Owning drones for recreational or leisure purposes is certainly exciting. You can use it for aerial photography, capturing dazzling images whether you are a professional or an amateur photography enthusiast.
You can relish in the wonder of technology as there exist high-altitude drones. Most drone owners would normally look for primary UAV camera features like the range, speed, camera quality, endurance, and altitude.
If you belong in a circle of professional drone photographers or seasoned UAV owners who have been using the device for quite a long time, you may have heard of these special technologies.
The Traxxas Aton can fly up to over 400 feet. If you think there could be a height greater than this, there sure is! Have a look at the Blade Chroma. It can ascend to up to more than 1,000 feet.
Powerful professional drones like the DJI Inspire 2 with high altitude properties can ascend to 16,500 feet above sea level.
Finally, the DJI Phantom 4 speaks of one of the world’s highest flight of a drone, reaching to approximately 20,000 feet above sea level.
This is quite ambitious, considering the highest altitude rates the DJI Phantom as a commercial drone can ascend.
As you can see, drones are fascinating and quite awesome to have, considering the enjoyment and wonder that they provide their owners.
Being a drone hobbyist, you may wonder about the areas that would be affected when you fly your drone. You may ask “Can I fly a drone in my neighborhood?”
What would happen if my drone lands into my neighbor’s lawn? Would I be held accountable if they complain?
These are common queries which you need to learn the answers to. As a UAV owner, you should keep in mind that it also pays to be a law-abiding citizen while at the same time enjoying drone-flying.
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has set some rules and regulations for drone hobbyists to abide by.
Following these laws will make your drone-flying experience a worthwhile one, free from hassle and other types of trouble which I know you also do not want to get yourself into.
FAA’s Standard Rules for UAV Owners or Drone Hobbyists
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It is understood that you are using your drone for hobby or recreation. Using the dictionary’s definition for these words, the FAA notes that you are flying your drone:
1) For hobby or “pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation”; and
2) For recreation, or “refreshment of strength and spirits after work; a means of refreshment or diversion.”
The US Department of Transportation’s arm is the FAA, and it released “Advisory Circular” on June 21, 2016.
The subject of the memorandum is “Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). The FAA is said to have made some alterations to its regulations.
These relate to particular rules for the operation of sUAS or drones in the National Airspace System (NAS) by a final rule.
The question, “Can I fly a drone in my neighborhood?” is basically answered by three sections of this directive: Sections 5.10, 5.11, and 5.18.
1) Section 5.10 – Operating Limitations for Small Unmanned Aircraft
Under this stipulation, as a drone owner:
- You cannot fly your drone faster than a groundspeed of 100 miles per hour or 87 knots.
- The maximum height that your drone can reach is 400 feet above ground level. However, your drone can go beyond this level if it is flying within a 400-foot radius of a structure.
In addition, your UAV can do so provided that it does not ascend higher than 400 feet on top of the immediate uppermost limit of the said structure.
- The minimum visibility of your drone may not be below three statute miles, as observed from the area of the control station (CS).
- Your drone’s minimum distance from clouds should not be less than 500 feet below them. From the cloud, it should not traverse below 2,000 feet horizontally as well.
2) Section 5.11 – Prohibited Operation over Persons
As a drone owner and when using your drone for photography, among the guidelines is for you to understand the location you are photographing.
- You cannot fly your model aircraft over a human being who is not in a safe place. This protective cover may be a safe structure or a stationary vehicle.
- You should choose an operational location that is visibly uninhabited or unpopulated.
It may be sparsely populated, but the most recommended action is to choose a place that has no people on it.
- If your drone may fly over a place where people live, you should have a plan of action that guarantees these individuals’ safety.
Ensure that you are taking reasonable precautions to protect people who are not directly participating in your drone-flying activity.
These people could be the property owners, homeowners, or landowners. You should make sure that they are indoors, clear of the operating location, and under safe cover until your drone has passed.
When we speak of safe cover, this could be a stationary vehicle or a structure that would ensure that the people below will not be harmed should your drone crash into that vehicle or the structure.
Make sure that you are not overstepping in the boundaries of private property. If there is a chance that you may do so, you should first contact the land or property owners.
Inform them about your purpose which is to gather some photos or to fly your UAV which may affect the area which they own.
As a law-abiding and decent private citizen engaging in your personal hobby, you should be considerate of the people’s rights to peace and privacy.
Apparently, this stipulation basically answers our important question for the day, “Can I fly a drone in my neighborhood?”
3) Section 5.18 – Careless or Reckless Operation
According to the FAA Advisory Circular, the term Remote Pilot in Command (Remote PIC or Remote Pilot) refers to the drone owner. He or she is a person who holds a remote pilot certificate.
This certification has a sUAS rating. As a Remote PIC, you are authorized and are responsible for the operation and safety of using a drone.
As such, you are strictly not allowed from engaging in a “careless or reckless operation.”
These scenarios may include yourself not considering the weather conditions when flying your drone, causing damage to property or persons.
If this happens, Remote PICs would be subject to applicable penalties under the FAA’s laws.
III. So, Can I Fly My Drone over Private Property?
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Apparently, as a drone owner, you may possess great freedom to enjoy flying the device. Yet, with this great freedom comes great responsibility as well.
You are accountable for identifying hazardous situations which may affect people on the ground.
Therefore, you are responsible for taking the proper actions in order to maintain the security and safety of the people which may be adversely affected by your activities.
Can I fly a drone in my neighborhood? The answer is a big YES. You are certainly allowed to fly your drone over private property, provided that no person will get harmed.
Hence, remember these five facts:
Fact # 1: The maximum groundspeed that your drone can fly is 100 miles per hour. The maximum height it can reach is 400 feet.
Fact # 2: When flying your UAV, you should select a place where there are no people who would be adversely affected by your drone-flying activity.
Fact # 3: If there are people in your chosen location, you should make sure that they are located in a safe place or within a vehicle while your drone is passing through and after it has passed.
Fact # 4: You should take safety precautions like having a plan of action that guarantees the safety of the people.
You should inform these individuals who may be property owners, homeowners, or landowners that you will be flying your drone.
Tell them that it may affect them and the land that they own. Moreover, you should negotiate with them how you can carry out your activity without causing disturbance to them. Reach a middle ground.
Fact # 5: Observe the Golden Rule which teaches the value of respect and giving consideration to other people’s welfare to be treated in the same manner.
Remember to be considerate of other people’s human rights to peace and safety as they would do to you.
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Please do express what you think of it and do not forget to share it to help enlighten the world. Happy drone-flying!
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