Drone and Quadcopter FAQ – Lesson 9.1

In this lesson, we will go over some frequently asked questions like:

  • What is a drone?
  • What does FPV stand for?
  • How high can I fly my drone?
  • Can you fly a drone in the mountains?
  • Are drones a threat to privacy?
  • Can I shoot down a drone if its flying over my property?
  • Can I fly my drone over water?

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Here are some frequently asked questions about drones. First off, what is the drone? Isn't that the wrong name? So the term drone has become the common name used to describe unmanned aerial vehicles that can fly both autonomously and by remote control. Some people don't think it's the right name to describe these small consumer aircraft like the Phantom or the Inspire 1.

I say the battle is lost. Just embrace the name it's not that big of a deal, we can call them drones, we can call them, RC aircraft, we can call them UAVs. But at the end of the day drone is easier to say and the vast majority of the public seems to have already embraced that term.

What does F.P.V stand for? F.P.V stands for First Person View and F.P.V capabilities mean that you are seeing what the drone is seeing by having a video down link transmit the video down to a monitor or video goggles or mobile device. If you want to do aerial photography and video, F.P.V is an essential feature.

How high can I find my drone? Well, depends on the model that you're flying obviously, and some models have firmware that restricts the maximum altitude for safety reasons. In the United States the legal maximum altitude is 400 ft.

Can you fly a drone in the mountains? Yes, you can fly in the mountains but keep in mind that the air is going to be thinner at higher altitudes and your drone will have to work harder to maintain flight. I've had a drone become unstable around 7000 ft ground altitude.

Are drones a threat to privacy? Consumer drones are currently very loud and the cameras they carry have poor or no zoom capabilities. So if someone is trying to spy on you with a consumer drone here probably going to know it pretty quickly. I suppose they could potentially capture images of the top of your head and if you feel like that's invading your privacy, then the appropriate thing to do is to contact the police.

Can I shoot down a drone if it's over my property? The answer is no. In the United States even small consumer drones are considered aircraft and the air space they occupy is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration. Shooting down aircraft or trying to damage it in any way can be considered a felony. And even if the drone is over your property doesn't matter you'll likely be facing additional charges for disarming a firearm inside the city limits and putting other people at risk. Again the proper thing to do is to call the police and file a complaint.

Can I fly my drone over water? Yes, drones fly fine over water, but keep in mind the risk of losing in the water if something goes wrong. Some drones will automatically land if the battery gets too low and you don't want to be over water if this happens.

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