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Nicholas Drone Service June Blog!

It's June. It's hot! Let's talk about what we can and can't do with our drones. There are laws and rules that drone operators like myself must follow just like the pilots in manned aircraft. It can be dangerous if an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) fell from the sky! So, for one, we can only fly up to 400 feet above the ground in the United States. In most cases a drone can fly much higher.

(From here on out, when I reference a drone rule, it's only referring to the United States drone laws implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration.)

The 12 Dont's of Drone Flights:

*You must not fly above 400 ft. unless within 400 ft. of a structure and no more than 400 ft. above the absolute height of that structure. *You must not operate more than one UAV at a time. *You must not fly beyond visual line of sight (VLOS). *You must not operate over a human being or a moving vehicle. (Unless covered by a structure or stationary vehicle.) *You must not operate in certain airspace without Air Traffic Control (ATC) authorization. *You must not fly UAV in excess of 100 mph. *You must not fly when visibility is less than 3 statute miles. *You must not fly closer than 500 ft. below a cloud or within 2000 ft. laterally from a cloud. *You must not operate a UAV within 8 hrs. of consuming alcohol or while under the influence of any other drug. *You must not operate a drone if you have a physical or mental illness that would interfere with the operation of the UAV. *You must not drop or expel an object from the UAV that may harm someone or something. *You must not carry hazardous material. Now, for the most part drone pilots fall under two categories: hobbyist and commercial (Part 107). You will have to register your drone with the FAA if it is more than 0.55 lbs (250 grams) or if it will be used for commercial purposes under Part 107. Your registration number must be "legibly displayed on an external surface" of your drone. To receive a commercial, Part 107 license, one must be 16 years of age, read, write, and understand English and pass an initial exam at a participating airport or training facility then, a recurrent online exam every 24 months. A commercial operation with a UAV is defined as receiving compensation for your drone services. This is not an easy course to complete as it requires knowledge of all the rules listed on the FAA site above. And you must understand different classes of airspace, weather, and sectional charts. The FAA doesn't lightly enforce these rules either. An offense is a Federal one! Hopefully we're all abiding by these rules so UAVs can continue to operate in the National Airspace in a safe and productive manner alongside all other manned aircraft already occupying this space.

There can be some exceptions to these rules and others with permission from the FAA. As a Part 107 licensed pilot, you can request authorization to bend and sometimes break them as long as you can prove that your mission is operating safely. It's as easy as filling out a quick form on the FAA's website: FAA DroneZone.

Would you like to know some of the waivers successfully approved by the FAA? Yes, you have access to the waivers being approved in the United States! I think it's interesting to see the boundaries that drones have overcome these days with all of the new technologies being introduced! Enjoy!

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