You just bought a drone…now what?

So you just purchased, or received (you lucky bastard) your very first drone…

What do you do now? You keep hearing talk about registration and certifications and the FAA cracking down on unsolicited flights and blah, blah, blah….

It seems like the negative news surrounding sUAS operation these days is worse then the Brooklyn Nets run at an NBA Championship. (That joke will no longer be relevant in 6 months)

We understand there can be a lot to take in, which is why were here to help guide you along to get you up and flying!

First things first, as of post, you DO NOT need to be certified to operate your aircraft for recreational purposes, so long as you are following the general guidelines put in place by the FAA. One major guideline is the 5 mile rule. Without getting too deep into this topic, you aren’t allowed to operate your aircraft within 5 miles of a major airport due to restrictions set in place regarding surface area flights. Of course there are extensions and other areas such as military training zones and temporary public events. We will be covering this topic in a later post, for now we recommend the app Hover or B4UFly. Both do a solid job at locating you and showing you an aerial map of restricted areas and will let you see if you fall under those zones.

The FAA requires any pilot operating a sUAS for monetary (commercial) purposes to obtain a Part 107 Certification. This certification must be taken in person at an approved testing center, costs $150 and can be difficult to someone without any prior aviation knowledge or experience. The idea behind this is to show a thorough understanding of the laws and safe flying practices needed to operate in a professional manner. While some of the questions can be tricky, if you study and demonstrate safe, responsible flying practices you shouldn’t have a problem passing the exam.

If you would like to gain a thorough understanding of the material covered and want to study for the exam we recommend visiting Jason Schappert is a long time pilot and flight instructor who personally took the exam and developed a training course around the test and his years of experience. He lays the material out in a clear and conscience manner and even highlights some of the areas where the FAA tries to “trick” you. He is very active with his community and updates the course regularly based on real world reviews and feedback from his students. We make all of our employees/pilots revisit the course upon first hire, even if they’ve been certified prior. If you decide to sign up be sure to let them know RizeOptix sent you!

If you have no interest in operating your drone for commercial purposes… the least you can do before you fly is gain an understand of basic weather patterns and atmospheric conditions. There is nothing worse than watching your drone uncontrollably fly away on your first flight. Ok, we admit this did not happen to us with any of our first flights, but we can imagine how bad that feeling would be. 

Gaining an understanding of stable vs unstable air, cloud formations and what to look for, types of fog and an understanding of radio interference will help save you from the dreaded “fly away”.  Just because your user manual says your drone can fly up to 4 miles away and has a “return to home” feature doesn’t make you, or your drone invisible to mother natures wrath.

We encourage the entire community to fly with caution, demonstrate responsible practices and most importantly enjoy the thrill!

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