Many new drone pilots don’t realize that there are certain laws that drones must abide by. They are not supposed to fly a certain height, depending on the area, and they are not permitted within certain areas such as those near airports. Pilots that don’t follow these rules risk safety to others and can be fined and even jailed, depending on how severely they break the law. Drones flying too close to airports can cause major problems with flights.
As of Monday, December 18, 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration is banning drone flights over seven major U.S. nuclear sites. This was in response to the D.O.E.’s request to make these nuclear research facilities no-flight zones. As of December 29th, this new rule will come into play and have to be followed.
Once this new rule goes into effect at the end of December, no UAVs will be permitted to fly within 400 feet of these nuclear research facilities. Hanford Site in Franklin County Washington, Pantex Site in Panhandle Texas, Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, Idaho National Laboratory, Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken South Carolina, Y-12 National Security Site in Oak Ridge Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are on the list as no-fly zones for drones. Even though some may not be active, it is important that pilots obey the new law that is in place.
The only exceptions for drones to fly in these areas will be those that are granted by the FAA. An example of an exception would be if a drone was going to be used to complete inspection of one of the facilities. Another example would be if a drone was going to be used as surveillance for security of one of the named nuclear research facilities.
Throughout 2017, as the use of drones continued to increase, the FAA set forth various bans on flights in specific areas. Drone flights aren’t permitted over 133 U.S. military facilities. Flights over places such as the Pentagon and other military bases are strictly prohibited and will result in the drones being shot down as a safety precaution. For safety purposes, drone flights over many landmarks are also illegal. Pilots may not fly drones over 10 U.S. landmarks, which include the Statue of Liberty in New York and Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota.
Not surprisingly, the flights of drones are banned at many landmarks that are common tourist attractions. This is to keep the public safe. Areas that have also made the list of drone no-flight zones include: the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona, Hoover Dam in Nevada, the USS Constitution in Boston, Grand Coulee Dam in Washington, and Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.
The FAA is taking the measures needed to ensure that drone pilots respect the safety of the public as well as the privacy of our military and nuclear facilities. As the U.S. begins to also take steps to ensure drones are registered and their owners/pilots are easily identifiable, laws that are in place will be more likely to be abided by. With fear of fines as well as possible jail time, drone pilots will follow flight laws as closely as drivers follow the rules of the road.
FAA Bans New Sites for Flying Drones was originally posted at https://www.dronethusiast.com/faa-bans-new-sites-flying-drones/ by
8 tips for flying a drone in cold weather
Drones whiz and whip through the air at breakneck speeds. Unfortunately, these cool machines weren’t designed for cold weather. It’s not the friendliest condition for them, but with some preparation beforehand, you can capture the beauty of rolling winter landscapes from a bird’s-eye perspective.
Before flying, read your drone’s user manual. Most quadcopters are designed to fly in a temperature range of 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Flying outside that range may put your drone at risk. But if your drone can handle the cold conditions, then read on — then get flying!
1. Beware of ice
The arch-nemesis of all helicopters and planes, ice endangers drones too. Ice accumulating on the propeller blades, alters the weight distribution, hurting the drone’s ultimate aerodynamics. Cold air over warm water causes evaporation, and this evaporative fog will refreeze on surrounding surfaces, including on the drone’s surface.
2. Know how cold affects battery life and sensors
Colder temperatures shorten the flight time of your drone by slowing the chemical reaction with the LiPo batteries and lowering the battery capacity. A fully charged drone that typically will last between 20 to 25 minutes in flight, could fly for just 10-15 minutes in colder weather. Extreme cold weather can cause an unexpected power drop, and while it’s rare, there have been cases where batteries fail completely.
Cold weather dulls the drone’s sensors which can cause the drone to drift or have less response from the control input. In addition, cold fingers or gloves make controlling the input more difficult.
3. Practice good battery health
When flying in cold weather, understanding how to make your battery go further can be to your advantage.
Keep your batteries warm. Hover after the takeoff. Maintain a full charge on your batteries. Go light on the throttle. Bring a portable charger for the mobile device.
After takeoff, hover between 10 to 12 feet for 30 to 60 seconds to bring up the battery temperature, giving the motors and batteries a chance to warm up. The ideal battery temperature for a drone is about 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Most drones provide you with a method to check the temperature of your batteries.
