New Drone Fliers Guide – Part 1 – Know Your Gear and the Rules


Flying a quad can be a great hobby that lets you get a fresh perspective on the world from up above. If you’re a new flier, you probably have a lot of questions …


  1. Clarification – I mentioned in this clip that night flying isn't permitted for hobbyists and this is true unless you are part of a CBO (Community Based Organization) like an AMA flying club. Without getting too technical, this all changed with the passage of the FAA re-authorization act last year where the section 336 exemption for these CBO's was repealed and replaced with section 349 that is still being developed. The CBO exception for night flying isn't currently in the section 349 guidelines going forward and may be eliminated. To keep this clip simple, I advised against night flights for new pilots with this repeal in mind and will change this clarification when the rule is finalized. I just called the FAA a few minutes ago to check on the progress and was told that the CBO designation is still being debated as of 3/19/19 so stay tuned for an update. Rick

  2. Hi,
    thanx for a great channel…. what happens to a mavic 2 if you fly it over a cliff that's higher than the max altitude? will it be able to return to home safely or do i need to re-set the max altitude to be higher than the altitude of the cliff?


  3. Everyone keeps saying that you can't legally fly within 5 miles of an airport – and that statement is false.
    Here is what it says directly from the FAA website:

    Flying Near Airports

    Generally, drone operators should avoid flying near airports because of other air traffic. It is very difficult for other aircraft to see and avoid a drone while flying, and drone operators are responsible for any safety hazard their drone creates in an airport environment.

    Option 1: If you have a Remote Pilot Certificate and are following part 107 rules, you must get permission from air traffic control to fly in controlled airspace. The FAA can grant permission two different ways – LAANC or DroneZone.

    Option 2: If you are flying with a model aeroclub organization following the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, you must notify the airport operator and air traffic control tower to fly within 5 miles of an airport.

    Option 3: If you are a public entity (law enforcement or government agency), the FAA may issue you special permission to fly in a designated location near an airport. Read information about the requirements for law enforcement and government drone operations.

    Page last modified: March 20, 2019 4:09:43 PM EDT

    — So – yes for a Hobbyist – as long as you contact the airport operator and the air traffic control tower to fly WITHIN 5 MILES OF AN AIRPORT, you CAN fly within 5 miles of an airport.

  4. There was a requirement under part 332 to notify the tower or airport manager if flying within 5 miles of any airport. Under the new FAA reauthorization act of 2018 the 5 mile notification requirement has been replaced with a requirement for prior approval from the tower, to fly within class B, C and E airspace (large airports). There in no longer a requirement to notify the airport when flying in class G airspace (small, uncontrolled airports). The AMA website Government Affairs blog October 2018, has an article explaining the changes.

  5. DJI does geofence to 400ft altitude. Rather the default max altitude setting is 400ft but it can be set as high as 500M or about 1500ft. I do recommend leaving the default height limit unless you have special conditions such as going above building or mountain terrain height.
    Let's avoid absolutes terminology when the absolutes don't exist but rather indicate best practices as best practices.

  6. The 5 mile restriction only applies to flying in class B, C and E airspace. There is no notification or authorization requirement for class G airspace per the new FAA reauthorization act.

  7. I must of missed the list of winners on the 12 Days of Christmas prize draw. Please will you provide a link. I don't expect to have won but it is always nice to know the draw was done and the prizes distributed. Thank you from New Zealand.

  8. Clarify your statement about registering your quad. For hobbyist you only need to register yourself and have the FAA number on the outside of your quad, drone, UAV or rc plane. All your hobby rc crafts will have the same number. If you are a part 107 pilot you have to register each drone you use in your business.

