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Do You Need Permission to Fly a Drone?

Do You Need Permission to Fly a Drone?

You are excited. You just bought your first drone and you are ready to take it up into the air and begin flying with it. Not so fast though, do you need permission to fly a drone? Do you need to consider whether or not there are rules associated with your drone? Drones are exploding

You are excited. You just bought your first drone and you are ready to take it up into the air and begin flying with it. Not so fast though, do you need permission to fly a drone? Do you need to consider whether or not there are rules associated with your drone?

Drones are exploding in popularity, and with that comes more exposure and more rules. The problem is that many people do not realize that drones are essentially aircraft. As such, they need to be treated with similar care.

In fact, it was ruled in a recent US court case that shooting down a drone is akin to shooting down an aircraft. That means such destruction brings very serious consequences with it and shows that authorities think about drones as aircraft. No surprise that flying one comes with some stiff rules. As we’d discussed many times, Canada is going the same way, and requires a Special Flight Operators Certificate.

Rules You Should Know for Flying a Drone

So, how do you stay within the rules and avoid fines? Here are some things you need to know about the permissions required for flying a drone:

  • Flying Over Property: In Canada, flying your drone over someone else’s property means that you are actually trespassing on their property and as such, can be charged under the Criminal Code of Canada. Similar rules apply in many US states, so if you are going to fly over someone’s property, get permission from them first.
  • Flying In Cities: As a general rule, you cannot fly a drone in a city without permission from the city and the authorities there. Drones in cities can cause serious problems for aircraft, law enforcement and more. Generally, it is best to not fly in a city but if you do, get permission to do so first.
  • Flying in a Rural Area: Flying in a rural area poses much less risk but again, even if you are flying over someone’s rural farm, even a mile from their house, you need their permission to do so.
  • Flying Near An Airport: Unless you are doing something very specific for the airport authority, you are not going to get permission to fly over an airport, even if you ask for it. Save yourself the trouble: under no circumstances fly near an airport.
  • Flying Near Fires: Recently in the news, drones have been causing problems over major fires. In California, five drones were flying over a wildfire that resulted in grounded helicopters for 20 minutes. Do the firefighters a favour and never fly near a fire; don’t even try to ask for permission.

If you are thinking of flying your drone, and it is a larger drone used for commercial purposes, then get permission from your transportation authority like the FAA and Transport Canada. Being certified ensures you are covered if something goes wrong, and it lends legitimacy to what you are doing.

Image via Flickr: Chuck Grimmett

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Craig
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  • Sevco
    May 13, 2016, 9:06 am

    I’m gonna visit Amsterdam (Nederland) and Cologne (Köln Germany) this summer. i wanna buy a drone and record city sight in city centre (streets, channels etc..) for touristic reasons. What do i need to do to get permission?

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