The Great Drone debate.

Hi Community. After recently passing my commercial drone certificate test, I would like to settle some misconceptions about drones. Drones can be operated by everyone if they take the correct safety measures.

Beginning with recreational drones. A drone must be under the weight limit .55 pounds for recreational operation.The also cannot be flown at night. While operating these drones you must be 5 miles from an airport and must operate them below 400 feet AGL.

For a commercial drone pilot, one may operate a drone between .55 pounds and 55 pounds. It MUST not exceed 55 pounds with everything attached to it. You must have 3 position lights too operate at night. Also within 5 miles off an airport you MUST call the controlling agency and get permission to flt in there airspace. You also can get paid for operating a drone for a person or company.

As one can see, drones can be very useful and it can be fun hobby for someone who just cant afford flight training. I think with the proper training and equipment, drone pilots can be a helpful and useful tool in aviation.

Here are some of the rules and regulations for drone operation in the United States:

Share your thoughts below.


Most people fly drones without a care in the world about what rules and legislations are in place, I don’t see that coming to an end anytime soon but Congratulations.


Your right but there’s also people who fly with pilot licenses. There not perfect and won’t stop Everyone but will try and minimize the risk of bad drone pilots

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Those who take it seriously will follow the rules. Then you have trolls that will do what they want as long as they don’t get caught.

Just like TS1, Expert, IFC, etc.


That’s true. And the ones that act like trolls may or may not get caught

I wrote a 5 page essay on the dangers of drones to aviation when I was in 8th grade. You used many of the same points I did. when they’re operated legally and safely they’re awesome.


Another threat drones bring is decreased firefighting efficiency. When careless drone operators who what to get a cool shot of a wildfire fly near it, they risk collision with firefighting aircraft. Also, if spotted, they eliminate the option and advantages of air attacks on the fire. The talks of how to combat these selfish individuals aren’t bringing out any good permanent solutions, though.

i agree. Drones could help in fire operations if used by the fire department or local agency. All the recreational drones during fire season do pender aerial fie operations as aircraft cant fly. Its all about recreational owners wanting that one cool shot to show everyone


You brought up the advantages of drones in firefighting, something I forgot to include; well done! I am in agreement with what you said, in Cali we see and hear about this type of stuff all the time due to the sheer amount of fires. In the future, I would like to see some EMP tech developed to shoot down these drones that violate the airspace.

got to bring both sides of the argument. i do believe that it will always be illegal to shoot down a down a drone. wont see that changing soon

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I feel that this is one of those things where a few people ruined it for everyone. Watch enough YouTube videos and you can see the idiots I’m talking about. I am obsessed with areal photography. I was looking into getting my certification soon as well. image My flying buddy. Got the Mavic ordered and is on its way!


i agree a few people have and it makes it hard for people who respect and enjoy it hard. I would definitely look at getting your certificate. its a bit of work for a non-pilot but well worth it.

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Just a tip for everyone that wants to get into drones, start with one that’s about $100, you don’t need to register it (usually $100 drones are under the registration requirement) and they’re easier to fly in general. Just don’t start with the $30 “minidrones” that break after like 20 minutes 😂

good advice. ive got an 80 dollar one and there pretty cheap but its a good starting drone too fly.

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As a model aircraft flyer, I find some of your initial statements to be incorrect. The rule that a recreational “drone” has to be under .55 pounds is false and recreational remotely controlled aircraft can be up to 55 pounds and with excetions can be of a much greater weight but in this range they are subject to FAA section 336 regulations with is similar but requiring registration of the aircraft (registration has been fought in court). Also it is highly encouraged that a recreational users of remotely controlled aircraft join a community based organization in which they can follow their laws instead of FAA mandated laws (mostly similar but its really just common sense). “Drones” can be classes as model aircraft and flown outside of a .55 lb limit, but only if flown responsibly. And as a side not, a model aircraft/recreational drone cannot be used to make money.

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Have you checked out my link? I do suggest reading part 107 of the federal aviation regulations as well.

As taken from part 107 of the FAR and taken a course approved by the FAA at a part 141 flight school I am going to disagree. Model A/C do not fall under this part and are not consider drones. However drones are not ever consider modeled A/C and thus fall under part 107

That looks familiar… wait, that’s the drone I have! Nice bag you have for it too, I also must say the views the Phantom gets are astonishing. Backtracking to your words, I agree that recreational droning shouldn’t be painted over by dim-witted operators or, God forbid banned. But just like everything in life, you’ll always have that group of people who can ruin it for everyone. I, of course, am far less skilled and advanced as an aeral photographer as you clearly are!

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Section 336 does not specifically state any aircraft with for motors and is capable of hovering is not a model aircraft
If flown under these conditions, it can be labeled a model aircraft (plane helicopter or quadcopter)

SEC. 336. SPECIAL RULE FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT. (a) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into Federal Aviation Administration plans and policies, including this subtitle, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft, if— (1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use; (2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community- based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization; (3) the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based organization; (4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and (5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation (model aircraft operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually-agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport)). (b) STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the national airspace system. © MODEL AIRCRAFT DEFINED.—In this section, the term ‘‘model aircraft’’ means an unmanned aircraft that is—

(1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;

(2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and

(3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.

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Thanks bud. I was hauling it around in a duffle bag for a while but got to scared that the gimbal would break. Had to upgrade. Got the bag at Frys. It’s pretty cheap compared to the other ones they have but it does the job.

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