Mark overviews legal considerations in the United States for the use of drones. The FAA regulations state:
- Avoid doing anything hazardous
- Register your aircraft if it weighs more than 0.55 lb
- Take lessons and learn to fly safety
- Contact the Tower if flying 5 miles within an airport
- Don’t fly near manned aircraft
- Maintain line of sight
- Don’t fly an aircraft weighing more than 50 lbs
- Don’t fly for commercial purposes
Here’s a link to the official FAA website (click here)
In this video I will cover some of the legal issues and considerations that you should take in mind when flying drones.
Governments around the world are starting to regulate consumer drones. It’s important to do your research and get familiar with the laws concerning drones where you live.
I live in the United States, so I’m going to be talking about the current laws here, but keep in mind that the laws are changing quickly, and they might be different where you live.
In the United States, the FAA has the authority to regulate all aspects of American Civil Aviation and that includes RC aircraft, drones, or UAVs are called.
The FAA is trying to adapt to the booming popularity of these consumer drones and regulation is expected soon, but here’s what the rule’s currently state.
Keep in mind that the following rules apply to hobby and recreational use only. We will cover the topic of commercial use in just a moment.
The FAA guidelines state that you should first avoid doing anything hazardous to other airplanes or people and property on the ground. You should register your aircraft if it weighs more than .55 pounds. We’ll talk about registration later on.
You should take lessons and learn to fly safely much like you’re doing now. You should contact the airport or control tower when flying within five miles of an airport. You shouldn’t fly near manned aircraft.
Don’t fly beyond the line of sight of the operator. This means the operator must keep a visual contact with aircraft at all times. Don’t fly an aircraft wing more than 55 pounds and don’t fly for commercial purposes.
In the United States, commercial use of UAVs or drones that’s where you would be flying in exchange for payment is still not permitted unless you filed and been granted a 333 exemption.
Currently, in order to fly commercially, you must have both the exemption and hold an actual pilot’s license in order to be the drone operator during a commercial flight.
This may soon change and proposed rules for commercial flight have been released, but they’re not final or official yet. The new proposed rules would allow for commercial flight without having a pilot’s license, but there’s some other restrictions that they would impose, such as no flying at night and a 500-foot altitude restriction.
You can download the PDF to review the entire list of the proposed commercial rules. It’s unclear when and if these rules will become the law and become official, but I believe the FAA is taking steps towards this and the new registration database is evidence of their progress towards this.
I’ll cover registration in a later lesson.