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What To Know Before You Fly Your Drone!

By November 17, 2015Education, FAA

Drone Safety Is the Key to Flying!

The only thing scary about drones, is when someone who is uneducated about them is flying.  Soaring Sky believes that with the proper UAV pilot training, anyone can safely fly a drone!  The major problems that you hear on the news with drones usually involve someone flying in a prohibiting area.  Which can easily be avoided if people did a little research before they took off!   As drone enthusiasts we need to understand that flying our quadcopters is a privilege and be respectful of the aviation space we are given.  The following information is a brief overview of what you need to know before take off with your UAV.

FAA Guidelines:

The first step to drone safety is following the regulations that have been set by the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA.  Soaring Sky strongly recommends that you know these guidelines before take off and follow all of them throughout your flight.  

  • Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
  • Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
  • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
  • Don’t fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
  • Don’t fly near people or stadiums
  • Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs
  • Don’t be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft

Where Can I Take Off?

As you can tell from the rules above, the area in which you are flying is extremely important!  So how are you supposed to know where you can and can’t take off?  web_horiz_FAA_NDZ_red

Know before you fly provides a very useful map that you can enter in the address that you will be flying around or even sync it to your current location!  It locates all of the airports, prohibiting airspace, national parks, temporary flight restrictions, and marine protected areas. Click here to check it out!  

You always need to check with the specific laws in your state because each may vary.  Especially if you’re bringing your drone on a vacation to a new location.  Click here to view the specific regulations throughout the United States.  

Some drones, such as the Phantom 3, are extra smart when it comes to knowing where they can fly!  For example, the Phantom won’t even take off if it’s within five miles of an airport.  There’s also a cap on the how high the drone will fly, it physically won’t even go any higher than 400 feet.  

Soaring Sky’s Pre- Flight Checklist

The Soaring Sky flight team uses the following checklist before taking flight or even calibration.  Even as professionals, we still make sure that we are always double checking our work and take flying seriously.  

  • Batteries charged
    • Transmitter
    • Aircraft
    • Wifi extender PL
    • Tablet/ smartphone
  • Propellers & Motors
    • Mounted securely
    • No defects
    • Rotate normally
  • Transmitter
    • All switches in upmost position
    • Transmitter throttle to zero
  • Aircraft
    • No defects
    • Camera gimbal connected correctly
  • Systems
    • All switches in upright position
    • Power on your transmitter
    • Powers on wifi extender- PL only
    • Power on your craft and wait for LED lights to flash green, indicating that your craft has achieved its GPS signal
    • Connect wifi via mobile device
    • Open DJI application on mobile device
    • Perform a compass calibration
    • Set capture settings on camera
  • Flying filed
    • Open area- no distractions or obstructions
    • Verify your intended flight path – Know where you can fly
    • Verify weather conditions – wind, visibility, precipitation, temperature
    • With the craft on an even surface at least ten feet away from you, start the motors
    • Start Camera
    • Press up on throttle for takeoff – Hovering at 3-5 feet check controls
    • Stay Below 400 feet
    • Complete Pilot Log


Give our team a call at 239-333-2447 to learn more about the Soaring Sky Academy training courses.