Consumer Reports: Following FAA-regulated drone rules

Tuesday, February 06, 2018 05:11PM
Consumer Reports: Following FAA-regulated drone rules - Nydia Han reports during Action News at 4:30pm on Feburary 6, 2018.


PHILADELPHIA - There is no doubt people will bring fancy cameras along with their cell phones to capture memories of the Eagles parade.

And some of you may also be thinking about flying a drone for a birds-eye view - but beware before you calibrate your drone for those high-flying shots.

The city has not yet commented specifically about drones over the Super Bowl parade. Philadelphia officials have restricted airspace over past big events.

For instance, you couldn't fly a drone when the Pope was on the Parkway. And even if you're thinking about flying your drone for something else, there are things you need to know.

Kojo Sheng uses his drone all the time.

"I love filming cinematics of wherever I go like on vacation and stuff and I love making little films with my friends," he said.

For a long time, drones were used mostly by professional photographers and flying enthusiasts. But lower-priced, user-friendly models are flooding the market, allowing consumers to get in on the action. That sales growth has raised safety concerns as more drones take to the skies.

Consumer Reports says if you're planning to buy a drone, it's important to learn the rules.

"You don't need a license to fly a drone as long as you're flying for fun and you're not being paid to do it," said Chris Raymond, Consumer Reports Electronics Expert.

But for some flyers, registering the drone is a must.

"You do have to register a drone if it weighs more than a half pound and less than 55 lbs. You need to go the FAA's website and register there. It only takes a few minutes to do it, it costs $5 and it's good for 3 years," said Raymond.

When it comes to where you can fly the drone, there are a few clear cut restrictions. You can't fly it higher than 400 feet and it must be in your line of sight at all times.

"The FAA insists that you stay away from prisons, power plants government buildings and military bases, airports and national parks," said Raymond.

That means you can never fly near the stadiums, the start of the Eagles parade on Thursday, because it's so near to Philadelphia International airport.

If you don't have a drone yet but you're thinking about getting one, Consumer Reports recommends starting with an inexpensive toy drone before investing in a more expensive one. The outdoor drone that tops its first-ever drone ratings is DJI's 900-dollar Mavic Pro. It's top-rated lightweight selfie drone is the $400 dollar DJI Spark.

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