Some members have expressed interest in learning to fly their drones. I will attempt (it is complicated and getting more so every day) to answer questions and help you get started. At this point, there is not an FAA certification for drone instructors, but there are certifications from private organizations. Full disclosure: I do not hold a certification from any of the private organizations as a drone instructor; I am a FAA 107 certified drone pilot and hold FAA ATP and Flight Instructor certificates (real airplanes).
There are a number of things you have to do before you can fly your new drone. Please try to follow all FAA regulations; I'll try to help but it is up to you to know the rules
. The explosion in drone ownership and irresponsible operators has caused the FAA to crack down. Drones present a very real hazard to normal aircraft operations. Imagine sucking a 5lb drone into the intake of your turbojet engine! Would you want to be a passenger on that plane? Think about Sullenberger when he put an Airbus into the Hudson because of birds. Substitute the word drone for birds and you get the picture.
To get started:
1. Most of us are "recreational drone pilots" vs "FAA part 107 licensed drone pilots". The distinction is if you are operating recreationally or commercially.
2. Your drone must
be registered with the FAA. Go to https://faadronezone.faa.gov/#/
, to register your drone. It cost $5 and is good for 3 years; mark your calendar so you don't forget to renew. Print your registration card and label your drone properly
. No registration = No fly.
3. Make sure your drone has the latest firmware and software updates.
4. Download the following apps to your phone.
"B4UFLY" This will help you determine if you are allowed to fly in a particular location.
"Aloft" Does the same as B4UFLY but also allows you to submit a LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability) request to fly in certain areas. For example: Blackwell Island is on the edge of the COE class D airspace. We may be able to fly drones there IF we get permission and of course stay under 400'.
There is also a PC website where you can get LAANC authorizations. https://airspacelink.com/pilots/?gcl...4aAs3wEALw_wcB
5. The maximum altitude you can ever fly your drone at is 400' AGL. If I see your drone in my windscreen at 3000' we (and the FAA) are going to have a discussion!
6. At some point (the date for now is Sep 2023) the FAA is going to require all drones to have a short range transponder to transmit location, altitude, owners information etc. This information will be available to all "official" agencies. Not sure how this will affect existing drones or which ones can be updated. Bottom line: the FAA is concerned about drones (and they should be) and will come after you if you violate the regs. https://www.nextgov.com/ideas/2021/0...-years/172062/
7. There is a ton of information on-line about flying drones. Spend some time and look it over. Here are a few to get you started:
Flying drones is a lot of fun, but along with the fun comes responsibility. Don't be intimidated, just follow the rules. We will pull out the drone(s) at the rally and learn a few things.