Where NOT to fly a drone


Ok so one of my frequently asked questions is "where can I fly my drone?" It's probably easier to tell you where you can't fly your drone! The following applies for the United States and is provided by the FAA. 
  • You can't fly your drone higher then 400 feet.
  • You can't fly your drone out of your eyesight.
  • You can't fly your drone in National Parks.
  • You can't fly your drone over crowds of people.
  • You can't fly your drone over stadiums or events.
  • You can't fly your drone within 5 miles of a controlled airport, or heliport.
  • You can't fly your drone in restricted airspace or TFR.
  • You can't fly your drone over forest fires or emergency situations requiring air support.
  • You can't fly your drone on drugs or alcohol.
So now that's out in the open some of you might be pretty bummed. Some of you are like me and understanding. Understand that you shouldn't fly above 400 feet because general aviation can't fly below 500 feet. Unless they are taking off or landing. So that leaves 100 feet of a safety buffer.  But this changes around airports. Airplanes drop below 500 feet when they take off and land, but they do this within 5 miles of an airport only. So if you remain 5 straight miles away from airports you should be ok! 

Always keep your drone within your own human eyesight. You shouldn't be flying something you can't humanly see. That requires a specific license and type of certified aircraft to do so. 

Understand that you can't fly your drone in a National Park. Our nation want's to preserve and protect these areas. National Parks are homes to wildlife and considered national treasures. No one in these parks want's to hear your buzzing drone flying around. You can disrupt wildlife. In some cases you can even lose your drone to a angry bird! 

Please don't fly your drone over crowds of people. I would really dislike reading someone was injured because your drone had crashed. Always have a safe take off and landing zone setup that's away from people and their paths. Never fly over people whom aren't protected overhead.  

NEVER fly in restricted airspace! EVERY time you fly your drone you should be looking at a current aviation map for flight restrictions. We call these traffic flight restrictions TFR's or NOTAMS, which means notice to airmen service. Here is a link to the FAA's TFR's http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr_map_ims/html/index.html . Other sources I reference before flights are skyvector.com and airmap.io. Referencing these maps before you take to the air will help you fly safer. You MUST check for TFR's before EVERY FLIGHT! I say this twice because restrictions change hourly. For an example of this I reference a football or baseball stadium. You think it would look awesome filmed from your drone. Your right it would! So you are curious and look at it on the map one day and nothing indicates you can't fly nearby. But when there is a game about to play a TFR get's issued. There will be a red ring indicating this as a no fly zone and it generally covers a large radius around the stadium. There's many reasons for this. You may or may not remember a guy in 1986 parachuting into the world series. That's a no no! Flying over stadium games is also a copyright violation. The NFL or whomever is hosting the game has exclusive rights to that game. Bummer right? Can you imagine how many drones would be in the air over the super bowl if these rules weren't in place? It would be raining drones and quadcopters!!!

I hope you learned something from this article. Thanks for reading and happy flying! 


Tags #drone tutorial #drone law

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