Well-intentioned, civilian drones often hinder search efforts during and after an emergency. This was perfectly illustrated in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Many civilians wanted to fly their drones over flooded areas to look for stranded people and send help. However, novice drone pilots are a danger to manned aircraft rescuing people from rooftops and searching for survivors.
The FAA authorized 43 specific drone operators for recovery efforts and prohibited all other private drones from flying within 100 miles of Houston or 30 miles of Rosenberg. Civilian drone pilots that do not adhere to these flight restrictions will face fines from the FAA. In California and Arizona, firefighting aircraft have been hindered and forced to land to avoid crashes with drones flying thousands of feet in the air. In this case, civilian drone pilots put the aircraft crew and any civilians trapped by the fire in greater danger despite their best intentions.
ARE YOU USING A DRONE FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
All commercial drone pilots must possess a Remote Pilot in Command Certificate which can be obtained by passing the FAA Remote Pilot in Command Exam.
Step 1: Pay the $5 fee and register any aircraft that weighs more than 0.55lbs.
Step 2: Pass the $150 Small UAS Remote Pilot Exam – exam prep is available here.
Step 3: Pass a TSA background check
Step 4: File FAA Form 8710-13
Check out our Complete Guide to Commercial Drone Use for more information.