Drones are exploding in popularity in St. Louis, and so are the news stories about someone flying too close to a commercial aircraft or shooting down a drone. While the aerial cameras are fun to fly and help photographers get some incredible pictures, they can also be a nuisance. These are real incidents, but with these five dos and don’ts of drone operation, you don’t have to experience one.
Do: Know your drone and your capabilities. Practice your maneuvering skills, including safe landings, in an open field or empty parking lot. You could even join a local club to learn how to fly. Once you do, be sure to stay away from people, wildlife, public events and, yes, your neighbor’s pool party.
Don’t: Forget to register your drone. In the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), your drone isn’t a toy. It’s an Unmanned Aircraft System, one you need to register with the agency.
Don’t: Fly above 400 feet or within 5 miles of an airport. If you do, you’ll violate FAA guidelines. Though flying near an airport may be possible after first obtaining clearance from the facility and control tower.
Do: Get authorization for commercial use. If you use a drone for commercial purposes, such as taking photos for your real-estate business, you must get FAA authorization first. Just using a drone for personal recreation? No authorization required.
Do: Understand the risks. Drones can weigh up to 55 pounds, so there’s the potential for them to cause some serious damage, damage for which you might be liable. However, not all homeowners insurance policies provide liability coverage for hobby or model aircraft. Give us a call to find out what kind of coverage you might have.
Hey, we get it. Drones are affordable, fun to fly, and have a number of interesting uses, such as aerial photography. Just remember to be smart and safe while yours is in the sky. And, if you’re being impacted by someone else’s drone use, it’s best to talk it through. Because we here at O’Connor Insurance don’t want to see you on the local news!