30 Drone Questions- Check Your Expert Level

Table of Contents

1. What are RTF drones?

"Ready-to-fly" drones are consumer level drones that just about anyone can purchase and operate.

2. In what year did the United States first deploy an armed drone?

In 2001, the U.S. was the first country to use a modern drone in a combat zone.

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3. Which segment of American society is opposed to the use of the word “drone”?

Professionals and legislators find "drone" to be a lazy term; they prefer the term "unmanned aerial vehicles" (UAVs).

4. In 2014, entrepreneurs in Minnesota were grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after using drones to deliver what product to fishermen at a local lake?

A brewery named Lakemaid delivered its beer to thirsty fishermen, who were disappointed once the FAA ended the project.

5. True or false: Drones are banned at U.S. national parks.

Government regulators decided that it was best to ban drones from parks until legislation can address these rapidly developing technologies.

6. What are UCAVs?

Unmanned combat aerial vehicles can spy on enemies and fire weapons from afar without putting a pilot's life at risk.

7. As of 2016, the FAA limits consumer drones to what maximum altitude?

Higher than 400 feet and the FAA worries that drones could collide with low-flying aircraft, particularly as planes are landing or taking off.

8. Before 2016, the FAA limited drones to what maximum altitude?

It limited them to 200 feet. The FAA relaxed its rules in part to give operators a longer leash and more flexibility in the tasks they can achieve with their drones.

9. Which sort of drone was used in the first-ever UCAV strike in the war in Afghanistan?

A Predator drone tried (and failed) to kill Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar. UCAV attacks eventually became a routine tactic.

10. The FAA’s 2016 regulations rule that consumer drone pilots must be what minimum age?

In many states, 16 years old is also the minimum age for driver's licenses.

11. What’s the top speed of the MQ-1 Predator?

It's not particularly fast, but the drone can cruise for long periods of time waiting for a chance to strike.

12. According to FAA drone regulations in the Part 107 rule, what is the maximum weight for consumer drones?

At 55 pounds, drones could cause plenty of damage if they crashed into the wrong place at the wrong time.

13. True or false: U.S. consumers must register their drones with the FAA.

If your drone weighs more than half a pound, you must register it with the FAA; this process can be completed online.

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14. Why did Iceland ban the use of consumer drones at Vatnajokull National Park?

The top reason was to protect falcons, but the idea is to preserve the natural experience for all guests, too.

15. Vayu is a company that builds drones for what purpose?

Vayu is making drones that can deliver medicine to remote rural locations or even retrieve samples for testing.

16. True or false: With appropriate lighting, you can fly a consumer drone after sunset and before sunrise.

Consumer drones are for daylight hours only, otherwise you'll run afoul of the law.

17. FAA regulations say that you CANNOT fly a drone within how many miles of sporting events that have 30,000 or more spectators?

Large sporting events are no-fly zones for hobbyist drones. Drones must be kept at a distance of at least 3 miles.

18. As of 2015, the FAA indicated that most “close encounters” (or potentially dangerous close calls) happened when drones flew at what altitude?

The median altitude for close calls was around 2,000 feet, far higher than the legal limit of 400 feet.

19. What was the end result when a tourist crashed a drone into Yellowstone National Park’s Grand Prismatic Spring in 2014?

The drone remained lost in the iconic spring, and the tourist was fined thousands of dollars for disregarding the law.

20. True or false: In the U.S., it is illegal to fly a drone over other people.

FAA regulations specify that you cannot fly a drone over other people, or you could be fined.

21. Per FAA rules, what’s the maximum ground speed of a consumer drone?

At 100 miles per hour, many novice operators may find their drones making craters before they get the hang of flying.

22. How many Americans registered their hobbyist drones from December 2015 to February 2016?

Three hundred thirty thousand is only about one-third of people who bought drones and were supposed to complete the registration process. If people continue to buck the process, the laws may become more stringent.

23. “Micro” drones are those that have what maximum weight?

Drones that weigh less than 4.4 pounds are in the "micro" category, but they can still fly (illegally) thousands of feet high.

24. True or false: If you’re flying a drone within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of an airport, you should contact the control tower in advance to announce your activity.

Ten miles is an excessive cushion, but best practices state that if you're 5 miles or closer, it's a good idea to let airport workers know about your drone.

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25. What is the maximum fine for flying a drone in U.S. national parks?

In addition to a $5,000 fine, violators can be banned from parks for a certain time period.

26. What’s the maximum jail time for illegally flying a drone in a national park?

Habitual offenders (or those who cause damage or harm) could wind up in the slammer for half a year.

27. True or false: A visual observer (VO) is required for operators who fly drones within 10 miles of any airport.

A VO is not required by FAA regulations, but if you have a tendency to lose sight of your drone, a VO is a very good idea.

28. What is the Boeing Echo Voyager?

At more than 50 feet (15 meters) long, the Voyager will glide through the ocean depths, collecting information for military, commercial and science projects.

29. As of 2016, which company sells the most consumer drones?

Chinese company DJI sells some of the most popular drones in the world. Its Phantom series is especially affordable and powerful.

30. As of 2016, how many businesses have received FAA permission to proceed with their commercial operation plans?

More than 5,000 businesses have received permission. Millions of drones are being sold in the U.S. alone, and some studies say that drones could help create more than 100,000 jobs in the next decade.

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