On Thursday, way too many kids (and adults) will likely find themselves to be the proud owner of a fancy new drone that they have no idea how to fly. Before all kinds of disasters inevitably happen, the FAA in partnership with AUVSI (the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International), the AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics), and the Small UAV Coalition has launched a website called KnowBeforeYouFly.org. It’s a reiteration of the current set of rules governing use of drones by the public, and it can be summarized thusly: “when flying a drone, use caution and common sense.”
Just for fun, let’s see if we can simplify these rules even more:
- If you’re wondering whether your drone is flying too high, it’s probably flying too high.
- If you can’t see your drone, that’s bad.
- Do yourself a favor and maybe talk to someone who knows what the heck they’re doing before you just go out and assume you’re awesome at flying a drone, because you probably suck at flying a drone if you’ve never done it before.
- Flying a drone near an airport? What are you thinking?
- Nobody wants to be unexpectedly buzzed by a drone. Don’t be that guy. It’s not cool.
- If you wouldn’t be allowed to fly a real aircraft over some area, it’s generally safe to assume that you can’t fly your drone over that area. This includes things like sporting events, presidential motorcades, and rocket launches.
- Don’t fly a drone while drunk. I mean, c’mon, seriously now.
- If your drone weighs more than this rabbit, it’s probably super dangerous, and nobody trusts you not to crash it, so why not scale it back a little bit?
- Want to make money flying drones? Awesome! You totally can, just as long as you get an exception from the FAA. For easy instructions on how to do this, see the next rule.
- And finally, when you fly, use caution and common sense.
See? That wasn’t so bad, was it?
Unfortunately, odds are that most people who get a new drone this week aren’t going to read about, or care about, any of this stuff. Hopefully nothing bad will happen, because as we see over and over again, just one or two people doing reckless things with drones can cause huge problems for everyone. And as drones become more popular, let’s just hope that everyone flying one will become aware of these rules.
For more detail on drone safety, hit up the FAA’s new website below, or if you really want to give yourself a headache, you can tackle the sUAS Flight Safety Guide here.