From disaster relief and surveillance to photography and filmmaking, professionals and hobbyists alike have literally taken their craft to new heights with the use of drones. Despite the opportunities that these unmanned aerial systems introduce, it is important for drone operators look out for hazards and keep safety in mind when taking flight.
The FAA is at the forefront of drone regulation. As of August 29, 2016, in order to fly a drone outdoors, owners must register their devices with the FAA. For aircraft between .55 and 55 pounds, failure to register these aircraft can result in criminal and civil penalties. Complete this registration online at registermyuas.faa.gov.
It is important to keep electrical safety in mind even before takeoff. Make sure that your drone is electrically and mechanically safe before each flight. Once in the air, be sure never to fly near overhead wires, electrical substations, or within five miles of an airport. If your drone does make contact with electrical equipment, keep your distance and contact your utility immediately for assistance.
The FAA shares the following safety advice:
- Do not fly indoors, near restricted or heavily populated areas, or close to other aircraft.
- Fly only during the day, at least 30 minutes after sunrise, and finish your flight 30 minutes before sunset.
- Always keep your drone within sight range. Avoid drone usage on cloudy or foggy days.
- Respect the privacy of others while using your drone. Do not operate your drone in a manner that is careless or reckless.
- As always, be sure to familiarize yourself with community-specific rules and regulations.
If you would like to familiarize yourself on the latest regulations from the FFA, download the B4UFLY app. Free for smart phone users in the App Store and Google Play, this app can help determine if there are any flying restrictions in your area. It also provides an interactive map where you can track your flying route. The app also includes links for additional resources and information if you need to brush up on safety tips.
For more information on electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.