Related read: How to care for your LiPo batteries
Be aware of how heavy control inputs will tax the battery life of your drone. Full throttle demands a heavy battery current, which can cause a drop in voltage. In general, don’t tap the full throttle button until the first few minutes of flight have passed. In addition, lower the heavy control inputs because this extends your flight time. Finally, never drain the battery. Normal weather conditions mean you try to maximize your flight time. When it’s biting cold, however, this practice risks your drone. You will want to fly it until the battery has dropped 30 or 40 percent. After that, you will want to bring the drone back to earth. If you want more air time, pack a couple spare batteries.
4. Watch out for precipitation
Most drones cannot withstand precipitation, and the moisture can damage or short out the motor, gimbal, or camera. If rain or snow occurs while your drone is in flight, land as quickly as possible, then dry the propellers and the body.
5. It’s not just cold — it’s climate too
It’s not just about cold — but climate too. Flying in Vermont where the winters are cold but “dry” means you don’t have to worry as much as if you were in a cold and wet climate with more humidity, like Minnesota. If that’s the case, check for icing regularly and try not to fly through winter fog.
Moisture within the gimbal becomes problematic when you add ice and snow and melting. As the props start to spin and blow slush and snow, launch the drone from a sheet of plastic or from the carrying case.
Also, condensation can arise when you take your drone from the outside to the inside. To alleviate that problem, let it warm up slowly in the basement or in the trunk of the car.
6. Use hand warmers on your drone
To keep the drone’s batteries warm, consider putting hand warmers on them. NEVER put them directly against the battery as it lets off heat. Instead, wrap the batteries in a scarf or a glove and put the hand warmers around the batteries.
7. Understand altitude
In areas of increased altitude, propellers have to spin faster to keep flight, which means the battery will drain itself faster — also contributing to shorter flights.
8. Don’t forget about you!
While it’s important to keep the drone safe from the cold, don’t forget yourself too!
Buy specialized gloves for flying in the winter to keep your movements with the controls limber. Spyder gloves are consistently ranked among the best gloves designed with conductive material for handheld touch screen devices.
-By Jake Carter
8 tips for flying a drone in cold weather was originally posted at http://thedronegirl.com/2018/01/02/drone-cold-weather-tips/ by Guest Post
How fire departments are using drones to save time and money
The following piece is a guest post from Dronefly’s Alex Netto.
From burning buildings to brushfires, firefighting drones equipped with thermal cameras can see through smoke and darkness to identify where the hotspots are and where the crew is.
With a drone, a Battalion Chief can quickly make an assessment of a situation from all angles with optical and thermal cameras from which the best decision on how to proceed can be made. Drones are the future of assisting public safety officials do their job more efficiently and more cost effectively.
Drone site Dronefly has put together an infographic highlighting the top firefighting drone use cases.
Here are some of the use cases for drones in fire departments:So what do fire departments or other public safety agencies need to do to operate a drone? Here is some of the most popular gear used by fire departments:
-By Alex Netto
Alex Netto works on the marketing team for Dronefly.com located in Los Angeles, California he enjoys drone photography (instagram @bradthedrone) and running marathons. He hopes to see the fast adoption of drones into industries ranging from public safety, inspection, agriculture, surveying, and mapping.
How fire departments are using drones to save time and money was originally posted at http://thedronegirl.com/2017/12/28/fire-departments-using-drones-save-time-money/ by Sally French
Drone Laws in Colorado
Paying attention to everything the FAA has put forth since their rules and regulations were initially put into full effect is crucial for all drone fliers. Are you aware of the laws and regulations related to drones in your state, as well?
Flying Over Colorado
Unfortunately, it would seem that the only areas drone users in Colorado are able to fly legally are up in the mountains and smaller areas. A lot of areas are unclear as to whether or not drones are allowed.
Thankfully for drone enthusiasts living in Colorado, it’s legal to fly your drone in the Colorado Rockies, specifically in the highest point. Mount Evans is a whopping 14,240 feet in the air and one of the best places in the entire state to get some footage.
White River National Forest’s own Hanging Lake area is legal, apparently, as well! It’s a beautiful mountain lake that offers crystal clear waters flowing from the incredible waterfalls. Perfect for quick shots!
The Registering Process in Colorado
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) owners follow strict regulations and laws. You will need to file your name, home address and your email address as a start.
From there, you will receive a Certificate of Aircraft Registration and Proof of Ownership. These will include an identification number for your aircraft. You must have this number displayed on your drone at all times. The number will be valid for up to 3 years.
