Dear YouDig?

Drones – An Ode to Free Bird

Dear YouDig?

We are a multi-state shopping center developer. For years now, we have used drones to fly over our projects and obtain useful information quickly, cheaply and safely. We have never had an incident of any kind and want to expand the practice. Now we see the FAA nosing into the private use of drones. We have never so much as considered applying for a license. Is this for real?

-Buzzing Along By the Seat of Our Pants

Dear Buzz,

Like you, Buzz, many private users and businesses have been flying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (aka, “Drones”) free as a bird and lower than the down low (i.e. without registering). You correctly mention that drones are especially useful in real estate and construction. After some recent close calls with manned aircraft… like grandma Buzz’s flight to Florida… the FAA decided that the cutting edge drones can no longer fly the friendly skies without some good old-fashioned government red tape. You know… What if that thing hits someone?
If you want to keep your drone from being hijacked, there are just a few new rules to follow. Most important—register. Make sure the “pilot” has practiced and is credentialed. Need we mention, fly low and away from the big planes??? The rules (waivable under certain circumstances) have you covered Buzz! Highlights of the FAA Drone Operating Rules are summarized as follows:

  1. The operator must keep the Drone in sight – No long distance espionage missions. Ok Buzz?;
  2. The Drone must fly under 400 feet – Would you really want to crash your Drone? We suggest you try a little lower so you can see it;
  3. Daytime only Buzz – Friends don’t let friends fly their drone in the dark;
  4. Ode to Captain Obvious – Don’t fly Drones over people (unless you are broadcasting the Super Bowl);
  5. Fly Under 100 mph – Call your Congressman!!!! Does anyone else find this speed to be a little quick?
  6. Yield to the big, manned aircraft – Buzz, you don’t want to race United Airlines do you????

Fly right Buzz… Make sure you check with your liability carrier. You may not be covered unless you comply with all FAA regulations and the carrier’s standards.