should never, under any circumstance, do with your quadcopter.
#5: Spy on Your Neighbors
When learning how to fly a drone for the first time, you may suddenly feel the urge to see what your neighbor is up to. Currently, there are no laws saying that you can’t fly a drone in your own back yard within sight of your neighbor’s property – but this doesn’t mean that it’s okay.
Chances are that your neighbor is going to feel very uncomfortable about you infringing on their personal space. Also, just because there isn’t a strict law about flying your drone within view of your neighbor’s yard, doesn’t mean that he or she can’t take you to court. With all that said, when learning how to fly a drone, know your boundaries!
#4: Fly Over the White House
If you’ve ever been to the Capitol, then you can agree that there’s a ton of great things to see. When learning how to fly a drone, you might be tempted to fly over the White House. Don’t do it. This area is a strictly enforced no fly zone.
By “strictly enforced”, I mean that you’ll be arrested, have your drone confiscated, and get taken to jail – no questions asked, and no warnings. Take a look at the map [Side] to see the official flight restricted zones over Washington D.C.
49 U.S. Code § 46307 – Violation of National Defense Airspace
A person that knowingly or willfully violates section 40103 (b)(3) of this title or a regulation prescribed or order issued under section 40103 (b)(3) shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
In May of 2015, a man was detained for flying his drone outside the White House. He was immediately arrested and taken into custody, despite having no ill intentions. This goes to show that law enforcement takes these things very seriously. When in doubt about whether a specific area is legal, do the responsible thing and don’t fly!
#3: Check In Extra Batteries
When you’re first learning how to fly a drone, chances are good that you’ll want to take it everywhere you go. While on the road, there isn’t too much to worry about as far as legalities are concerned. However, if you’re flying commercial, there are some rules you have to follow. All quadcopters built today are powered by Lithium Polymer batteries. Also known by the acronym, “LiPo”, they can be somewhat dangerous when they’re not handled properly.
The good news is that you can fly with Lithium Polymer batteries, but only as long as you bring them in your carry-on. If for whatever reason you need to check your batteries, then they must be installed in the device you intend on using them for. If you don’t follow this rule, your bag will most likely be confiscated by the TSA.
#2: Fly Over People
There are 1,001 places where you can learn how to fly a drone and take great aerial shots – amusement parks, sporting events, concerts, etc. But flying over people carries a lot of risk. Something as simple as a battery malfunction could send our quadcopter hurdling towards the ground. And if there’s a person underneath, they could get seriously injured. When learning how to fly a drone recreationally, do your best to stay away from people – especially if you’re not that experienced. I would recommend flying in large, open spaces while you hone your skills.
#1: Fly in Airport Airspace
While it may seem like common sense, you’d be surprised by the number of people who fly their drones in restricted airport airspace. In June of 2014, the FAA officially made it illegal to fly an RC quadcopter within five miles of an airport. Besides, even if it were legal to learn how to fly a drone over an airport, would you really want to? A gust from a passing airplane could easily send your precious drone crashing to the pavement. And who wants that?
Did we miss something? Do you know someone who has done something incredibly irresponsible with their quadcopter? If so, share your story by posting it in the comment box below.