Drone Laws in the U.S.A.

April 25, 2021 7 min read 1 Comment

Drone Laws in the U.S.A.

Flying a drone is fun and an excellent excuse to spend some quality time outdoors. Owning a Snaptain drone can add fun to outdoor activities. However, there are drone laws set out by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to keep people, property, and drones safe. The rules aim to reduce Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) crashes.

FAA drone laws tend to change as drone technology advances. The latest changes were in 2020, and drone pilots would be familiar with the regulations. We will go over the laws you need to be aware of to fly a drone safely.

Do I Need Permission to Fly a Drone?

It depends on the location you intend to fly a drone in the United States. You do not need the authorization to fly a drone in uncontrolled airspace under 400ft or 120m. However, you will need to apply for permission from the FAA to fly a drone in controlled airspace like near an airport.

Fly a Drone FAA registration

However, before you take your Snaptain drone out to fly it, you can check the FAA website to see where you can fly a drone. The locations are updated regularly. Checking whether the areas you intend to fly your drone is approved can ensure you don't get in trouble with the authorities. If it is not approved, you can request authorization in advance.

Authorization is different from having a pilot license. Asking for consent is seeking permission to fly a drone in controlled airspace on a specific day or time. FAA retains the mandate to authorize you or deny your request. You need to apply for authorization by filling a form on the FAA website, and the necessary parties will go through the request.

Do I Have to Register my Drone in the U.S.?

Yes, but only if it weighs above 250g. Most UAVs weigh less than 25kg, and the registration process can be done online on the FAA website. All drones above the weight of 250g need to be registered, whether you are using the drone for commercial or recreational purposes. You should register your Snaptain drone before you begin flying it.

Many drone owners make the mistake of assuming that only people flying drones for commercial reasons should register a drone. The misinformation can land you in trouble during a drone crash because of breaking drone laws and drone flying rules.

People coming to the U.S. with a drone should also register it on the FAA website. Travelers with drones should fly them for recreational reasons only. Other FAA rules, regulations, and prohibitions apply to both recreational and commercial drone pilots.

  • Registration Requirements for Drones Under 25kg

It would help if you had the following for registration:

  • A credit card to pay a $5 registration fee
  • An email address
  • A physical and postal address
  • The make and model of the drone you are registering.

It is imperative to note that FAA doesn't have a contracted third partied to do drone registration. Therefore, you should use any other website that claims to help with drone registration other than the FAA website.

After registering your drone, you will receive a ten-digit registration number that you should use to mark your drone. Write the registration number with a permanent marker on your drone for easy identification. It makes it easy to prove that the drone is registered in case someone in authority asks.

  • Registration Requirements for Drones Above 25kg

Drones above 25 kg have a different registration process, and you can find the requirements on the FAA website. You have to fill in a form and attach the necessary documents before submitting them for registrations. You will have to mark the UAV after receiving a registration number.

Must You Know Rules Before Flying Your Drone In United States?

Yes. Understanding the rules and regulations for UAVs before you fly a drone prevents a drone crash. There are several rules that given flying drones in the U.S.A., and pilots should strive to follow the rules. Here are the guidelines that are set out for recreational drone pilots.

Must You Know Rules Before Flying Your Drone In United States
  • All drones above 250g should be registered under FAA and marked accordingly.
  • Drones should not fly over airports or in controlled airspace. Check the FAA-approved locations to fly a drone before you launch yours. You shouldn't fly within five miles of controlled airspace without authorization.
  • Don't fly a drone on top of public events, stadiums, or groups of people. It would help if you didn't fly a drone near another aircraft.
  • It would be best to fly a drone below 400 ft or 120m unless you have special authorization.
  • Keep drones away from emergencies like an accident site or law enforcement activities.
  • Stay away from prohibited airspace by checking the FAA website for restricted airspace. Other websites that have real-time FAA updates include B4UFLY and the Know Before You Fly website.
  • Always fly your drone within your line of sight.
  • Don't fly a drone when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Chances are higher for causing a drone crash.
  • Observe basic guidelines for flying a drone.

