by Rachel Borene
With the winter holidays having come and gone, many people may have found brand new drones waiting for them as a gift. Though no precise numbers can be given as to how many drones have been sold in 2015, it’s been estimated that at least one million drones were purchased by consumers this year.
New drone hobbyists need to be aware of laws and regulations regarding use of their drones. Irresponsible drone usage can interfere with government aircraft and with first responders during an emergency. For instance, there are reports of firemen having to shoot a hobby drone out of the way with a hose while taking care of a fire.
If you live in the United States, and you fly a drone that weighs more than half a pound, you’re required to register your drone. The process is simple and currently only costs $5 USD. You can check out the FAA’s website for more information.
Not registering your drone or improperly using a registered drone can have serious consequences. Besides interfering with emergency responders, you can face serious fines or even jail time, and drones clubs have already been shut down over their refusal to follow laws.
Make sure you have your new technology properly registered, labeled, and use it in accordance to local laws. If you use your drone for hobby flying, make sure the area you fly it in isn’t a ‘no fly’ zone. If you’re a cosplayer who is using a drone as part of your costume, ask permission from the convention center to bring your drone inside. Even if you’re hired to photograph an event or record it using your drone, it’s best to be courteous and ask the owner of the property if they’ll allow you to use your drone. Remember to take all aspects of your environment into consideration. For example, using a drone at a horse show may frighten horses and ruin the event for handlers and spectators.
Because drones are fairly new technology to the public, some people may simply not like drones and would prefer the drone isn’t at their event. Be understanding of their view and respect their desire to not have the drone in their space.
No matter what you’re using your new drone for, the best way to begin as an independent drone pilot is to start off on the right foot by following the rules and respecting the airspace of other people.
Of course, don’t forget to also have fun, be inventive, and see where your new drone can take you!