So You Want to Fly a Drone? Follow These Steps to Be a Safe Drone Operator


This week marks the first National Drone Safety Awareness Week and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) is excited to welcome aspiring aviators into our nation’s shared airspace. One of the most important things to remember is that we are all responsible for keeping our skies the safest in the world. ALPA is committed to making sure all new entrants into the airspace are held to the same high standard of safety and security.

If you’re one of the many aspiring aviators who want to take off with this popular hobby, here are a few of the steps from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to prepare you to be a safe UAS operator:

Get certified: In order to fully understand the system in which you are flying, you are required to obtain a remote pilot certificate by taking a written test on the basic rules that govern UAS—called “Part 107”—as well as airspace, altitude limitations, and more. You have to have one if you want to use your UAS commercially, such as inspecting rooftops or photographing real estate.

Register: Make sure you register as an operator with the FAA and label your device with your registration number. You must register if you operate outdoors, and if your UAS weighs more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams). You also need to carry the certificate of registration with you when you fly it.

Download the app: The FAA has created the “B4UFLY” smartphone app (for iOS or Android devices) to provide any UAS pilot with additional situational awareness of nearby airports, heliports, seaplane bases, and temporary flight restrictions.

Know your airspace limitations: Your UAS should always be flown below 400 feet above the ground, within visual line of sight (even if the aircraft has a range well-beyond), and not flown over people, stadiums, sporting events, or near emergency response efforts (e.g., wildfires, car crashes, or crime scenes), other aircraft, or airports. Also, you must be aware of the local airspace limitations, including temporary flight restrictions. 

For more information about operating UAS for recreational and hobby purposes, check out the FAA’s website
Categories: Industry, Safety

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