Well, it seems everybody is taking shots at the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) phenomenon, in particular, the so-called drone.
The media has been able to capture our attention with the potential crash of an airliner by a drone. However one pilot said, “Fear of drones crashing into passenger planes is ‘much ado about nothing’ says airline pilot.” Most of these hobby drones are under 4 pounds, and many pilots have hit birds weighing up to 10 pounds with no real damage. Still the fear of the unknown exists.
There is also the next door neighbor who may threaten to shoot your drone down if it invades their privacy. Well, many have gone to jail by committing the act. Source Property Casualty 360, “Shooting down drones” is all over the news lately. A Kentucky man used “Number 8 birdshot” to shoot down a multi-rotor over his backyard. A Modesto marksman shot down a drone over his neighbor’s farm. A New Jersey Man hit the news for doing the same thing.”
All aviation regulations apply to drones. Hobbyist drone flights are permitted only under the FAA’s guidelines. Commercial drone flights are allowed only for a Section 333 Exemption or similar approval. You should know before you fly and that is the way things are until the FAA finalizes its “ small drone,” or “sUAS” rule.
To be safe, in many of the regulations the term “nationwide community-based organization” is intended to mean a membership-based association that represents the aeromodelling community (ex. Academy of Model Aeronautics, AMA) within the United States; provides its members a comprehensive set of safety guidelines that underscores safe aeromodelling operations within the National Airspace System and the protection and safety of the general public on the ground; develops and maintains mutually supportive programming with educational institutions, government entities and other aviation associations; and acts as a liaison with government agencies as an advocate for its members.
I would suggest the AMA and a local club flying field and avoid first-degree criminal mischief and first-degree wanton endangerment charges from an accident. Check out your drone in the privacy of your property and keep the altitude within reason of an airworthiness check.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released the beta version of a new smartphone application called “B4UFLY” in August 28, 2015 for testing by up to 1,000 unmanned aircraft users.
The B4UFLY app, aimed primarily at model aircraft enthusiasts, is designed to give users information about restrictions or requirements in effect at their current or planned flight location.
Key features of the B4UFLY app include:
- A clear “status” indicator that immediately informs operators about their current or planned location.
- Information on the parameters that drive the status indicator.
- A “Planner Mode” for future flights in different locations.
- Informative, interactive maps with filtering options.
- Links to other FAA UAS resources and regulatory information.
The following is a screenshot from the app and further details can be found at the FAA - B4UFLY Smartphone App site.
The FAA encourages the public to report unauthorized drone operations to local law enforcement and to help discourage dangerous and illegal activity. It will not be long before city municipalities provide their input to No Drone Zones.