While you may feel nice and comfortable taking your copter or drone out to your local park or school for some afternoon flying, you should do yourself a favor and check your local laws and make sure you aren’t risking some serious fines by flying where you are not supposed to. The reality is that most cities have very strict regulations on where you can fly and where you can’t. Many cities actually forbid the flying of model aircraft of sUAV’s (Sport unmanned aerial vehicles).
Special Flying Fields
If you are lucky, you may have a local model aircraft field near you, here in southern California I have three or four pretty good fields I can fly at with one of them run by the city of Costa Mesa. Most likely any field you can fly out will require either AMA membership or proof of insurance. AMA Membership consists of:
- Age 19-65 – $58
- 65 & over – $48
- Under 19 (as of July 1st) – Free
- Additional family members – $30
- $2,500,000 personal liability insurance coverage
- $25,000 Medical Coverage-AD&D Policy ($10,000 Death Benefit)
- $1,000 Fire, Theft, and Vandalism coverage
- Model Aviation monthly magazine
- Access to members only section of website
- Ability to fly at thousands of AMA chartered club sites with appropriate club membership
While $60 may seem a little steep for some occasional park flying, the insurance benefits are well worth it if your bird crashes into someone’s expensive car and does a number on the paint job. Keep in mind that any city is going to want to avoid getting sued over you smacking someone in the head in a public park and your hexacopter giving the person an unscheduled rhinoplasty. Having proper insurance will at minimum get you access to dedicated flying fields and in some cases allow you to fly in certain parks.
Do yourself a favor and check you local laws and make sure you are not breaking any laws and most certainly look into insurance or AMA membership.
AMA Website: http://www.modelaircraft.org