Drones have become an increasingly popular tool for both recreational and commercial purposes. However, as the number of drones in the sky continues to grow, so too does the need for regulations to ensure the safe operation of these devices. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for overseeing the use of drones in the United States and regularly releases new rules and guidelines for recreational drone operation to help ensure the safety of all those sharing the sky.

Recreational Drone Rules 

Do you own or operate a small hobby drone? Here are the top five things you should know.

1. Most small drone operations are limited to daylight hours.

Drones weighing less than 55 pounds are restricted to use during daylight hours or civil twilight (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset) unless the aircraft carries lights visible for three miles. Drone operators who wish to participate in night flights must demonstrate specific safety measures and obtain a waiver from the FAA.

2. Drone operators must get certified every two years.

Operators have to pass an aeronautics knowledge test, as well as a background check by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), every 24 months to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate.

3. Small drones must remain lower than 400 feet in the air under most circumstances.

Recreational drones under 55 pounds are prohibited from flying higher than 400 feet above ground level (AGL) unless flown within 400 feet of a taller building, tower, or other structure.

4. Eyes must be on the aircraft at all times.

The FAA requires that drones remain within the visual line-of-sight (VLOS) of the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls or a visual observer in communication with the operator. 

5. Operators must be at least 16 years old.

Drone pilots must be at least 16 years old to qualify for a Remote Pilot Certificate.

Recreational drone regulations are subject to change at any time. For the latest rules regarding drone operation, visit the FAA website.

Have Questions About Drone Operations?

At Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey, our highly skilled Radcliff attorneys can help ensure you stay up to date with the latest FAA regulations for operating recreational drones. Have a question about drone operations? Don't hesitate to contact us.

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