As it is with any government agency, the FAA has a “crap ton” of regulations and the hottest topic these days is UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. There are huge numbers of differing opinions about their use and with them becoming much more accessible and affordable it’s gonna get really crazy really quickly very soon (already in some instances). There are no-fly zone maps, advisory circulars from 1981, COA application procedures, and so on, and so on and so on. It’s dizzying to say the least. So here are some simple pieces of advise from me to other/future “droners:”
- Be respectful of anyone who approaches you about anything to do about your drone. Whether it’s simply to find out more about what you’re doing and to watch or someone who’s got an issue with you flying it. Doesn’t matter – be respectful in your conversations. If it really gets heated just don’t fly there.
- Know your craft – EVERYTHING about it. Not just how to get it up in the air, but what to do if you encounter an issue while it’s up there. Know how to troubleshoot what’s going on from the batteries to the blinking lights to the regular maintenance. Know its limitations and don’t push them just for the sake of pushing them.
- Be aware that there are regulations out there for UAV. They may not be specifically for this new category of aerial drone per se, but they are for UAV which technically includes your new DJI Phantom (or whatever you’re flying).
- Here’s a link to the current FAA set of regulations for UAV
- The National Park System has also issued its own policy on UAV within their parks.
- Know the regulations or at least be learning about the regulations. I know there are pockets of rebellious “droners” out there who are going to put up the good fight for their rights, but the FAA’s ultimate goal for its airspace is the safety of everybody involved – in the air or on the ground.
- Use some good ol’ common sense folks. Don’t be stupid about this. We’re privileged to be part of a new group of enthusiasts that may very well affect the way the FAA leans when it comes to that 9/30/2015 deadline for integration of UAV in the NAS. If we’re stupid about it now, guess what’s gonna happen when it comes time to develop new/updated regulations.
- Be safe.
This post was initially going to be a rant about a confrontation I had with an individual this evening who wanted to make me aware of all the regulations that prompted his company to “ground” their drone and that I shouldn’t be flying if they can’t. I was initially ticked off, but after careful thought, I decided to go this route to help promote awareness for common sense when it comes to this extremely touchy subject. I began to realize that I’m just as guilty of not following these tidbits of advice at one point or another so I want to make sure that I ultimately keep myself in check, too.
All I wanted to do was take some pictures of my elementary school…