17:59 PM

Five things you should know about drone safety

Flying a drone is something like flying a power-saw with a camera, or so TPA’s Operations Manager Nevada Smith says.

While drones can be fun and take amazing photos, they are most certainly not toys and there is a lot to understand and respect about these devices. While a drone may only fly up to 400 feet above the ground, it can easily fly several thousands of feet above the ground, which is why it is crucial that drones do not get anywhere near a manned aircraft. Just like cars or boats, drones have amazing capabilities, yet those capabilities can cause significant injuries and damage if not handled appropriately.

During Drone Safety Awareness Week which runs from Sept. 13-19, TPA shares crucial guidelines drone-owners must be aware of before and while operating their device.

Here are five things you should know about drone safety:

1. Thoroughly read and understand your drone’s manual. Most drones have an amazing range of capabilities and they are complex machines. Be prepared to dig into the manual and understand what your drone can and cannot do.

2. Understand airspace. Where you can and cannot fly is very important. The airspace next to a large airport like Tampa International is very different than the airspace 10 miles south of Plant City Airport. Pilots can use the B4UFlyapp to help with this learning process. It is a tool I use every time I fly in a new area. Pilots should also be familiar with LAANC – Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability. This is an easy way for recreational pilots to get authorization to fly in certain parts of controlled airspace.

3. Always fly within 400 feet of the ground or a structure. Above 400 feet is for manned aircraft and below 400 feet is for drones. Always remain well clear of manned aircraft.


4. Take the TRUST test. The TRUST Test is an aeronautical knowledge and safety test required of all recreational drone pilots. For more info on the test, go here.

5. Register and mark you drone. Just like a manned aircraft, drones must be registered with the FAA and the registration number must be on the drone.

Flying a drone can be a fun, unique experience, but these machines are powerful and can be dangerous if not handled correctly. Be sure to follow any FAA rules and regulations and know your drone zone before you fly.