  9. I agree with the rules, no problem.
    What I don't agree with commercial flying is knowing about the weather…
    If it is bright sunshine and great visibility ……….Fly
    If it is raining…………………………………………………Don't Fly
    If it is snowing ……………………………………………..Don't Fly
    If you can't see past your nose ………………………Don't Fly
    If the wind is blowing over 30 miles per hour…. Don't Fly
    If it is foggy ………………………………………………….Don't Fly
    If it's hailing ………………………………………………….Don't Fly
    If there is a hurricane……………………………………..Don't Fly

    A pilot friend of mine gave me a sectional map. It has more symbols, icons and things on it to make your head spin.
    All you need to know is to stay under 400' or lower and not fly around the glide paths of airports.
    There are some rural private airports that may get an airplane in twice a year if they are lucky.
    I would like to see the distance from an airport be dropped down to 2-3 miles depending on whatever the type of airport you are around.
    If you have a ranch with a grass runway that you use and want to use your drone to fly around and check on your cattle you may not be able to do that.
    There are a lot of abandon helicopter pads that are out there. I know of a hospital that was
    built in 1996. They had a helicopter land there on dedication day. As far as I know no helicopter has
    ever landed there before.

    Well… that's my .02 worth….. Thanks for reading

  10. I wish the 400 feet and under was exclusively for us RC fliers, but single engine and rotor wings routinely fly over my house in the rural country at 200-300 feet. Is there anything to be done about this? I often have to duck and cover my M2P, sometimes losing connection and have a fear of RTH kicking in and gaining altitude out of my control. Thank you for any insight I am sure others have experienced this.

  11. Nicely Done, Rick! This is a video every single drone pilot should watch and knowing the information inside out. Thank you for preparing this video, I’ll be sharing this with friends who are newer pilots.

    Question, I know as a Part 107 flight you cannot fly at night without a waiver but where is the rule(s) a hobbies can’t fly at night, has this recently changed?

    Can’t wait to see what’s in store for Part 2 and beyond, thank you!

  12. 2 questions just came up:
    1, in our local (small) town the UMA club Flys at the airport on Sundays. 10:12
    I do not own a drone (YET) and you said that DJI has built-in Geo Fencing (aka to block flying with 5 miles of the said airport)
    Does this mean that I would not be able to fly there or within that 5 miles? (NFZ 10:12 )

    2, 9:49 DJI (or us) need to be mounting 180-360 cameras for us to see that rear view line of sight.

    DAWN to DUSK (no flying at Night) 10:51 this too is a no brainer. If we can't see we can't control.

  13. Great rules Rick. But I would also mention, “Know the local laws in the area you want to fly.” OFTEN, there are additional rules, or ordinances that are enacted by the local jurisdiction (county, city or municipality) that further restricts drone flight. I live in an area that my ENTIRE county bans drone flight anywhere in the county except at the designated AMA model aircraft field. (Ridiculous, but true)….essentially making it illegal to fly my drone at ANY public park in that county.

  14. Did the FAA change the rule about night flying as a hobbyist with a strobe the has 3 statute mile viability? I know as a 107 pilot, if I'm flying for profit that a waiver is required.

  15. At 10:50, you mention, “You can’t fly at night, period.” True, if you are flying on a commercial (furtherance of a business) Part 107 flight. But if you’re flying a particular flight as a hobbyist (for personal enjoyment), then it is legal to fly at night….(unless they’ve changed the rules?)

  16. I know you mentioned nuance of the rules, but at 10:05 you mention, “You CAN’T fly within 5 miles of an airport.” Was there a change to the rules? I thought you could fly inside 5 miles as long as you NOTIFY operator or ATC tower (if there is one).

  17. Thank you for another great video. Hopefully in a future series you can discuss in depth geo fencing (in particular DJI) and any additional regulations that may or may not be coming from FAA.

  18. Good clip. Glad to see that you stress the registering of drones. Cant wait to receive the goodies I ordered for my Zoom. Basically everything you demo'd not too long ago. I think the sun visor is more than just practical, it looks really neat, too.

  19. IMHO, Drone registration is exactly analogous to registering firearms…. a Lame ass overreaching government attempt to control something seen as dangerous…. Registered or not… good folks will not use their drone for terrorist activities… terrorists will NOT register their drone….. At best, IMHO, drone registration could be a future means to generate revenue….. the FAA will provide NO ADDED VALUE to the lives of 99% of the drone users in the USA…. ZERO ADDED VALUE to the RC community…. (Which has been responsible for the past 70 years with NO FAA meddling!!)
    ….I fail to understand who actually benefits from drone registration….
    Thanks for the video…. I watch all your vids now!! 😉


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here