With drones taking over the skies literally and figuratively I wanted to launch higher into how they are being used locally. I was shocked to learn that I missed out on an opportunity to see drones first hand in my area. Bummer. On June 1, 2019 the Gateway Gardens hosted the “Drone Rodeo & RC Expo.” This afternoon of fun which lasted from 1pm to 6pm had free admission. Double bummer. Attendees were able to patronize venders, race drones, as well as learn about the FAA rules and regulations. Aligned with my most recent inquiries about drones this expo would have been ideal for me to attend.
Guilford county seems to be branching out into the drone world. The Greensboro Parks and Recreations representative told WFMY that they are working on having spaces for offiical drone racing, which could bring participants from all over the country.
After researching the requirements it seems that this is doable and would work well in North Carolina as it is okay to fly in North Carolina as a hobbyist. As long as you follow the rules listed below from NCDOT.org:
- Always fly below an altitude of 400 feet.
- Always fly within your direct line of sight.
- Always fly a sufficient distance from populated areas. Do not fly within 5 miles of an airport or near a stadium, prison, public event or directly over people.
- Do not fly at night.
- Do not fly an unmanned aircraft system or drone that weighs more than 55 pounds.
- Take lessons before flying.
It’s also noted that N.C. flyers do not have to register as a recreational user nor do they have to get a license from the Division of Aviation.
The way to test if this is a good idea would be to see how many would participate in the drone races and also see how the racers would feel about not making a profit on winning. Being that the drones are used for recreational use they are not able to make a profit (legally) while flying the drones. So much like horse racing, could those in attendance place bets on the drones and somehow the flyers are paid under the table as a nice donation? There’s so much to consider when thinking of keeping the drones flyers as hobbyist. The main question wold be if hobbyist are okay with receiving no types of incentatives which would be illegal. This could raise a push back from out-of-towners and out-of-staters, as most would like to travelin knowing their mileage was worth it
The next phase would be to have the flyers get a licencse and become registered for commercial use. This would be safer, and offer money as an incentative, but it would also limit participation for those who do not have funds or access to become legal.
I can only imagine that in the next few years or months we will go from racing animals to racing drones as a means of communial fun. Oh how times have changed.
NCDOT: Unmanned Aircraft Systems. (n.d.). Retrieved June 3, 2019, from https://www.ncdot.gov/divisions/aviation/uas/Pages/recreational-operators.aspx
W. (2019, June 02). WFMY’s Red Bird 2 Makes Appearance At Gateway Drone Rodeo & RC Expo! Retrieved June 3, 2019, from https://www.wfmynews2.com/article/news/wfmys-red-bird-2-makes-appearance-at-gateway-drone-rodeo-rc-expo/83-2d073f11-73ef-469d-8e3c-1069d0004fac
Kane, D. (2019, May 14). Gateway Gardens to host drone rodeo. Retrieved June 3, 2019, from https://www.greensboro.com/blogs/gotriad_extra/gateway-gardens-to-host-drone-rodeo/article_fee5420c-99e9-56df-9032-aacf1fd4a8a6.html