HCSO Unmanned Aircraft System Unit Recommends Safety Tips For Holiday Drone Usage

Monday, December 19, 2016
The HCSO Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Unit recognizes the Christmas season is upon us and many residents, both young and old, will receive Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) as Christmas presents. The drones sold in local stores and online can vary from small to large and range from simple toys to professional models, complete with camera systems and a payload capacity.
 
Therefore, knowing that many people will be excited to fly their new present, the HCSO encourages the public to learn about safe and legal drone operation.
Drone usage is governed by both state and federal laws.
 
All operational drones must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This process can be easily completed by visiting the FAA’s UAS website at https://registermyuas.faa.gov/. Any aircraft weighing between 0.55 lbs (250 grams) and up to 55.0 lbs (25 kg) must be registered. Drone operators who operate unregistered drones can be subject to civil and criminal penalties.
 
Secondly, know where you can legally fly. The FAA has determined that certain airspaces are prohibited for drone operations, especially those in close proximity to airports, helipads, and military/government agencies. There are also several airspace restrictions which apply to the operation of drones such as stadiums, sporting events, NASCAR races, wildfires, and areas with temporary flight restrictions. The FAA has created an app, B4UFLY that can easily be downloaded to your smart phone or tablet that will tell you, using your device’s GPS locator, what type of airspace you are in. For more information on the app B4UFLY please visit https://www.faa.gov/uas/where_to_fly/b4ufly/media/UAS_B4UFLY_QandA.pdf.
For more information on airspace restrictions, please visit https://www.faa.gov/uas/where_to_fly/airspace_restrictions/
 
Thirdly, make sure to read and understand all instructions pertaining to your drone. Never fly your drone without conducting a basic preflight check and always make sure your drone’s battery system is fully charged.
 
Parents and guardians should monitor their children’s activities when using drones. Many basic drones purchased in stores can fly to heights of 300 to 400 feet or more and can, in some cases, cause problems and dangers for manned aircraft and medi-vac helicopters. Drones should never be flown over private property, businesses, schools, or crowds of people. Even light weight drones can cause injury if falling from considerable heights.
 
The HCSO UAS Unit would like to ask all new drone operators to please view the FAA’s new video on Drone safety at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0dogXd89fs&feature=youtu.be.
 
Drones can be very entertaining and fun to operate if done so in a safe and legal manner.
The HCSO wishes soon-to-be drone operators a Merry Christmas and happy (safe) flying!
 
Additional information can be found at this website: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/national/the-faas-safety-tips-for-flying-drones/2014/12/22/571b2ad8-89f2-11e4-ace9-47de1af4c3eb_video.html

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