Drones are an exciting area of technology catching the attention of hobbyists and entrepreneurs alike. Given how new they are, drones are not yet fully regulated, so using them can be risky.
In general, business use of drones is prohibited and frowned upon by the federal government. But this doesn't mean there are no professional applications as of yet. Filming crews and photographers are able to use drones for shots from higher vantage points. Farmers and shepards use drones to monitor crops and even shepard some herds.
Professionals and enthusiasts alike do need to follow certain rules. Many locales have an altitude ceiling of 400 feet for drone use. Flying within 5 miles of any airport is also usually asking for trouble.
Do respect the privacy of others if using drones for photography. Owners of land typically have domain over their immediate vertical airspace up to 400 feet.
They are also entitled to some privacy. For instance, even if a home is visible from a street, a potential realtor can't take pictures of a home from the air without explicit permission of the home owner. It should go without saying that using drones for spying on neighbors or family is also in violation of privacy and civil rights laws.
How To Fly A Drone Without Getting Into Legal Troubles
Flying a drone is a lot of fun but there are a few legal issues you need to be aware of. Always use common sense when flying your drone and you will be fine.
There could be legal problems if you hurt someone or cause damage to someone's property with your drone. As an inexperienced drone owner, you might make a mistake that would result in the drone crashing. You need to practice flying your drone in an open field where no one will be hurt and nothing will be damaged if the drone crashes until you are more comfortable.
A drone is technically considered as a remote control aircraft. There are some local ordinances against flying such aircraft. You need to find out more about local laws for your city, township or village before flying your drone. If an ordinance against remote control aircraft exists, you will have to fly your drone in a different area.
There are potential issues regarding invasion of privacy with drones equipped with a camera since you can take pictures or record videos from above without people necessarily realizing what you are doing. Flying a drone equipped with a camera can be a lot of fun but do not use it to record people that are unaware of what you are doing or to fly over private property.