Hoover, AL — From major weather events to fires and beauty shots drones give us an incredible view. But with a careless pilot, drones can be dangerous.
Two men in Cincinnati were accused of flying drones over stadiums last year in separate incidents.
Drone interest first took off in our local area with Snowpocalypse according to local pilots...
FAA numbers show 1.5 million registered drones in the U.S. with 170,000 certified remote pilots. The bulk of unmanned aircraft are for recreational use.
Robin Schultz with Bluff Park Drone is certified to fly commercial. His biggest advice is "training, training, training!"
Key FAA rules: No flying in excess of 400 feet, no flying near aircraft or airports, no flying over groups of people, no flying over stadiums or near emergency response units.
"We don't like when someone flies irresponsibly; it makes us all look bad," remarked Schultz.
An FAA spokesperson says there's no national database of complaints or drone incidents. But all reports of unauthorized drone operations are investigated. Operators who endanger aircraft or others face fines that exceed $30,000.
"We're actually in a good spot with regulations. They're progressing as drone technology evolves," said Sarah Rhodes who is an instructor with the Drone Park at Virginia Tech.
"It's important for people to understand what rules they're operating under," advised Rhodes. For instance commercial pilots have to be Part 107 licensed and at least 16 years old.
In the fall every drone will have to have an RF ID responder like a regular aircraft. It can be seen by the FAA.
And while pilot training isn't required for recreational flyers, it can help prevent a costly crash.
"You are taking aircraft in the sky, you have to be responsible," advised Schultz.
The public should report drone incidents to local law enforcement. If your drone damages property or hurts someone, you could be liable for civil damages.