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FAA Small Drone Rules

November 7, 2016

Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) is the government organization in the US that imposes the rules and regulations on commercial aircrafts, like drones. Their regulations are often copied by other countries, but there is no guarantee. Please make yourself known if flying outside the US, the regulations might be totally different. In the US, the use of small unmanned aircraft systems is allowed for aerial photography, crop monitoring, inspection and research development under these new rules.

The national airspace is a restricted area and you can easily violate rules that can land you into legal trouble. To avoid such unfortunate incidences, you should make yourself acquainted with these policies before you take your new drone out for a spin.


Below listed are the 9 most important parts of the new proposed rule by FAA that would apply to every quadcopter in the market.

1. DEFINITION OF A SMALL UAS

Personal and commercial uses of aircrafts are only allowed for drones that fall under the category of small unmanned aircraft systems. A drone is small if it weighs less than 55 lbs and owning of any quadcopter more than this load is a violation of FAA law.

2. RIGHT ALTITUDE

You are authorized to fly your drone under less than 500 feet and anything above it will be considered as an intrusion in the national airspace.

3. RIGHT SPEED

The allowed flight speed is less than 100 mph. So next time you are cruising your drone in the air, make sure you don’t cross this FAA obligated speed limit.

4. NO BYSTANDER FLYING

Flying of aircrafts over bystanders is considered a felony and you can be criminally charged for it.

5. MUST BE IN VISUAL LINE-OF-SIGHT

You should always maintain a visual contact with your drone. This can be done by practically viewing it or by monitoring its position through your Smartphone screen.

6. ONLY DAYLIGHT FLIGHTS

Only daylight flights are allowed and flying of drones during the night times is considered illegal.
Airspace regulations in the US

7. NO RECKLESS FLYING

Whenever you take your new drone for a flight, a responsible operation should be conducted. If any damage is done to someone’s property because of your drone, you will be charged for it.

8. ONE UAS AT A TIME

You are allowed to operate only one drone at a time. Multiple flight sessions are illegal and should be avoided at all cost.

9. PRE-FLIGHT INSPECTION

Every time you take your drone for a flight, you should always conduct a thorough inspection. This is not only an FAA rule but will also help you avoid any crash or detect any problems before the occurrence of any incident.

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