What you can do if Santa brings you a drone for Christmas?

What you can do if Santa brings you a drone for Christmas?


By Leada Gore

Forget Sugar Plums. It seems some visions of sweet treats have been replaced with wishes for an unmanned aerial vehicle.

And while the military and surveillance uses capture the headlines, drones have plenty of down home applications. Property owners are using on board cameras to get a bird’s-eye-view of their land and farmers are putting them to work to monitor crops.

Then there’s the fun part. Flying UAVs is a passion for many and, according to the FAA, the sky is – almost – the limit when it comes to personal drone use.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an advisory for the operation of what it then called model aircraft in 1981 and updated it in 2012 to clarify that drones used for recreational or academic purposes are exempt from any UAV regulations set by the FAA.

The FAA guidelines are:

  • The aircraft should be flown lower than 400 feet above ground level and preferably away from populated areas. Where exactly personal drones are allowed to fly is up for some debate but the FAA recommends the 400 feet guidance.
  •  If you’re flying an aircraft within 5 miles of an airport, you have to notify the airport operator.
  • Cameras are allowed on the drones if they are being used for personal or recreational use.
  • Give right of way to, and avoid flying in the proximity of, manned aircraft.

And, of course, avoid flying your drones on Christmas Eve or at least be on the lookout for a Jolly Old Elf in a sleigh. Happy flying!


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