Are Quadcopters Legal?

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Whether you are a civil quadcopter operator or merely a hobbyist, it important that you do not get into the wrong side of the law. This is because, most countries, led by the UK and US are moving fast to regulate the use of multirotors, in order to reduce cases of mischief like terrorism, hence safeguarding the rights of the citizens. The laws regulating the use of these crafts has been dubbed, The Drone code. With these laws, it means that quadcopters are legal, but under certain operations and restrictions.

The US ratified some legislations that target the use of multirotors in the late 2015. Amending of The Drone code was mainly because of the increased use of quadcopters in restricted airspaces like airports and the inability to distinguish the various degrees of autopilot assistance, hence attracting users with no experience in practical flying.

It is for these reason that governments like US, UK and Australia decided to address the legality on the use of quadcopters formally.

Different Types of Unmanned Craft Operations

  1. Public Operations– This is where the craft is used for the government purpose. For example, the military and police are allowed to use these crafts in surveillance, spying on enemies’ territories in order to carry out an attack or monitoring the country’s airspace.
  2. Civil Operations– This is where the quadcopters are used for commercial purposes. A case example is the Domicopter that delivers Domino’s pizza orders to customers’ doorsteps. In addition, news agencies are using quadcopters to cover live events and happening, hence promoting excellent journalism through relaying the correct information to the public.
  3. Model Aircraft– This quadcopters are used for recreational purposes only. However, hobbyist are the greatest causalities of The Drone code, since most of them are likely to be mischievous when using these unmanned aircrafts.

Categories of Quadcopter Pilots

  • First Person Video– This is where a camera is attached to the quadcopter, where a video is taken and appears as a pilot is inside the craft, but in real sense, the pilot is only controlling the craft remotely.
  • Visual Line of Sight– This is literally keeping the quadcopter within your sight all the time. In order to fly the quadcopter effectively, the pilot should only fly the quadcopter in areas with no obstructions like tall trees and buildings and at a certain altitude. If this is contravened, you are likely to endanger the live of humans and property in the long run.

Guidelines Shaping the Use of Quadcopters

Aviation authorities in the US have and are crafting new rules to restrict the misuse of these multirotors in order to protect everybody’s interest. They include;

  • Keep the craft less than 400 feet above the ground level and stay clear of obstacles
  • Keep the craft within a visual range at all times, restricting the craft to a five mile radius.
  • Keep clear controlled airspaces for example airports or military barracks
  • Do not fly over populated areas like beaches, stadiums where a match is on or private homes without permission from relevant authorities.

Also read: When Did Drones Become Popular?

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