What you need to know about drone use
Ranging in prices from a $100 to $10,000, drones have become a popular hobby for kids and adults. But after recent incident, including when someone crashed a drone into the White House lawn, many are asking what’s legal and what’s not.
According to drone pilot Andrew Chronister, piloting a drone is like playing an expensive video game.
“The controls are a lot similar to what you would have on a Playstation,” said Chronister.
Chronister built the drone to shoot aerial video and photos, but there are practical applications for it as well.
Real estate agents can use it to get aerial views of their properties, Monsanto and Pioneer are using them in agriculture, and rescue crews can use them to search for people lost in the woods.
Applications with intrigue Southwestern Illinois College Aviation Professor Robert Beckett.
“What we’re teaching on an aircraft is absolutely applicable to a helicopter and it applicable to a remotely piloted vehicle,” said Beckett.
As schools such as SWIC look into adding drone related classes and program, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is enforcing tight regulations on commercial use.
“You have to have a drone that has GPS and is capable of landing itself,” said Chronister. “You have to have a spotter with you at all times and you have to have a private pilots license.”
While applications are sorted out, the technology continues to evolve and drones are becoming more common.
The FAA has only approved 17 commercial permits for drone use.
If you want to use your drone for fun at home, you can, provided you stay below 400 feet and out of restricted air space.