Once you have purchased a drone, there are still a number of steps that you must take before you can actually start flying it. You will need to register your drone, obtain a license and find out where you’re allowed to fly it. Here’s a step-by-step guide to what you will need to do before you can start flying a drone.
Registering your drone
If a drone weighs more than 0.55 lbs and less than 55lbs, you will need to register your operation of your drone with the FAA before you can fly it. Registration is a relatively easy process. You will need to visit the FAA website, create an account, and then provide details of your name, address, telephone number, and email address. There is also a $5 registration fee to pay. Once you have registered, you will receive a registration number, which you will need mark somewhere on the drone. It is advisable to write the registration number on a piece of masking tape, so that you can remove it if you ever decide to sell your drone, because the registration number identifies you, not the drone.
Obtain a Part 107 license for commercial use
If you plan to fly your drone commercially, for example, charging people for aerial photographs, you will need a commercial license. To obtain a commercial license for your drone, you will need to pass a Part 107 written test. There are books and courses that you can buy online that will help you pass the test.
Check the areas that you intend to fly your drone in
You will also need to check that you are permitted to fly a drone in the areas that you intend to fly it. You are allowed to fly a drone in an area classified as Class G airspace without any prior approval. However, if you want to fly a drone in an area classified as class B or class C airspace, you will need to apply for permission first. If you are unsure about a particular area, there are websites and smartphone apps available on which you can check the airspace classification of any area.
If you have never flown a drone before, it would be a good idea to do your practicing with a cheap drone first, before you start flying a more expensive one. Everyone crashes once or twice when they first start flying drones, so wait until you have mastered your drone flying technique before you take to the skies with a very expensive drone. If you really can’t wait to start flying your new, top of the range drone, at least start off by flying in open spaces where there is less chance of flying into something.
Always follow the FAA rules
You should follow the FAA drone operating rules at all times. These rules include giving way to manned aircraft, always keeping your drone in visual sight, and notifying the local traffic control and airports if you will be flying your drone within five miles of an airport.
Join a drone flying club
You can learn a lot about flying drones by joining a local drone flying club or meetup group. Drone flying groups also often hold flying events and meetings that you can attend, where you can meet other drone enthusiasts.