Drones: Legal use and Safety
Let’s face it, drones are cool, but as they become more widely available drone safety becomes more and more important. In land surveying, drones can be used to map areas that a surveyor on foot or in a vehicle might not be able to reach. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are even being widely used to map places like the Everglades in Florida. They save time, manpower, money, and can keep surveyors at a safe distance.
So, what then is the problem with drones?
Lack of drone safety.
Along with aircraft, drones have rules and regulations and when those rules aren’t followed, accidents can occur. There have been instances of private drones hitting a black hawk helicopter and other aircraft, falling onto cars, and losing control because of operator error. With drone safety, there are ways to prevent these accidents.
Be smart, make a preflight checklist.
- Check the flying conditions.
- What does the weather look like?
- Can you see where the drone is flying clearly?
- Can you maintain a direct view of the drone?
- Pilot assessment, assess your state of mind and your physical fitness to determine if you should be flying that day.
- Are you under mental stress?
- Are you feeling well?
- Ensure you’re carrying the proper licenses and documentation. Drone operation requires a license in most states.
- Pilot UAS107 License
- Pilot 2 year review
- Is the drone registered with a registration number?
- Double check local drone operation laws.
- Can you fly at night?
- Where are you allowed to fly the drone?
- How low or high?
- Look the drone over.
- Is there damage?
- Is it fully charged?
- Is it under 50 lbs?
- Update drone firmware. This includes the internal GPS. Drones need to know where they are so that they can return back to the operator.
One disastrous drone incident could lead to more regulations or even a ban. Set an example for the land surveying profession. Be smart, be safe, and know your local laws.