Flying a remote control drone? What you need to know - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Flying a remote control drone? What you need to know

(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Look up in sky and you may see a drone mounted camera looking back.

Aerial photography has taken off in popularity, partially thanks to advance and availability of personal drones.

“There's a lot of smaller drones," drone operator and photographer Andrew Chronister said. "I got one I bought to kind of train on. There's things like that that are $100."

Chronister has mounted a digital camera to his six rotor drone to get a birds eye view.

“Since I started this two years ago the demand has taken off like crazy," Chronister said.

Chronister said it is advertisers and TV entertainment groups that mostly turn to him for an eye in the sky.

But aerial imagery has other uses as well.

Researchers at Southeast Missouri State University's agriculture school began using drones this year to help survey crop health.

But it is the potential for other uses that have some concerned.

“You've got people who are using for really legitimate fun purposes and then you have some people that are going to be irresponsible or do something maybe they shouldn't be doing," Chronister said.

Some fear a hovering drone could give snoopers an easier way to invade someone's privacy.

But experts say it's a problem laws already address.

“If the concern is drones are going to become more and more prevalent in private individuals hands," assistant professor Steve Macias said. "If that's the concern then there are already laws in place that would protect peoples privacy. “

Macias, who teaches at SIU's Law School, said it is now a matter of public perception catching up to the technology.

“Remote control airplanes and helicopters have been around a long and of course you can imagine anyone might attach a small a camera or recorder to it and essentially do the something you can with a drone," Macias said. "I think the reason there's been so much focus on drones is the association with military and I think there's sort of a general paranoia “

The Federal Aviation Administration has taken a rigid stance on how photographers can use drones.

The administration outlawed operators from flying drones around sports stadiums. The National Park Service have also barred them from their parks.

If you are thinking of making a quick buck selling some of your sky high shots, think again.

FAA rules prohibit the use of drones for commercial use.

That includes photographers like Chronister who say it is an issue the federal government has not properly addressed.

“If the FAA said ‘we want you to go through this training course to understand the FAA rules' that's fine," Chronister said. "What I don't like right now is they don't have anything. They just said ‘we're not going to let you do it' and that doesn't help anybody really.“

In the meantime, as our airspace becomes more crowded it is important for anyone new to the skies to know how to play it safe.

If you're planning to fly drones for fun here's an overlook at FAA standards all model aircraft pilots must follow.

  • Keep the aircraft under 400 feet
  • Fly it away from populated areas
  • Do not interfere with full size planes or helicopters

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