Taking a new (kinder, gentler) approach towards educating the anticipated throngs of holiday drone operators, the FAA has published a kid-friendly educational guide for parents to print out and give with the holiday drone.
Emphasizing the fact that drones are aircraft, and that drone operators are pilots, the FAA announcement of the “safety checklist” takes a friendly and conversational approach:
You’re heading to the stores on Black Friday to buy that shiny new camera-equipped drone you’ve been yearning for. You can’t wait to get into the sky and let loose your inner high-flying aerial photographer, right?
Did you know you’re also going to become a pilot?
When you fly your drone anywhere in the nation’s airspace, you automatically become part of the U.S. aviation system. Under the law, your drone is an aircraft. So while the rules for drones may be different, you have the responsibility to operate safely, just as a Cessna or 747 pilot does.
The FAA has developed this safety checklist (PDF) that you, as a pilot, should use whenever you send a drone into the Wild Blue Yonder. We want you to fly safe, fly smart – and have fun.
The safety pamphlet checklist is a simple list of rules for drone operation, including:
- flying within the line of sight
- flying below 400 feet
- staying away from stadiums, airports, crowds, and emergencies
- avoiding other aircraft
- never flying while under the influence.
The “Fly Safe, Fly Smart – and Have Fun” tag line is in sharp contrast to much of the previous messaging around drone regulation that comes from the FAA, emphasizing the penalties and dangers of drones. While the tone may not have changed entirely, this aspect of the “Know Before You Fly” program would appear to recognize that recreational drones are a growing industry that will need to be integrated into the airspace.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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