There are basic rules that drone pilots should follow for the safety of citizens and prevent drone crashes. You need to know and follow the rules to avoid getting in trouble with authorities when flying a United States drone.

  • Pilots should have a drone pilot license before attempting to fly one.
  • It would help if you inspected your drone before flying to ensure that it is in perfect condition.
  • You shouldn't transport flammable or harmful items using a drone.
  • A pilot should only fly one drone at a time. Attempting to fly two drones simultaneously can lead to a crash.
  • Stay below the maximum speed limit of 160 km/h at all times.
  • It is advisable to fly drones when there is daylight.
  • Don't fly a drone under the influence.

It would be best if you learned the basic and FAA guidelines to adhere to them. Follow the drone laws to avoid causing accidents. Most pilots know the rules and regulations before licensing. However, it is good to regularly check the FAA website to stay updated because the guidelines change.

Tips To Prevent a Drone Crash

Pilots of Snaptain drones should adhere to best practices to prevent drone crashes. It takes a few seconds to crash a drone because the environment can be unpredictable. Knowing the tips and tricks of avoiding a drone crash will be helpful.

  • Find a clearing that doesn't have obstacles that can block the flight path of your drone. Some obstacles like cables and power lines can be hard to spot, especially when flying long distances.
  • Check the battery level of your drone before take-off to ensure there is enough power. Bring the drone home when you notice the battery is low. If there isn't enough power to bring it home, find a safe place to land, and go collect the drone.
  • Take out your drone when the weather is favorable. Strong wind, precipitation, rains, and other harsh weather elements will increase the odds of crashing a drone.
  • Use a flight app to make other pilots near you aware of your UAV and prevent a collision. It is easy to crash into another drone, especially when you do not know there is one near you.
  • Familiarize yourself with the shape of your drone, especially the nose and tail. It is easy to crash a drone when you go wrongly because of mistaking the rear for the drone's nose.
  • Use the Return-To-Home (RTH) button wisely. Most drones are wired to find a straight flight path to the remote or home GPS coordinates. If there are any obstacles in the flight path, the drone will crash into them. Press the RTH button when the drone in a clearing.
  • Consider your control range when flying a drone. When a drone is out of range, it will go for a few seconds before cutting power and dropping to the ground. A significant drop can damage your drone.
  • Practice how to fly a drone before you start going long ranges. Start by flying a drone short distance and practice several maneuvers at a low speed until you are ready to fly far or fast.

Drone Crash Solutions

There are several actions that drone owners must take after a crash to prevent further damage to the drone or property. It is imperative to turn off the motors once the drone is down. However, please do not turn off the controller because it can activate the RTH mode.

Keep people away from the drone because you cannot control it after a crash. It would help if you took pictures of the crash site, including any property damages or injured people. Take the contact information of the injured party or owner of the property you damages. You don't need to take pictures if the crash happens in the forest or causes no harm.

Please remove the battery and store it after a crash. It would help if you didn't use the battery unless an inspection is done to confirm that it's safe to use. Collect all the pieces of the drone and store them. Contact your drone insurance provider after the crash and find a repair shop.

FAA requires you to report any drone crash that causes damages or injuries of $500 and above. You can find the procedure of making a report on the FAA website. Failure to report such accidents can lead to legal actions.

Conclusion

It is essential to keep up with drone laws in the United States and ensure that you follow them faithfully. There may be repercussions when you fly drones against the rules. The FAA warns drone owners about having the wrong attitude regarding the rules and regulations of UAVs.

Overall, fly safe and ensure you don't endanger people or property when flying your drone.


1 Response

Lou Conti
Lou Conti

April 25, 2021

I am new flyer. Where is the RTH button for the s5C drone? Is it the Headless Mode one key return button?

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