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With Drones on the Rise This Christmas, FAA Launches Video

With small drones being one of this year's popular Christmas gifts, the FAA has launched a new safety campaign advising drone pilots how to safely operate the aircraft.

The campaign includes a new website and a video, both titled "Know Before You Fly," and follows a number of incidents involving injuries and other problems caused by drones. Earlier this month, a photographer was injured during a promotional stunt by a New York restaurant in which drones carrying mistletoe hovered over diners. The use of drones has also been temporarily banned in National Parks after the aircraft began disturbing wildlife and endangering park visitors.

What does the FAA think recreational drone pilots should know before they fly?

Video Details 'Rules of the Air'

In the short video featured on the Know Before You Fly website, the FAA details a number of guidelines for drone pilots:

Among the "Rules of the Air" suggested by the FAA:

  • Fly below 400 feet,
  • Don't fly beyond your line of sight,
  • Don't fly near airports on any manned aircraft,
  • Don't fly near people or stadiums,
  • Don't fly a drone weighing more than 55 pounds, and
  • Don't fly for payment or commercial purposes unless authorized by the FAA.

Other Recommendations for Recreational Users

Other tips included on the Know Before You Fly website to help new drone operators avoid legal trouble include not conducting surveillance or capturing video without permission in areas where there may be an expectation of privacy, and remaining at least 25 feet away from individuals and vulnerable property.

Although drones may now be sold in toy stores, failure to operate a drone safely may lead to legal liability for injuries or damages caused to property. Flying a drone in prohibited airspace, such as above major sporting events, may also result in criminal charges.

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