Interesting Stats and Facts About Drones

Are you fascinated by the idea of owning a drone? Do you want to fly one for leisure purposes? Do you want to start using your drone to generate income, or need to use a drone for business purposes? Whatever your drone needs, it is probably a good idea to educate yourself so that you know as many facts about drones before venturing into ownership of one of the most popular gadgets on the market today.

Keep in mind, not all drones are toys, and some of them are powerful robotic machines not intended for children. (Anytime you have spinning blades, fingers can get in the way, so always be careful when operating a drone!)

Drone Controllers

A Brief History of Drones

Drones have been in operation almost as long as the invention of planes. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), now known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASes) got their start during the 1930’s as military crafts that were designed to be used for aerial target practice. The term “drone” refers to the humming sound that a low flying aircraft makes, similar to the droning sound of bees.

Since their inception in the 1930’s, drones have evolved from military target practice to a recreational and commercial tool that has turned just about anyone with a steady hand and a penchant for operating flying remote control robots into a drone pilot.

FUN FACT: Drones are being used for a wide array of tasks today, including but not limited to: military operations (armed and unarmed), police operations helping to fight crime, agriculture farming and surveying, and many other options. They are evening being used to deliver pizza! There really isn’t much a drone can’t do!

Because drones have become so popular in recent years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has set up some rules and regulations in order to keep airspace uncluttered and safe for all users. It is important to know what you can and cannot do in relation to your drone.

Frequently Asked Questions About Drones

The FAA web site has a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions and statistics for anyone looking to become a drone pilot, whether be it for work or play. Below are the most common frequently asked questions regarding drones that might capture your attention:

1. I just purchased an awesome drone, now what? I’d really like to start flying as soon as possible.
Any unmanned aircraft, or drone, weighing more than 0.55 lbs, but weighing less than 55lbs must be registered with the FAA in order to legally occupy airspace in the US. So, register your drone before taking to the skies.

2. I already have one registered drone and I just purchased a second one, do I need to register that one also?
If you already have a registration number from the FAA, you can put the same registration on each drone. The FAA does not require a separate number for each aircraft. Keep in mind you must carry your registration certification with you each time you fly your aircraft.

3. I’m not sure how much my drone weighs?
You can check the manufacturer specifications on your drone (usually can be found on packaging or listing specifications from seller), or see if the hobby shop where you purchased your drone has a scale that they can use to weigh your drone for you. Don’t forget, anything over 0.55 lbs must be registered with the FAA.

4. Where should I look if I have questions about FAA regulations regarding my UAS/drone?
Just check out the FAA web site dedicated to UAS’s. You can find it there.

5. Who do I contact if I am not able to find the answer to my question on the UAS web site?
Most of the questions you have as a beginner in the world of drones will be found on the FAA web site. However, if you have a question that you can’t find the answer to there, you may contact the FAA’s UAS Integration Office via email: [email protected], or you can call 884-FLY-MY-UA.

6. How do I know if I will need a pilot certification to operate and fly my drone legally?
If you are using your drone for purely educational or recreational purposed, you will not need a pilot certification. Any commercial or business related operations will require a pilot certification. You can find more information here on how to gain your pilot certification for UAS.

7. I want to use my drone for my business, but I don’t make any money from using it. Does this fall under recreational use?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is “no”. You must obtain a pilot certification under Rule 107 in order to operate a UAS if it is being used for business purposes, regardless if the operation generates revenue.

8. What are some limitations to where and how high I can fly my aircraft?
All unmanned aircraft must be flown no higher than 400 feet, and cannot exceed a speed of 100 mph. You must also stay outside of a 5 mile radius of any airport. You can find more information here on basic rules for flight of your drone.

9. What options do I have if my operation is not permitted under these rules (Part 107)?
If your aircraft weighs under 55 lbs, you may apply for a Part 107 waiver to conduct your operation. You must remember to outline how your proposed operation will occur safely, including risk mitigation. Apply for waivers here.

10. Can a non-US Citizen fly UAS for commercial purposes in the US?
Yes. Non-US citizens are subject to the same rules and regulations, and will be eligible to apply for a Remote Pilot Certificate (RPC) issued under the same UAS rule (Part 107) by the FAA. A globally recognized standard for UAS pilot standards has not been recognized. To obtain an FAA-issued RPC, submit application for foreign air carrier licensing. More information here.

Drone Stats: The numbers don’t lie!

Just how big has the drone market become since its beginning in military operations over the course of almost a century? The statistics speak volumes:

  • Estimated number of drones in flight by 2018: 600,000
  • Total number of commercial use drones registered: 20,000
  • Top commercial industry utilizing drones in the US: Photography
  • Number of drones registered with the FAA: 400,000
  • Estimated economic impact of the drone industry: $3.3 billion

While this is just a snapshot of statistics that surround the drone industry, it is clear that the drone market is growing exponentially, and will continue to grow in the future. The decision to purchase and operate a drone is one that is sure to bring fun, and sometimes revenue into your life.

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