Can I Fly Drone Over People? A Handy Guide

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Are you planning on flying a drone over people?

Before you take off, it’s important to know whether or not it’s legal to do so. The rules and regulations regarding drone flight can vary depending on the location, so it’s important to do your research beforehand.

In this article, I’ll answer the question: can you fly a drone over people?

In short, the answer is NO! You cannot fly drones over people due to safety and security concerns.

The laws around drone flight can be complex. So, I’ll also let you know about FAA regulations, security concerns, permissions needed, and penalties (if any) so that you’re fully informed.

Can I Fly Drone Over People

FAA Regulations on Flying Drones Over People

Due to the following FAA regulations, you are not allowed to fly drones over people:

  1. Commercial and recreational drone pilots are currently prohibited from flying their drones over other people.
  2. The FAA may soon amend the Commercial Part 107 rules to provide some flexibility for licensed drone pilots in flying over people.
  3. As per the FAA, drones can only be flown over a person if they are directly participating in the operation, under a covered structure or inside a stationary vehicle that provides reasonable protection against a falling drone.
  4. Commercial drone pilots are not allowed to fly over people who are not participating in the operation, even if they have provided consent.

Source

Security Concerns

Flying a drone over people comes with its own set of unique security concerns, which are worth considering before launching your drone. Here are some potential security concerns to keep in mind.

Security Concerns for Flying Drones Over People

  1. Physical injuries: Drones can malfunction or lose control, potentially causing injury or damage to people below.
  2. Privacy violations: Drones equipped with cameras may inadvertently capture personal and sensitive information or invade people’s privacy.
  3. Terrorist threats: Drones can be weaponized and used for malicious purposes, posing a security risk to public safety.
  4. Interference with emergency services: Drones in the air may hinder emergency responders, such as police, ambulance, or firefighting services.
  5. Collisions with other aircraft: Drones that fly too high or too close to manned aircrafts can cause aviation accidents, jeopardizing the safety of pilots and passengers.

Permissions and Permits

Permissions and permits required for flying drones over people vary depending on the category of operation.

Category 1 operations require compliance with Remote ID for sustained flights over open-air assemblies.

Category 2 and 3 operations have performance-based eligibility and operating requirements for unmanned aircraft weighing more than .55 pounds without an airworthiness certificate. Category 2 operations also require compliance with Remote ID, while Category 3 operations have additional restrictions, such as not flying over open-air assemblies and ensuring people on site are aware of the drone presence.

Category 4 operations permit drones with airworthiness certificates to fly over people, provided they follow the approved Flight Manual’s limitations and comply with Remote ID. Additional requirements apply to maintain the drone’s reliability and airworthiness.

Penalties for Flying a Drone without Authorization

Penalties for flying drones without authorization over people vary depending on the severity of the offense. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may impose fines ranging from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars. In some cases, criminal charges may also be filed, leading to possible jail time or community service. Further, repeated violations or causing property damage or injury may result in steeper penalties and legal consequences. It is crucial to follow the FAA guidelines and regulations to ensure safe drone operations.

Also check:

FAQs

1. Can I Fly Drones Over People if I am not a Licensed Drone Pilot?

No, you cannot fly a drone over people if you are not a licensed drone pilot. According to the FAA guidelines, recreational drone users must avoid flying directly over people, moving vehicles, and private property without permission. This rule is in place to ensure public safety and prevent potential accidents or injuries that could be caused by an inexperienced or unlicensed drone operator. It is crucial to abide by these regulations to avoid fines, penalties, or legal consequences.

2. Who can Authorize the Use of Drones Over People?

The authorization for the use of drones over people is typically granted by the national aviation authority or a relevant regulatory body of the respective country. In the United States, for example, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issues specific guidelines and permissions under Part 107 regulations for drone operations over people. Drone operators must adhere to their country’s regulations and obtain necessary waivers or permissions before flying over people to ensure safe and legal drone usage.

3. Can the Police Fly Drones Over People?

Yes, the police can fly drones over people under specific circumstances and regulations. Law enforcement agencies use drones for various tasks, such as surveillance, crowd monitoring, search and rescue operations, and crime scene investigations. However, they must adhere to local and federal laws governing the use of drones, respect privacy rights, and ensure public safety while operating these aerial devices. In certain situations, police may require a warrant or proper authorization before deploying a drone over people.

Conclusion

In conclusion, before flying a drone over people, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the appropriate resources and tools. Download the B4UFLY mobile app to easily find safe and legal flying locations.

Drone laws are subject to change, and information in this blog may become outdated; always consult official sources for the latest regulations.

And if you have a related query, kindly feel free to let me know in the comments.

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Peter Karanja is a licensed drone pilot from Kenya, freelance writer and drone enthusiast. He has been using drones for land survey, GIS, and photography for the past three years. Being a drone user, he loves writing about drone applications, safety tips for using drones, and the best ways to get the most out of a drone.

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