We all know by now that the FAA activated ‘drone law’ in December, 2015. The scary news is that many of the quadcopter users are not aware of the drone law/quadcopter law even now! We have seen lots of ‘weird talks’ out there on the web which make things even worse.
So that was it! We decided to take things at our hands as we write here the best drone law guide that you will ever find!
Mostly, we will cover the US drone laws here in this article but at the end, we will have another section for the UK drone laws. If you are from UK, scroll down and check that section out.
Well, enough chit chats for now. Let’s start the actual article.
Drone Law Explained
So, after you have bought your first drone, what is that one task you need to do? Well, it is not charging the battery (though you should do that too) but do the registration for your drone.
Remember, no matter you have one drone or a hundred, you need to register only once (one registration per drone user). The registration system was not there till November, 2015 but as the crushes and violations were increasing (According to FAA), they had to implement this. We have a detailed post on how to register your drone so let’s not focus much on that.
So what if you are found flying a drone unregistered? Well, the penalty is pretty heavy. The civil penalty can go up to $27,500. Registration takes $5 bucks so it would be better not to take any chances.
There is a thing here. If your quadcopter is less than .5 pounds in terms of weight then you won’t have to do the registration. You can find the details here at FAA. Though there is hardly any proper drone or quadcopter that comes in that weight range.
If you are flying a quadcopter that weights more than 55 pounds then you will have to fill up a different form which is a much detailed one. This cannot be done online and you will have to visit FAA.
So when you are done with the registration, you will receive a number (like your car registration) and you have to make sure that the number is attached to all of your drones. This registration is valid for three years from the day of registration.
By the way, do not get confused when you visit FAA and see titles like Unmanned Aircraft System. We are talking about the same thing.
Now, once you are done with the registration, there are some rules and regulations that you need to follow. These rules will make sure that you are not getting any civil penalty. Let’s have a look at the things that you need to be careful about:
- The top height you are allowed to reach is 400 feet.
- The quadcopter will always have to be within your visual sight
- If there is a manned aircraft around, make sure that you do not go near it
- You can only fly within 5 miles of an airport if you take permission from airport authority
- You cannot fly near people or near to any stadium or public places
Apart from these, there are places which have banned drone entrances. You have to make sure that you are not flying your quad on any illegal zones such as Area 51, National Parks and so on.
Now interestingly, we have seen some cases where drones were shot off from sky as people said that “these are taking our images without permission”.
Police did not do anything in most of those cases. Nobody wants their drones to be a shooting target and therefore, it will be wise if you do not go near to personal properties. Also, if you are taking pictures from the sky, it will be better if you can ask permission first.
So that is basically all about it for the people living in United States. Now, let’s have a look at the UK scenario.
Drone Law in UK
The basic is almost similar in the case of UK too. You have to register your drone if you want to fly no matter whether it is a personal hobby or a professional business. The details can be found here at this Telegraph article. Make sure that you check this out.
Apart from the registration, there are some basic rules that you need to maintain:
- The drone has to be below 20 kg
- You always have to be at least 150 meters away from a congested area
- You have to fly at least at a 50 meters distance from unknown people
- You cannot go above 400 feet or horizontally more than 500 feet (the drone has to be within eye sight limit)
- If you are running a drone based business, you will need permission from CAA
So that’s basically it. If you can make sure that you are aware of all of these scenarios, you will be fine. Hopefully, we were able to help you with all the information. If you have any questions in mind, do not hesitate to ask.