As we can see every day in the news, drones and UAV have become a new trend not only as a means of expanding the reach of photography and videography but also as a toy. We can see hundreds of great drone images as well as films and movies including drone videography that gives us a new vantage point and experience. But unfortunately, we also observe some reported incidents involving irresponsible flying of drones near high-risk areas like airports, hospitals, and armed forces facilities.
Now that’s a problem for all of us because with every news article (even if it turns out not to be a drone but a plastic bag elevated by wind) the public opinion about drones, quadcopters or UAV is going sour. People worry about their safety and privacy, and while many of these concerns are unfounded, there should be a global set of principles that every drone pilot should know by heart and practice. Whenever these principles are observed, the risk of any significant damage to life or property is absolutely minimal, and “droning” can be a hobby as safe as riding a bike – or even safer.
Summarizing these items into as few points as possible will help make them understood, and will help to carve out a secure space in society for this fantastic activity – the power of flight!
Here’s my set of rules that I always abide by when flying my quadcopter:
- Stay away from airports, airfields, helipads (such as hospital or police) and their approach/takeoff paths
- Check my surroundings before taking off, e.g., power lines, wind, trees, obstacles, risk areas – a map helps a lot!
- Never fly overhead of larger amounts of people. If possible, never fly over people at all.
- Maintain a safe distance to anything that could be bothered/endangered by your quadcopter, such as People, buildings, residential areas, traffic, government, …
- Maintain safe control and visual contact to the quadcopter. Fly with a return-to-home safety feature in case of loss of control. Set the return-to-home altitude to a safe level (higher than any obstacle around. Low enough for air traffic).
To get more information on drone laws in different countries, take a look at our international drone law directory.