If you’re one of the many Americans who received or gifted a drone for the holiday season, the Federal Aviation Administration wants to remind you that drones are more than just a recreational toy. In fact, the FAA recently released statements regarding safety rules and regulations that must be followed in order to operate a drone or similar product. According to the FAA website, you can register your drone under Part 107 or as a Public Aircraft in accordance with the law, or you can choose to register it under The Exception for Recreational Flyers. If your drone weighs more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds, it must be registered as an unmanned aircraft. If you fail to register your drone before taking flight, “you will be subject to civil and criminal penalties if you meet the criteria to register an unmanned aircraft and do not register,” according to the FAA website.
Other parameters that must be followed before you or your child can take flight with a drone are as follows:
- The drone must be registered and marked on the outside with its official registration number. Additionally, you must also carry proof of the drone’s registration.
- You may only fly the drone for recreational purposes.
- Safety guidelines of a community-based organization must be followed at all times.
- The drone must be flown either at or below 400 feet when in uncontrolled airspace (also known as “Class G” airspace).
- The drone is not permitted to be flown in controlled airspace.
- The drone must always be kept within your general line of sight or the visual line of sight of a visual observer that is co-located, as well as in direct communication with you.
- The drone is not permitted to be flown in airspace where all other flight is prohibited.
- The drone cannot be flown near any other aircraft.
- The drone should never be flown over public events, stadiums with people, or groups of people.
- The drone should never be flown near any kind of emergency.
- Never fly a drone while under the influence of any alcohol or drugs.
According to the FAA, those who fail to follow these rules will face serious consequences.
“Recreational flyers should know that if they intentionally violate any of these safety requirements, and/or operate in a careless and reckless manner, they could be liable for criminal and/or civil penalties.”
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