The FAA estimates that the number of drones sold in 2020 will reach over 7 million. Everybody wants a drone because they are, well, epic. But unfortunately drones are selling faster than the knowledge to fly them safely and legally. So before you or your buddy gets carried away with flying your drone, do yourself a favor and get educated first.
The FAA divides drone users into two categories: recreational and commercial. Recreational users are those who fly drones as a hobby “outside one’s regular occupation, especially for relaxation”. To legally fly a drone for recreation you must first register the drone with the FAA and display the registration number on the drone, must be 13 years of age, and a US citizen. In addition you are required to follow all local safety and privacy laws. Laws such as those for flying above people, over private property and in National or State Parks, or near an airport. Law enforcement has been granted authority to enforce drone safety regulations.
Commercial flying of drones includes any flights that are for “work or business”, even if no money changes hands. All commercial flights must be done by a FAA certified Remote Pilot (FAA Part 107 or 333). This includes flying over your own personal business in order to make a video for your website. Or flying properties for a real estate broker you are related to. Certification for remote pilots became available in August 2016. Commercial UAV pilots are required to take a test every two years, and must adhere to all Local and Federal safety rules.
So if you have been dreaming of the amazing things you can do with a drone, first ask yourself if it is connected to work or business in any way. If the answer is yes, then hire a pilot.
If you fly a drone you should at least read the summary of the FAA regulations (Part 107).