Do not fly closer to people than 50m
This includes people in buildings and transport, including cars, lorries, trains, boats.
You must keep a minimum horizontal distance of 50m between your drone or model aircraft and people. This creates a no fly zone around people that goes all the way up to the legal height limit. It can help to think of this no fly zone as a cylinder.
You must not fly over people in this no fly zone, even if you fly higher than 50m.
People involved in what you’re doing
The rule on minimum distances is different for people involved in what you’re doing.
You can fly closer than 50m to people who are with you and who are involved in what you’re doing, such as friends, family or colleagues out flying with you. But always remember, you must never put anyone in danger.
Always keep a safe distance
Sometimes, you’ll need to increase the 50m minimum distance from people to make sure that your flight remains safe.
Follow these general rules:
- If you fly higher than 50m, you should keep the same distance horizontally. For example, keep 80m away if you fly at a height of 80m.
- If poor weather conditions mean that there could be a greater risk to people, fly further away from them. For example if it’s very windy, you should fly further away from people.
- If you fly at high speeds, fly further away to give yourself more time to react.
In the US, drones can fly up to 400 feet above the ground or over towers anywhere that’s not restricted. It’s not legal to peep into private areas or annoy people with a drone or fly them over people or traffic.
To see maps with restricted areas, check out the B4UFly phone app from the FAA. Or go on-line to Home - AirMap or Kittyhawk - Drone Fleet Management Software and check out the maps. The DJI GO4 and Fly apps also show what’s restricted and what’s not and their ‘geofencing’ won’t let a drone fly in restricted space without authorization.
Some people are frustrated by living near airports where they can’t fly their drones legally without notification or authorization, so the FAA provide LAANC-Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capacity for pilots who will learn how to use it. I’m lucky to live in an area with no restrictions and would need to travel across town to find restricted airspace.