Drones are the new toys for tech savvy fans as well as common industry tools. Fun and affordable, drones can let you do many things that you normally couldn’t do. The many different drone models available means that there are options at every price range. However, there are certain things you should know if you want to own a drone or already do.
Your Rights as an Owner
In general, in the United States, your rights as a drone owner is covered under your rights to use a drone as a hobbyist, provided that you operate your drone under the guidelines of the FAA, and your rights as a photographer to take photos in public areas, as listed by Drone U. On private property, it’ll be up to the discretion of the property owner.
However, confrontations do happen. In the event confrontations happen to you, your drone is considered your personal property. In the event it is struck down or damaged, you are entitled to be compensated for damages. As with traditional photography rights, you are not obligated to hand over your media or equipment. A great tip for drone users is to print out copies of FAA’s drone usage guidelines and public photographer’s rights and keep both in your equipment bag, so that you’ll always have both on hand.
Don’t Use it While Under Influence
A drone can cause a lot of damage to both people and property if improperly operated. Therefore, drones should not be operated when the operator is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. All states are inflexible with fines and penalties if your drone caused damages or injuries while you are under the influence. For example, according to Matthew V Portella, LLC, a bill in New Jersey assigned a penalty of six months in jail and the payment of a $1,000 fine for drunk droning.
FAA Drone Flying Guidelines
The FAA, Federal Aviation Administration, currently sets the guidelines for the airspace over the United States. This means your drone needs to operate under its guidelines for recreational drone flying. The basic guidelines are:
- Your drone must fly at or under 400 feet.
- Do not fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Do not fly near emergency efforts such as evacuations or fire rescue.
- Do not fly near other aircraft.
- Do not fly within five miles of an airport.
- Do not fly near or into groups of people.
- Do not fly near or into stadium events such as concerts or sporting events.
Since drone usage is still relatively new, many people may feel intimidated or cautious when they see a drone operator. Make sure you understand the basic etiquette of operating a drone and, if needed, explain what you are filming or photographing. If a confrontation occurs, understanding your rights for both drone use and public photography is the best way to protect yourself so that you can keep enjoying your new hobby.