Quadcopters were one of last holiday season’s hot-ticket items, and with even more affordable and feature-rich machines hitting the market over the last 12 months, this year looks set to be no different.
Whether it’s existing drone pilots upgrading their remotely controlled copters, or newbies taking to the skies for the first time, drone makers must be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of another lucrative Christmas.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), on the other hand, will be hoping common sense prevails as up to a million consumers unwrap their brand new machines before rushing out to give them a go. All on the same day.
That’s why it’s just rolled out a new video (above) offering a few tips on how to operate a drone safely. The usual notes of caution are there, including never to fly over groups of people in case the machine suddenly comes tumbling out of the sky. The FAA also urges pilots to respect the privacy of those on the ground, something this person failed to do last year, leading to his drone being shot out of the sky by a disgruntled home owner.
In case anyone really needs telling, the video also points out that flying your new toy near an airport or aircraft is also a big no-no, and an act that’s likely to get the cops interested.
The FAA has taken a series of steps over the last couple of years to try to promote safe flying. In 2014 it released its free B4UFLY app for iOS and Android that offers flying tips as well as maps showing restricted areas such as airports, stadiums, and prisons.
And last year it launched a scheme requiring most drone owners to register their copter (details here), a move it said would help to “foster a greater awareness on the part of users to learn the rules about flying safely” in U.S. airspace, and also enable the authorities to quickly trace the drone’s owner in the event of an incident.