Travel tip: Where is it appropriate to use drones with kids?

Have you seen drones circling overhead on recent travels? We have! While it’s important to follow specific useage guidelines (personal drones are prohibited in some places), if you have kids clamoring to fly a drone either at home or while on vacation, read on!

Drone ownership is on the up and if the latest statistics published in a recent Bard College report are anything to go by, the growing trend of flying drones is only going to continue to rise.

Almost one million drone users were registered to fly in the US as of December 2017 with Las Vegas having the highest number or registrations and it is likely there are hundreds of thousands more who are yet to register.

With drone laws differing by state in the US and new laws coming in to force in places like the UK, it is difficult to know where it is appropriate to fly a drone and where it isn’t.

The other question to consider is whether it is appropriate at all for kids to fly drones and under which circumstances this is justified.

The first thing to note is that if you are flying a drone outdoors then all of the FAA rules apply – and there are a few that you really do need to take heed of. The first and most important (in terms of the scope of this article) is that all pilots should be aged 16 or over. It doesn’t matter whether you think you have specifically bought a drone aimed at kids or not, if it is outdoors then your pilot must be over the age of 16.

If flying indoors then the rules are slightly less stringent and as long as you are not in a public place then (under close supervision) you should be fine to allow a younger person to fly a drone.

Key Points To Consider

It is difficult to classify exactly where is appropriate and inappropriate to fly a drone. Perhaps a more pertinent question would be ‘where is it safe to fly a drone?’ and for that you can follow some simple guidelines.

The first is to follow your instincts. If it feels wrong or unsafe in any way then it is advisable to find another location to fly.

You must register your drone with the FAA no matter what you intend to use it for. This will cost $5 but will mean you can legally fly outdoors.

If you are within 5 miles of an airport then you should call them to inform them. Our advice is just to stay well clear of a 5 mile radius of airports.

It might seem like common sense but you should avoid areas near to other people and/or their property. Do not fly directly over people unless they are with you and have given you consent to do so.

There are zones where drones are not allowed. In the UK, certain areas in London and in the US all of Washington D.C. are off limits. You should check this before flying.

Finally, you should always ensure that you keep your drone in line of sight. If you can’t see your drone then you are potentially breaking the law.

Ultimately, you are responsible for where you fly your drone. If you are wanting to have some fun with the kids then keep it indoors – otherwise explore your local areas but stick to our guidelines above and use your common sense and you should be fine.

If you are unsure you should check the FAA website and also ensure you have checked laws locally to you before taking to the skies.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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