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0 Comments | Dec 21, 2018

Flying a Drone – What to Know Ahead of Time

Drone in FlightIf you’re getting a drone for the holidays, or perhaps giving one, there’s a couple of things you should know outside of them being extremely fun to use. With the recent drone scare at Gatwick Airport in West Sussex, England, it’s worth reiterating several laws.

No Drones Near Airports

Here in the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has very strict laws about the use of drones; chief among them that drones are prohibited within five miles of any airport. Similarly, the agency also bars anyone from flying drones more than 400 feet above ground anywhere in the United States.

The five mile airport ban went into affect after the Washington Post investigated 15 cases of drones flying dangerously close to airports and airplanes between 2012 and 2014.

Adding airports and other public facilities—stadiums, arenas, and racetracks, for instance—to parks and military bases increases the total “no drones” area to about ten percent of the U.S.

No Drones Near National Parks and Military Bases

In addition to airports, it’s illegal to fly drones over national parks and military bases.

A number of states have passed legislation affecting the use of drones, ranging from law enforcement provisions to the prohibition of drones to film subjects without their consent.

Drone Laws are Constantly Changing

The laws surrounding where you can fly your drone is evolving as more and more consumers purchase them for personal use. For example, Venice Beach, a great area for drone footage, once prohibited their use, but rescinded the law as it helped with tourism. Before flying in your area, it’s best to check local and national laws to see if you are in the clear to use your new gift.

In the U.K., meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has three specific rules to drone use:

  1. Drones must be in line of sight at all times
  2. Must not be within 50m of people, vehicles, or buildings
  3. No higher than 122m (400ft)


As you can imagine, the drone terrorizing Gatwick Airport is breaking a slew of laws. While it’s very apparent this person is deliberately disrupting normal use of the airport, it’s very easy to break rules when you don’t know them in the first place. So save yourself a headache and research the laws in your area.

If nothing else, check for Custom Signs such as “No Drone Zone” or “No Flying Zone.” They will give you the indication that they’re prohibited in the area.




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