So you just bought your first drone or are thinking about buying a drone. We will discuss some first time drone flying tips to keep you safe and legal. There is so much to do before you lift off for the first time. Ignorance is no longer an excuse and will not work with courts. Drones have become a very popular item and are now required by the FAA to be registered. Check out our article here for more specific information on why you should register your drone. Safety is a major concern and should always be your number one priority when flying your drone. Common sense comes into play here, never fly your drone over a group of people or a stadium. Remember to think about the worst-case scenario, if your first though is this could fall out of the sky and land on someone, rethink your flight trajectory.
So where can you fly your shiny new drone without getting in trouble. Check out our map here to see if you are in a restricted no fly zone. According to FAA rules and regulations, you cannot fly your drone higher than 400 feet. 400 feet is around 4 times as high as your average tree, which tend to average in between 80 and 120 feet. You must keep your drone in eyes sight at all time. The FAA has ruled that even if your drone has a camera, you must be able to be in eye sight of your drone at all times, or else you could be subject to a penalty.
You are not the only one is the sky, it is very important to make sure you do not fly your drone within 5 miles on the nearest airport. If you are on the boarder you may call the airport to advise them that you want to fly your drone and they have the authority to grant you permission. Make sure to get the name and title of the person you talked to, or better yet see if they can send you a confirmation email.
Make sure you check the weather forecast before you start flying. If there is a storm that is going to be moving in chances are the wind 300 feet in the air is going to be a lot stronger than on the ground. If you are flying your drone and the battery gets low you are going to have to fight the wind to bring your drone back. This will use a lot more than required to fly your drone out. Be sure to always make so you bring your drone back when your battery gets about 60%. It is always a smart idea to leave an extra 10%-15% left on your battery. Imagine when you start your flight that your battery is already at 85% this will help ensure you can always safely bring you drone back to home. You can always get extra batteries here, but if you have to buy a new drone because it fell out of the sky you are going to be very upset.
Since December 21, 2015 the FAA requires that all drones weighing between .55 lbs and 55 lbs be registered before the first flight. You can register your drone here. The cost to register you drone is only $5. We recommend that you do register all your drones. Once your drone is registered you must mark the drone with your registration number. It must be visible without the use of tools. This will help identify lost drones, which is very important for beginner fliers incase the wind takes their drone and they lose sight of it. When you are flying your drone you must keep either a paper or digital copy of your certificate with you at all times. You can read our article here which talks more in detail of the penalties if you do not register your drone.
Enjoy your new drone and feel free to download our free pre-flight, flight, and post flight checklist here.