Drones are defined as remotely piloted aircraft systems and are also known as unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilots of unmanned aircrafts have the same responsibility to fly safely as manned aircraft pilots. In addition to FAA regulations, state and municipalities may have their own laws regarding drone use. Before you take flight, first check local, state and federal laws.
Hobbyists have been flying model aircraft for decades. However, advances in technology allow drones to hover quietly and fly far from their pilot. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, by 2020 there will be 30,000 small unmanned drones used for business purposes. This does not include ones used by hobbyists.
With some drones weighing up to 55 pounds, a fall from the sky can cause significant damage to property or bystanders. The FAA has issued these guidelines for drone hobbyists:
- Don’t fly higher than 400 feet and stay clear of surrounding obstacles.
- Keep the aircraft in sight at all times.
- Stay away from manned aircraft operations.
- Don’t fly within five miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying.
- Avoid flying near people or stadiums.
- Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 pounds.
- Use caution when flying your unmanned aircraft.
Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners, “A Birds Eye View of Drone Insurance” http://www.naic.org website. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_drone_insurance.htm
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