Christmas is almost here, and a lot of people are hoping to get a drone under the tree.
Earlier this year, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in the U.S. predicted that drone sales would be the most dynamic growth sector within aviation, soaring to 4.3 million by the year 2020.
Read also: Where to buy your first drone
But before you get visions of DJI Phantoms dancing in your head, the U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has issued a reminder that drones are different from most of the other toys that will be unwrapped this Dec. 25. The international organization urges reading the drone's manual, flying within eyesight and 50 meters away from people, property or vehicles.
"Drones can pose a serious threat to manned flights and people and property on the ground," ICAO said in a statement.
They released a list of 10 tips and facts for recreational users, titled "Ten things to know before buying a drone this Christmas."
- You should always consult their local Civil Aviation Authority as drone guidelines and regulations differ amongst States. Many States’ regulations can be accessed from ICAO’s UAS Toolkit.
- If the drone weighs more than 25 kg, most States require you to obtain a permit before operating it.
- If you are paid to use the drone, or if you use it for research, most States require you to obtain a permit before operating it.
- Keep the drone within eyesight at all times.
- Read the users’ manual thoroughly before operating your drone.
- Check your drone before each flight.
- Don’t fly within 50 metres of or over people, property or vehicles
- Don’t fly more than 150 metres from the ground.
- Don’t fly near an airport. Stay at least 8km away.
- Always remember that you are now a remote pilot and are responsible for flying safely and avoiding collisions.
Other regulative bodies prepping for the holidays
The ICAO isn't the only organization that's getting the message out. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the U.K. updated their Dronecode, the rules around flying a UAV.
There are five key rules to help people fly within UK law. They conveniently spell out the word "drone":
• Don’t fly near airports or airfields
• Remember to stay below 400ft (120m) and at least 150ft (50m) away from buildings and people
• Observe your drone at all times
• Never fly near aircraft
• Enjoy responsibly
Closer to home, in Canada, recently an Edmonton drone user was charged by the Edmonton Police Service for flying dangerously. The FAA has a list of rules that must be followed when using your drone. If a drone is being used for commercial purposes, the agency regulates a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability insurance.