Learn the Rules Before Flying Your New Drone

Christmas is almost here and many residents, both young and old, will be getting Unmanned Aircraft Systems—you know them better as Drones— as Christmas presents.

It didn’t authorities long to figure out that the popular devices could be a big problem for larger aircraft, and even for neighbors.

The Hamilton county sheriff’s department wants to make sure you know the rules.

DET. MARTY DUNN, HCSO  “If that aircraft is over a half a pound, it must be registered with the FAA. That’s a very simple procedure …you can get onto FFA.gov and register your drone..it’s very simple.”

So, for many of us it’s not as simple as going out in the yard and launching the drone. And by the way, the drones sold in our local stores and online can vary from small to large and range from simple toys to professional models. They come complete with camera systems and a payload capacity.

But if you get one of those over half a pound in weight, remember you can be subject to civil and criminal penalties if you don’t obey the rules.

DET. MARTY DUNN  “Some of the most important safety rules that I can tell any individual, especially new to flying and for those who may have had them for awhile, and just unaware of the current law –number one, maintain no higher than 400 foot of elevation..that’s above ground level from where you’re standing.(bump) in:00:29:24 “as little as 500 foot …you can have manned aircraft and you never want to have those in the same airspace.”

Detective Dunn says it could easily be a life force helicopter at that 500 foot level.

And there’s another important consideration when you operate that drone—are you becoming a neighborhood nuisance?

DET. DUNN  “If you have an unmanned aircraft. or a drone, and you would not want someone flying it over your house or looking in your windows, then by no means don’t be flying it around someone else’s house. Maintain visual sight at all times with your aircraft. That’s a must, that’s an FAA requirement.”

Also, keep the drone away from crowds and sporting events.

And make sure the battery is fully charged.

DET. DUNN  “If that aircraft loses power or something bad happens to it, it is an electronic device, it can have issues–it would come crashing down at a catastrophic rate.”

So, have fun with your drone—but, keep the safety rules in mind.

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.

The HCSO Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Unit


Categories: Chattanooga, Entertainment, Hamilton County, Local News

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