Ground rules for drone pilots


WINONA & COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- It’s a high-tech, and hot item on Christmas lists this year: drones.

But before you take flight, there are some things you need to know.

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When unwrapping that perfect gift rules aren’t usually on your mind.

But when it comes to drones, those rules could make the difference when keeping you and the ones you love safe.

The season of giving is here, and many people might have a new drone under their Christmas tree.

But the Federal Aviation Administration does have laws in place to protect you and others.

“When you’re flying a drone you’ve got to look out for airplanes because it’s kinda like being on the ground. You’ve got to look out for other cars when you’re driving so when your flying a drone you got to look out for other airplanes, and other things are in your airspace the FAA is real strict on flying drones,” said Chief Tommy Bibbs.

Some other rules include the height that your drone can fly, never fly over groups of people, and keeping your drone in sight.

But one of the most important rules is respecting peoples Privacy, especially in Mississippi.

“You can fly on your own property but when it comes to flying over someone else’s property Mississippi has the peeping tom laws, and that becomes a civil offense that has to do with your local law enforcement,” said Richard Eairheart.

If you want to use your drone for commercial use, it’s also important to get a license.

“If you’re going to get any monetary gain from anything that you do that’s considered commercial flying if somebody’s going to pay you for your services they consider that as commercial flying and you have to have a license,” said Eairheart.

And that’s something that local law enforcement is also looking into.

“We can’t just go out and fly a drone and use it for an investigation. We have to have an officer that’s been through; I think the class is about a week long, to become certified to use it that way if we have a camera attached to the drone and pick up stuff during an investigation that we want to use as evidence that way it could be admissible in court,” said Dan Herod.

The FAA doesn’t want to keep you from flying they just want to keep everyone safe.

“I’ve been told by one of the FAA guys that they’re not actively searching out people to try to punish them for flying but they do want you to be aware, and they want you to go to the website and make sure that you were following those parameters for safety for you and for everybody else,” said Eiarheart.

Before you take your first flight, you need to register your drone on the FAA website.

While you’re there, you can take a look at the full list of do’s and don’ts while flying.