All aircraft that weighs more than 0.55 pounds, or 250 grams, and less than 55 pounds, or 25 kilograms, must be registered. This also includes any added payloads, such as an onboard camera.
You must be at least 13-years-old in order to register and, effective December 21st, 2015, all newly purchased or made drones must be registered before their first flight. You are able to register through a paper-based process, but you can also do so online by clicking here.
Proximity to Airports in Colorado
As a general rule of thumb, and in accordance with the law from the FAA, you may not fly within a 5-mile radius of any airport. In 2012 the FAA enacted the Modernization and Reauthorization Act which requires hobbyist drone operators, meaning residential, to contact air traffic control and/or airport management if they are operating within a 5-mile radius of any local airport.
This is enacted nationwide, not only in Colorado, under Part 101 of the Act, being Special Rule for Model Aircraft, to ensure that drone operations under unsafe conditions are disapproved before the drone can be launched.
Regardless of the local airport you will be flying near, and possibly breaching airspace, you will need to contact either the airport air traffic control tower or the airport operator.
You will need to establish an agreed-upon operating procedure with airport air traffic or the airport operator and answer a couple of questions. For example, questions relating to how long you are going to be flying for.
Unique Drone Laws in Colorado
At this time of writing, all of the legal information listed below is deemed as accurate as possible and fully in effect.
Code of Colorado Regulations 406-0 #004 – AIDS IN TAKING WILDLIFE
C. It shall be unlawful to use a drone to look for, scout, or detect wildlife as an aid in the hunting or taking of wildlife.
For the purposes of this regulation, drone shall be defined as including, without limitation, any contrivance invented, used or designed for navigation of, or flight in the air that is unmanned or guided remotely. A drone may also be referred to as “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle” (UAV) or “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System” (UAVS).
Municipal Law – Town of Telluride
During a recent council meeting, the Town of Telluride adopted multiple regulations regarding drone use. As of April 18th, 2017, the proposed ordinance has been put into place as a law.
Any drone users looking to fly must first have approval from owners of private property where the flight will take place or from the town itself. Endangering both people and wildlife and operating a drone in a reckless manner is strictly prohibited. They must also keep their distance from any wildlife or people who are not involved in the flight operation directly.
Drone users must also ensure that they are not under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, or any controlled substance in general. They must also not have any preexisting physical or mental conditions that may interfere with flying safely.
Municipal Law – Cherry Hills Village
Cherry Hills Village has enacted a law that requires all drone users to follow guidelines and regulations set in place by the FAA and by registered with the FAA.
Drones are prohibited from flying over public buildings, trails, public parks, public streets, and any area that is deemed to be city property.
Drone Ban in Local Ski Resorts
There are a number of ski resorts located across Colorado that have placed a ban on drone use, which you can inquire further on by clicking here.
Other Legal Issues With Drones in Colorado
At this time of writing, there are currently a number of bills in circulation within the state of Colorado surrounding drones.
Municipal Regulations – Town of Breckenridge
The proposed ordinance would allow local authorities to enforce FAA regulations and address interference with firefighters and local law enforcement, voyeurism and reckless operation. It also includes having a deadly weapon or firearm equipped on the drone, interfering with any government emergency operations whatsoever, and using a drone for surveillance that has not been permitted by law.
Drone users will be unable to takeoff, land, or operate in general on any property owned by the town. Prohibited by law, if approved, annoying or harassing wildlife, in general, will also be included.
Further, it would also ban drone flight over restricted areas, such as the Carter Park Dog Park, Cucumber Gulch Preserve, the local golf course and the Nordic center if golfers and/or skiers are present.
HB 15-555 Trespassing & Harassment
A BILL FOR AN ACT
CONCERNING PRIVACY IN REGARD TO EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced and does not reflect any amendments that may be subsequently adopted. If this bill passes third reading in the house of introduction, a bill summary that applies to the reengrossed version of this bill will be available at http://www.leg.state.co.us/billsummaries.)
A person commits the crime of first degree criminal trespass if he or she is not a peace officer or other agent of a state or local government agency acting in his or her official capacity and he or she knowingly and intentionally uses an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to observe, record, transmit, or capture images of another person when the other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
A person commits harassment if he or she is not a peace officer or other agent of a state or local government agency acting in his or her official capacity and, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she uses a UAV to track a person’s movements in or about a public place without the person’s authorization.
