Make Sure You Know and Follow the Rules if Santa Left a New Drone Under the Christmas Tree
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Make Sure You Know and Follow the Rules if Santa Left a New Drone Under the Christmas Tree

The rules and drone registration requirement is designed to minimize potential risks to other aircraft, people, and property

December 26, 2019

Drones have become popular in recent years thanks to their affordability and the cool factor. Whether you are a recreational user who just your first drone or a professional who uses one of these devices in your daily work, it's important to know the registration requirements and safety rules for flying these devices. Improperly flown drones can cause more than simple damage. They can cost lives.

Registration Requirements

New drones in original manufacturer packaging should advise you on the basic registration requirements for the device. But it might not be entirely clear if you buy one used, have an older model, or if the packaging isn't available. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires you to register it before you fly it.

You must only be at least 13 years old and pay a $5 fee. Owners only need to register once with a name, mailing address, physical address and email address. All of your drones are covered for a period of three years. Owners receive a registration number that must be clearly displayed on the drone before it can be legally operated.

Safety Concerns

As drones increased in popularity, questions about safety and accountability began to emerge. The FAA says that the intent of the registration program is to be able to quickly connect drones with their owners, especially when there is a problem or airspace rules have been violated. Owners can then be contacted regarding proper and safe use.

Rules to fly in North Carolina

To fly a drone for work, business or other commercial purposes, you must comply with the FAA's Part 107 Small UAS Rule (Part 107), which includes a requirement to pass the FAA's Aeronautical Knowledge Test in order to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate.

If you want to fly a drone as a government employee, such as for police, fire or rescue purposes, you must comply with the FAA's Part 107 Small UAS Rule (Part 107), which includes a requirement to pass the FAA's Aeronautical Knowledge Test in order to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate or obtain a federal Certificate of Authorization.

When flying a drone for fun, you must register your drone with the FAA and follow the FAA's Special Rule for Model Aircraft.

Near Misses Are a Concern

All drones, even small ones, can cause significant damage to an aircraft. In fact, the damage can be much more severe than a bird strike of similar size and weight. This is due to the fact that drones have much more rigid material in their construction, which allow them to penetrate much further into an aircraft and withstanding moving parts, such as those inside engines.

There has not yet been a crash of an aircraft resulting in significant loss of life, but there have been crashes with injuries attributed to drones. With the increasing number of drones in the sky, aircraft are placed at increased risk. So making sure drone operators are flying by the rules is very important.

Basic Rules for Flying a Drone

Some basic rules for flying drones include:

  • Fly below an altitude of 400 feet at all times.
  • Keep the drone in your direct line of sight.
  • Know what the FAA's airspace requirements are.
  • Do not fly a drone in or close to fireworks.
  • Don't fly close to stadiums, public events, or directly over people.
  • Don't fly close to aircraft or near airports.
  • Don't fly close to emergency response efforts.
  • Don't fly for compensation.
  • Don't fly at night.
  • Don't fly any drones weighing more than 55 pounds.
  • Don't fly drones near prisons.
  • Don't attach a weapon to a drone.
  • Don't launch or land on private property without permission of the property owner.
  • Don't use a drone to disrupt wildlife or for hunting purposes.

For more specific information about what you are and are not allowed to do, you can either visit the FAA's drone webpage or download the free B4UFLY app for mobile devices, which is available in both the Apple and Google Play stores.