The first total eclipse in 38 years will take place on August 21st, and drone operators are getting ready. While the eclipse offers a unique opportunity for some beautiful images, it’s important that the drone community fly safely and in accordance with federal and local regulations. To help all of the operators who plan on taking to the skies, drone operations experts Kittyhawk have put together a state-by-state guide of the best places to fly during the eclipse.
“A solar eclipse is a beautiful event but it comes with its own set of safety considerations. As with any drone flight, thorough planning and pre-flight is going to pay dividends in safety,” says Kittyhawk. “Remember that in addition to the hostile environment, you might be contending with people nearby, unfamiliar surroundings, and strange flight conditions. Whether you’re flying commercially or as a hobbyist, you’ll still want to follow FAA guidelines and consider things like “flying at night” even when its high noon.”
Kittyhawk also points out that operators should be careful to protect their eyes while flying. “Also, no mission is worth losing your eye sight over,” says the guide. “A solar eclipse can leave you visually impaired or blind for the rest of your life from even a brief glimpse at the sun.”
The guide offers a detailed list of the best places to view – with detailed flight conditions, potential issues and a rundown of local laws and drone regulations. With appropriate links to more information, this is a must-read resource for anyone planning to fly during the event.
“Over 90 minutes the path of totality will run through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina,” says the guide. “The total eclipse will end near Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. EST.”
“If you want to be the absolute first person to get footage of the shadow, the first land based point of contact with the path of totality (the shadow of the moon on the earth) will be at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. PST. Even the planets know that if you want to be cool before it’s cool you start in Oregon.”
Drone images of the event promise to be spectacular – but Kittyhawk reminds all operators to represent our community well. “The solar eclipse promises to be a show from the ground or the air,” says Kittyhawk. “Remember, there are going to be a lot of people trying to enjoy the eclipse that aren’t familiar with drones. An operator that is respectful is a good ambassador for our burgeoning industry.”
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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