We see them everywhere these days, pieces of machinery zipping by overhead, buzzing like a swarm of bees. Drones, referred to as Unmanned Aircraft Systems by the Federal Aviation Administration, are not only used recreationally, they are also used by an increasing number of businesses. Insurance companies are currently using drones during claim processing and undewriting.
No? Well, ere’s a quick lesson about what you need to know along with a link to the FAA’s UAS webpage that will answer all your questions.
Drones weighing more than .55 pounds, MUST be registered. You can fly your drone recreationally for hobby or recreation ONLY by flying under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Section 336). If you don’t qualify as a modeler under Section 336, you can operation your drone recreationally or commercially under the Small UAS Rule (Part 107).
FAA rules and restrictions include flying at or below 400 feet, keeping your drone within your visual line of sight, not flying your drone in any airspace restricted by the FAA, not flying your drone over people or public events, and not flying your drone near emergencies.
If your drone weighs more than 55 pounds, you cannot fly it–either recreationally or commercially–unless you receive a waiver from the FAA. In addition, you need a waiver from the FAA if you want to fly your drone under Part 107 in any of the normally restricted ways if you believe you can do so safely … and for a good reason.
The cost to register each drone is $5 and registration lasts for 3 years. Drones must be labelled with their registration numbers.
Drones operated commercially require the operator to be at least 16-years-old, be issued a remote pilot certificate issued by the FAA, and undergo TSA security screening; other requirements also apply.
The FAA also offers a free downloadable smartphone app for Apple and Android devices, B4UFLY, that helps operators determine if restrictions or requirements apply in a location where they want to operate their drones.
Happy and safe droning!