If you’re giving someone their first drone or hoping to unwrap one yourself, the following tips will help that first flight ….not be the last.
1) Know the Drone Code -
Take 2 minutes to read it at http://dronesafe.uk/drone-code/
It will tell you how to avoid £5k fines plus criminal proceedings and where you can safely fly:
Not out of your back garden, over your estate or town – you need to stay at least 150meters away from built up areas / crowds and always at least 50meters away from people, buildings and vehicles.
Never fly above 400ft/120meters
Keep it in sight… Don’t fly further than 500meters away.
2) Read the Manual -
Yes I know, it's a sign of weakness and you never do it. Trust me, this is the exception to the rule. The more intimately you know your drones tech specs, the safer you'll be and the more fun you'll have.
How do I look after those expensive batteries? Is it too cold/windy to fly? How and when do I calibrate the compass? How does the DJI "Return to Home" button work? (You may be shocked - the drone will not always come back).
Youtube is full of excellent tutorials – watch some.
3) Use the Drone Assist App before every flight -
It's free and brilliant, producing a graphical report of any hazards near you, a weather/wind update, warning you of any other nearby drone flights and allowing you to broadcast your flight to other drone users. Forewarned is forearmed! Get it at http://dronesafe.uk/safety-apps/
4) Get Insured -
Public liability insurance makes sense and is very affordable. In the past I’ve used www.fpvuk.org – Just £20 for the whole year. Bargain!
5) Don’t use your drone for your business or anyone else’s -
Unless you obtain a "Permission for Commercial Operations" from the CAA, using your Drone for any kind of commercial activity is a criminal offence. That’s even if no money changes hands!
Aerial photography is a fun and challenging hobby and modern drones are simply amazing to fly, allowing you to see places from a new and unique perspective. Like anything, flying a drone has its risks, but do a little research, be sensible and there’s no reason why you should crash your expensive drone, cause any injury or break any laws..
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