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Flying Your Drone in Populated Areas – What You Should Know

BY Alan Perlman
3 September 2015

The following is a guest post from David over at BeginnerFlyer.com. 

If you live in a sparsely populated rural area and love flying drones, then consider yourself lucky- you can fly as much as you want without worrying about harming other people or commercial property.

However, if you’re like most people, you probably live in an urban area that’s surrounded by homes and commercial property- and this can be a big problem when flying drones! While we can’t ask you to pack up and move to a different city, we can provide you with a few tips that you can use to cope with your surroundings. With that said, let’s take a look at a few tips that you can use when flying your drone in

Tips to Keep in Mind

Here are the best tips that I could think of for flying in populated urban areas:

  • Be Aware of Your Surroundings: It may sound trivial, but the simple act of being aware of your surroundings can dramatically decrease the chances of a crash. In cities, things like buildings, pets, and people are everywhere. Do your best to NOT fly over people, and if at all possible,never take your eyes off your drone while it’s in the air.
  • Announce Landings and Takeoffs: I know it sounds cheesy, but you should always announce your landings and takeoffs to people within the vicinity. For example, loudly shout, “Landing my drone!” when you’re landing, and “Drone taking off!” when you’re ready to hit the air. It’s synonymous with golfers who yell “Fore!” when their ball begins to steer towards other people.
  • Purchase a Lightweight Drone: If you’re still in the market for a quadcopter, I would recommend purchasing a light model (like the Syma X5C or the UDI U818A). Why? Because lighter models won’t cause as much damage should they fall on someone or something. Just remember that lighter drones can be tricky to fly in stronger breezes, which is an additional reason to fly away from people.
  • Respect Your Neighbors: In populated urban areas, most flyers resort to flying in their backwards. If you’re flying a drone with a camera attached to it, your neighbors might feel a little uneasy about you capturing footage of their property. If they express concerns about the matter, I would respect their wishes to fly elsewhere. Think about it: would YOU want someone flying their quadcopter over your backyard if it bothered you?

If you’re not confident about your flying skills, try purchasing a cheaper indoor quadcopter (like the Cheerson CX-10 or Syma X12) first. Then, once you become more proficient behind the controls, feel free to move up to a more expensive model.

Your Actions Affect the Drone Community’s Public Image

Remember this important tip: each time that you do something irresponsible with your drone, you make the entire drone community look bad (not just yourself). So definitely keep this in mind while you’re in the air. When flying your drone, always be thoughtful, courteous, and inviting to those people around you. Good luck, and fly safe!

Author Information: David is a drone enthusiast who loves quadcopters and wants to see them embraced by the world. To check out his latest RC drone reviews and tutorials, visit beginnerflyer.com.

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