Drone Rules: What you don't know CAN hurt you!

March 9, 2016

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Did you know that in New York City you can be charged with Reckless Endangerment, a Class D felony carrying a sentence of up to 7 years in prison, just for a drone crash?

Or that a growing number of lawmakers are considering a requirement that you carry liability insurance on your drone?

These issues, and many more of serious concern to the drone industry, were among the highlights of Alan Perlman's presentation "What are the rules and how do you follow them?", which aired February 17 during Drones Flying Free 2016, a virtual symposium organized by Directions Magazine and The National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence.

As the founder and CEO of UAV Coach, Perlman offered a down-to-earth perspective, directly from the trenches, as he covered everything an sUAS pilot needs to know before operating a drone —from how to obtain 333 exemptions in the U.S. to providing a step-by-step pre-flight inspection of the drone that could save you hours of frustration. His cold weather flight tips alone were well worth the hour's investment to attend!

Speaking to the regulations in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia, Perlman repeatedly stressed the importance of learning not only the federal regulations, but local law, before taking flight. Forty states in the U.S. had or were considering 168 laws related to drones at the time of his presentation; do you know which laws effect you?

The FAA has said new regulations are forthcoming this June. Perlman hinted that among these may be a reversal of the current requirement that all commercial sUAS pilots have a standard commercial pilot's license — a move that will open the floodgates of opportunity for small drone operations throughout the U.S. — but he also warned that other training and certifications may be required. UAV Coach currently offers a Boot Camp course for new drone pilots, as well as 333 exemption assistance, so I expect Perlman and his team to stay on the cutting edge of regulatory changes; I'm bookmarking his site for upcoming offerings.

If you missed even a minute of Perlman's presentation, I recommend you watch the recording, which is available for on demand viewing here, to learn the current rules governing drone use. Make sure to scroll to the bottom of the page, where you'll find links to his free resources, which include:

  • a PDF of his slide presentation,
  • his pre-flight checklist,
  • a copy of an approved U.S. exemption letter and requirement list,
  • content guides which include "How to Fly a Quadcopter," "Drone Insurance Guide" and the "333 Exemption Guide for U.S. sUAS Pilots,"
  • and links to several apps that Perlman mentions in the presentation.

Stay tuned for more highlights of Drones Flying Free 2016, a partnership between Directions Magazine and the GeoTechCenter, in the coming weeks. Until then, fly safely!


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