FAA: Merry Christmas, and Use Caution and Common Sense When Flying Your New Drone

Be smart and safe with your new flying toy, so that you don't screw things up for the rest of us

2 min read
FAA: Merry Christmas, and Use Caution and Common Sense When Flying Your New Drone

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.

[ KnowBeforeYouFly.org ]

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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