Drones are becoming more and more popular in the United States. By 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that there will be at least seven million of them around the country. In 2015, almost 400,000 drones were given as gifts for the holidays. The industry has grown to more than $3.3 billion. If you have received one, you may be new to drone flying. There are some things you should know and do to make the drone flying experience better.
- Check with the FAA. If your drone weighs more than .55 ounces, before you head out for some fun drone flying, you will need to register your device with the government agency. In 2015, the FAA developed a system called the “Unmanned Aircraft Registration System.” It is pretty easy to finish your registration. You only need to register once, if you have already registered a drone, you should be covered for three years. There is a different system if you have drones that weigh more than 55 pounds.
- Go over your manual. If you are new to drone flying, or even if you are not, getting to know your manual us the first place you should start. It can be hard to resist the urge to go right out start playing with your new toy but you should spend a little time looking over the settings. Make sure, for instance, the drone has the correct address so if you click “go home” it goes to the right place. If you take your toy on the road, you will need to make sure you set the drone up properly so it does not fly into a random building.
- Be careful where you go drone flying. You may think some of the best places to fly your drone include amusement parks or other parks. They are not always places that allow drone flying at all. You should learn from the mistakes other people have made with their drones. Some people have had to pay hefty fines for flying their toys in the wrong place — into the White House lawn, near the National Mall or in a national park. The National Park Service does not allow drone flying in any of the spaces under their jurisdiction.
- Look into the laws in your area. As drones have become more popular and prevalent, cities and towns have been passing their own laws over how the machines can be used. There are at least 30 states that have enacted laws governing how drones can be flown in them. Before you set out to have some fun with your drone, it is in your best interests to check on the laws in your area. If this is not your first drone, you should still check and see if the laws or rules have changed. It will cost a lot less to lean the law and not break it than to go the other way.
- Pay attention to what you are doing. The easiest way to get into a real problem when you are out done flying is to stop paying attention to what you are doing. It is easy to get your drone into trouble or crash into something (a tree, building) and end up needing to stop by the local drone repair service center. It is not that people are not watching their drone, it is hard to keep your eyes off of it, but it is easy to lose track of what is going on around you. Pay attention to what you are doing to have a better experience with your drone. Spend time getting to know your drone and how to fly it before taking it out.
There are lots of reasons to get someone a drone for the holidays. There are also a lot of fun and legal things to do while you are flying your drone. As a consequence, the number of drones owned by people all over the United States has skyrocketed. While your plans for your drone may be totally on the up and up, it is important to get to know the rules and regulations before you head out for some drone flying with your friends and family.