Flying Safe with Drones
One of the great things about drones is how easy they are to buy and fly by just about everybody. You don’t need any license to buy or own one and no qualification is needed to do so either. Because it is so easy and fun to fly, just about anyone with the right amount of budget can do so.
However a caveat to drone flight is that an airborne object presents an obvious hazard to both people on the ground as well as aircraft. With drones becoming explosively popular, the skies are becoming increasingly congested and the line between drones being useful tools and aerial obstacles is becoming a fine one.
To keep things safe and fun, it’s important that you are aware of some existing aviation rules.
DJI’s Firmware Safety Feature
Beginning with the Phantom II, DJI has updated the firmware on their Drones to automatically avoid the airspace around airports based on their classification. However, one shouldn’t rely on the firmware to do all the thinking for them as it may not work for every situation.
DJI’s website has a handy map that lists the No Fly Zones globally, marking them with red and blue markers based on category.
As we zoom out, keep note that KLIA is right center in the picture.
And in this scale we can see the problem. There are in fact; NO demarcated no fly zones in Southeast Asia, therefore DJI’s inbuilt safety features will not function in this area at the time of writing.
No Fly Zones & The Ethics of Drone Flight
A drone presents a real hazard to aircraft if it is ingested by a jet engine or strikes a control surface, propeller or rotor of a fixed wing aircraft or helicopter. At the low altitudes that drones fly, a drone/aircraft collision would likely be extremely difficult for a pilot to recover from. It is our recommendation that aspiring drone pilots are aware of the airspace around airports and respect a self-regulated exclusion zone of 10kilometers.
In addition, we also recommend following a few of the same flight ethics practiced by real aviationists worldwide. Amongst these;
- Avoid flying or hovering over/close to roadways and traffic.
- Avoid flying or hovering over/close to large crowds and concentrations of people.
- Avoid flight close to buildings and obstacles whenever possible. (With specificity to Drone flight, buildings can block GPS signals and air currents around buildings are unpredictable.).
- Avoid flight between similar type pole structures as wires strung between poles are not very visible at distance.
We hope to bring you more coverage on the topic and upcoming issues in the near future. Till then, fly safe and stay out of trouble!