Common Drone Operator Mistakes to Avoid
July 12, 2023
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Common Drone Operator Mistakes to Avoid

Being a drone operator can be a rewarding and lucrative career that many people enjoy. Drones can make a lot of jobs easier and safer for workers,making them a great choice for taking  arial shots, land surveying, and search and rescue operations. 

For example, on February 6, 2023, search and rescue efforts used drones during the deadliest earthquake to hit Turkey in 20 years.

However, flying a drone comes with a set of regulations that you must follow to avoid making mistakes. These drone operator mistakes compromise safety and privacy and may result in severe consequences such as fines and penalties.

We’ve listed two common drone operating mistakes with possible solutions for each.

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I. Not Adhering to Local Regulations and Airspace Restrictions

Flying a drone brings along several issues like compromising safety and personal privacy. 

The consequences of this mistake are dire as your drone can be confiscated and it can take a long time before you can get it back. Also, in some extreme circumstances like flying near an airport that has the potential to interfere with aircraft operations, possibly causing a crash can lead to hefty fines or even jail time.

For example, the table below shows some of the fines you could face if you do not follow Canadian drone flying rules and regulations.

 

Offence Fine of Up to
Flying a drone in a national park $25,000
Flying a drone near a wildfire $10,000
Flying without special permission (SFOC-RPAS) yet you should
  • Individuals $5,000
  • Businesses $25,000
Flying without following the conditions stipulated in the SFOC-RPAS
  • Individuals $3,000
  • Businesses $15,000

Solutions

1.During your pre-flight and terrain checks, research the local restrictions and rules online—Transport Canada or from the local aviation authority. These include checking whether there are no-fly zones like:

  • Airports
  • Heliports
  • Military bases
  • Prisons

2.Check for any altitude restrictions.

For example, in Canada, you cannot fly a drone above  400 feet above ground level in uncontrolled airspace.

Also, as a drone operator, you must fly away from bystanders, forest fires, and outdoor concerts (unless you have permission).

II. Inadequate Flying Safety Procedures

Just like flying an airplane, operating a drone requires you to prioritize your safety and the environment around you.
Failure to observe drone flying safety procedures leads to losing control of the drone and potentially injuring other people or colliding with objects and trees. This causes injuries, property damage, or even death.

 

Solutions

  1. Maintain a visual line of sight (VLOS) with your drone if you do not have a visual observer and ensure you do not hit or harm other people, animals, trees, buildings, cars and airplanes.
  2. Get permission from Transport Canada to use a drone in BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight). BVLOS allows you to fly your drone while it is not in your line of sight and there is no visual observer.
  3. Read the drone manual before you start using it to learn about all its flight modes and safety features and measures. Also, always refer to the manual before you become an experienced drone operator as this will provide some knowledge required to fly the drone safely.
  4. Stay updated with drone flying safety procedures by subscribing to well-known manufacturers, and operators or joining relevant online communities.
  5. Carry out pre-flight checklists and inspections. These include:
  • Check you have charged the batteries properly
  • Inspect the drone for any physical damage or loose parts
  • Ensure the Return-to-Home (RTH) function works accurately by performing a pre-flight test flight. RTH is a feature in most drones that ensures that the drone returns to the designated coordinate you save as home ( in most cases the starting point) safely.

Enroll in Comprehensive Drone Pilot Training Programs

You need to get drone pilot training from expert trainers to avoid making these mistakes like not adhering to local regulations, neglecting re-flight checklists and flying safety practices.

The drone pilot training program also needs to be comprehensive in order to offer value.

Therefore, you need to ensure that you enroll in a program run and instructed by professionals like Coastal Drone, with years of experience and who understand the industry’s dos and don’ts.

Also, through our training, we explain how we overcome the mistakes we made when we were starting our drone flying journey. 

Therefore, we are able to provide tips and tricks to help you avoid these common mistakes through our firsthand personal experiences.

Contact us today to enroll in our comprehensive training program to learn the necessary skills and gain confidence as you become a competent drone operator who does not make mistakes.

Want to learn more?

This content and more is covered extensively in our five-star online drone pilot ground school. We offer both Basic and Advanced online training courses to help you get ready for the Transport Canada online exams at your own pace from the comfort of your home.

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