The bill amends existing law concerning the retention of passive surveillance records by government agencies to contemplate the retention of records that are obtained through the use of UAVs.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:
SECTION 1. In Colorado Revised Statutes, add 18-7-802 as follows:
18-7-802. Criminal invasion of privacy by the use of a device – penalty.
EXCEPT AS DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (2) OF THIS SECTION, CRIMINAL INVASION OF PRIVACY BY USE OF A DEVICE OCCURS WHEN A PERSON KNOWINGLY AND INTENTIONALLY CAPTURES ANY PHOTOGRAPH, SOUND RECORDING, OR OTHER PHYSICAL IMPRESSION OR DIGITAL IMAGE OF ANOTHER PERSON, WITHOUT THAT PERSON’S CONSENT, IN A SITUATION WHERE THAT PERSON HAS A REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY, THROUGH THE USE OF ANY DEVICE REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THERE IS A TRESPASS, IF THE PHOTOGRAPH, SOUND RECORDING, OR OTHER PHYSICAL IMPRESSION OR DIGITAL IMAGE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN ACHIEVED WITHOUT A TRESPASS UNLESS THE DEVICE OR ANOTHER DEVICE WAS USED.
SUBSECTION (1) OF THIS SECTION DOES NOT APPLY TO A PEACE OFFICER OR AN EMPLOYEE OR OTHER AGENT OF A FEDERAL, STATE, OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY ACTING IN HIS OR HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY.
CRIMINAL INVASION OF PRIVACY BY USE OF A DEVICE IS A CLASS 3 MISDEMEANOR.
SECTION 2. Act subject to petition – effective date. This act takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on the day following the expiration of the ninety-day period after final adjournment of the general assembly (August 5, 2015, if adjournment sine die is on May 6, 2015); except that, if a referendum petition is filed pursuant to section 1 (3) of article V of the state constitution against this act or an item, section, or part of this act within such period, then the act, item, section, or part will not take effect unless approved by the people at the general election to be held in November 2016 and, in such case, will take effect on the date of the of the official declaration of the vote thereon by the governor.
At this time of writing, this bill is still up for enforcement.
HB 16-1020 No Drones Near Airports or Jails
A person commits introducing contraband in the first degree if he or she knowingly and unlawfully operates any unmanned aircraft system (UAS) within 5 miles of a detention facility with the intent to introduce or attempt to introduce a dangerous instrument, alcohol or an alcoholic beverage, a controlled substance, or marijuana or marijuana concentrate into the detention facility.
A person shall not operate a UAS:
Within 5 miles of an airport unless the person is authorized by the airport’s air traffic control tower;
In a manner that interferes with the operation of manned aircraft;
More than 400 feet above the earth’s surface;
In a manner that is prohibited by any federal law or rule;
In violation of any temporary flight restriction (TFR) or notice to airmen (NOTAM) issued by the federal aviation administration (FAA); or
In the airspace directly above any detention facility.
A person who violates any of these prohibitions commits a class 1 misdemeanor. These prohibitions do not apply to the operation of a public UAS operated in compliance with any current and enforceable authorization granted by the FAA.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)
FAQ on Colorado Law and Drones
If you do not see your question, or an answer to it, listed below, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll gladly give you one.
Is a drone/UAS considered the same as a model aircraft?
The United States Congress has defined and concluded that a model aircraft is only considered a drone or a UAS when the following points are met:
It’s flown for recreational purposes or as a hobby and not for any business or commercial reasons
It’s flown within visible distance, meaning being able to see it at all times, of the individual operating it
It’s capable of sustaining flight within the atmosphere, meaning that it can fly
If your model aircraft, regardless of whether or not you acquired it pre-built or built it yourself, meets the above points to your knowledge, it’s considered a drone/UAS.
What is the Small UAS Rule?
The Small UAS Rule requires those who have unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, that weigh less than 55 pounds, payload included, to register their aircraft with the FAA. This only applies to recreational or hobby fliers and not commercial drone use, however.
Is the FAA’s Small UAS Rule still in effect?
Yes, it has been in effect from August 29th of 2016 and is still in effect at this time of writing.
Do I have to carry my Certificate of Aircraft Registration while flying my UAS at all times?
Yes, you must have the registration certificate from the FAA at all times during flight operation. In accordance with federal law,
Drone Laws in Colorado was originally posted at https://www.dronethusiast.com/drone-laws-colorado/ by