Drone for Christmas? FAA launches holiday-themed safety video for newbie owners

With so many people across the U.S. likely to be unwrapping a brand new quadcopter this holiday season, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched a safety campaign designed to lessen the chances of a newbie user inadvertently landing one on someone’s head, or worse, bringing down a passenger plane.

Apparently aimed primarily at children (the advice is designed to help you “stay off the naughty list”), the 90-second ‘Know Before You Fly’ video rolls out a list of dos and don’ts for handling unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that include keeping your flying machine in sight at all times and operating it below 400 feet. The FAA helpfully includes an image of the Great Pyramid of Giza, which happens to be 455 feet high, so, y’know, keep that particular stone-based construction in mind when you’re pushing your new drone toward the clouds.

More helpful imagery comes in the form of Ralph, apparently “the world’s largest bunny.” Before you have a chance to ask what in Roger Rabbit’s name a burly bunny has to do with flying a quadcopter, the FAA kindly informs us that Ralph’s weight, 55 pounds, is equal to the recommended maximum weight of a UAV. So there you go.

You’re also advised to inspect your drone before launching it, to fly it with others at local clubs, and, as if you needed telling, to keep it away from airports.

Yep, it’s all pretty much common sense, though no doubt there’ll be at least a couple of drone-related stories hitting the news in the coming days and weeks as rookie operators get to grips with their new toy.

The FAA joined forces with a number of UAV organizations to launch the new education campaign, which besides the video also includes a dedicated website.

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