The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently unveiled their set of rules governing the use of personal drones. This will mean an attempt by the FAA to control the rapidly increasing number of unmanned aerial vehicles (read personal drones and quadcopters) flying over the United States sky before it gets out of control.

Drone Definition

There are a couple of well accepted drone definitions. The first one describes any unmanned aircraft (or ship) that can navigate without user (human) control, autonomously or beyond the line of sight. I am guessing these are the kind of drones used in military where you just have to paint a target for the drone to fly there. The second one, describes any unmanned aircraft (or ship) that is guided remotely. This last definition applies more to a radio-controlled personal drone like the ones we can find online.

flying personal drones in public

FAA Drone Regulations

This subject becomes crucial after FAA reported to have had some serious issues in the recent past concerning untrained hobbyists who as it appears have been sending their machines far above the ground posing some serious dangers to manned planes and the people walking on the ground.

Voicing their concerns, FAA official Rich Swayze made it clear that their new plan doesn’t in any way try to limit the use of drones or put a ban on it. Instead, the agency plans to get out and educate personal drone hobbyists on the potential dangers associated with drones.

According to Swayze, lots of people with little to no piloting experience and background are operating drones and quadcopters in the airspace. The FAA drone regulations seek to educate these people on the safe use of drones in an effort to keep the risks involved at bay.

With their prices plummeting almost drastically, personal drones and quadcopters have been gaining more exposure lately. Slapping a ban on them would be an untimely buzz kill this holiday season. But thanks to FAA, all users have to do is make good use of their gray matter to avoid spoiling the party for other drone flyers.

FAA’s plan of action runs the gamut from educating drone sales personnel on rudimentary safety points so they in turn can pass them to consumers, to ensuring unmanned aerial vehicles are watched over all the time. As we speak, giant retailers’ shelves are stacked with dozens of small drones and similar machines, with some mini-drones selling for as low as $20.

Also speaking at the conference was the Hawaiian Airline CEO, Mark Dunkerley who referred to quadcopters as a very serious issue that, if left unmanned, is bound to end in tears.

In attempt to grab the attention of drone hobbyists this Christmas season, FAA followed this campaign with a “Know Before You Fly” video clip that’s supposed to help users enjoy the machines without worrying about driving them onto people’s heads or, worse, bringing down a bigger plane.

To learn more about FAA “Know Before You Fly” campaign, please follow this link: http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/

Among the rules laid down, users are expected to fly the copters at max 400 feet above the ground and most importantly ensure their machines never get out of their sight. Two, the machines should never be flown near an airport or crowd. FAA also recommends users to join flying clubs near them, and to always inspect their crafts before flying them off.

The current page from the FAA for Unmanned Aircraft registration is: http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/

FAA-Pre-flight-checklist-personal-drone

Conclusion

I hope this small article helps you understand better the new regulations from the FAA governing the flying of your personal drone. It is a wonderful hobby that is just starting to take over, we have better drones, faster and easier to control than years ago, more and more accessories come to market every day, but we have to learn to be responsible when using our drones so we all can enjoy and have fun.

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