As an enthusiastic drone pilot, you must have found yourself in a situation where you need to fly your drone in impossible circumstances; this is more common if you are a commercial drone pilot. And, you need to fly in compliance with the FAA's drone laws while flying.
No, it is prohibited for a drone to hover around a moving car. The FAA forbids it, but there are some exceptions. Yes, you can make a drone hover in a moving vehicle. However, there must be enough space in the car, and the car's interior is completely sealed.
Before you try to hover your drone around or inside a moving car, there are some things you need to know. Understanding the dynamics of hovering a drone in and around a moving car allows you to know what to do and how to hover your drone correctly. In this blog post, we will provide all the information you need.
Can A Drone Hover Around A Moving Car?
Many people have asked if it is legal and allowed to fly a drone over a moving vehicle. Flying a drone over a moving vehicle is not as easy as it sounds, and this is why the FAA is particular about the law that regulates it.
There are two parts of the FAA laws that focus on flying a drone around a moving vehicle. The first part states that it is prohibited to operate a drone over a human, except if the person is inside a stationary vehicle or under a covered structure that can protect the person from a falling drone.
The second part states that the drone pilot must ensure that his drone will not pose any hazard to other people, aircraft, or properties if he loses control of the drone during flight. This part does not specifically talk about a moving vehicle, but it can be classified under properties.
The Federal Aviation Administration does not prohibit the hovering of a drone over a stationary vehicle. The rule is for moving vehicles, and it was enforced to reduce hazards. The hazards the FAA seeks to curb are:
- Car accidents that are the result of a crashing drone.
- The distraction of vehicle operators that can result in accidents.
If a drone crashes, the drone is damaged, and the piece of property it crashes on will also be damaged. However, the damages are more severe if it occurs on a busy highway. If a drone crashes near or into a moving vehicle, the vehicle could lose control, and an accident can occur, causing greater damage to lives and properties. The more vehicles on the road, the greater the damage caused by a crashing drone.
The FAA wants to avoid drivers being distracted by a hovering drone. Many people are used to seeing drones, but only a few have seen them operating over moving vehicles. If a driver spots a drone hovering over his vehicle, he could be distracted and could lose control of his vehicle. Most car accidents are a result of the driver getting distracted.
Although the Federal Aviation Administration can grant a waiver that allows a drone to fly over people, it does not grant waivers to allow drones to fly over moving vehicles because of the risk involved. The best way to go around this restriction is to avoid flying over moving vehicles.
However, the Federal Aviation Administration only allows a drone to hover a moving vehicle if the vehicle's passengers are directly involved in the drone's operation. If you are shooting a film and you have three cars, the drone can hover around the cars because all passengers are involved in the film.
Can A Drone Hover Inside A Moving Car?
As strange and surprising as it might sound, you can fly a drone inside a car. Many people are not aware of this. As long as there is enough space in the vehicle, the interior is sealed, and there are zero external factors that add drag to the drone and can interfere with the lift generated by its propellers.
Before a drone can take off inside a moving car, the car must be moving at a constant speed. The interior of the car must be closed off from the outside, so all windows must be closed. This is to ensure that no external force is acting on the air inside the car.
There is a law of motion also called inertia. An object will remain stationary unless an external force acts on it. As long as there are no external forces and the car maintains a constant speed, your drone can take off and hover inside a moving vehicle. Once the car starts slowing down, the air inside the car slows down as well. However, if the car stops abruptly, the air in the car will slosh around, and the drone will crash.
Hovering a drone inside a moving car can be dangerous if it is not done carefully and with caution. The spinning propeller of a drone can cut a person if it crashes. Flying a drone in a car without enough space or with other passengers in the car is the most dangerous thing to do.
Another risky activity is to drive a car and fly a drone at the same time. Flying a drone while driving a car is distracting, and as stated previously, a distracted driver is the major cause of car accidents. Drones are not configured to match up to the speed of cars.
Flying a drone from a moving vehicle is prohibited by the Federal Aviation Administration. Among the drone laws is one that prohibits drones from being operated from vehicles. However, there is an exception to this law; you must be in a sparsely populated area. If you want to fly your drone from a moving vehicle, you can do it in an uninhabited area or on private property.
FAA Drone Laws
There are rules of the road when driving that ensure the safety of every road user. In the same way, there are also rules of the sky when flying a drone. Violating one of these laws will result in prosecution. These are the FAA drone laws you must abide by when flying a drone:
- Avoid manned aircraft, like airplanes and helicopters, when flying a drone.
- Avoid flying a drone over people, except they are directly involved in the drone's operation.
- You must never fly or operate more than one drone at a time. Nor can you be a visual observer for more than one drone operation at a time.
- You must always maintain a visual line of sight with your drone. If you are using First-Person View, there must be a visual observer watching the drone. You must not use visual aids like binoculars or telescopes.
- Flying a drone from a moving aircraft or vehicle is prohibited except if you are in a sparsely populated area and you are not transporting any property for hire or compensation.
- You can fly a drone during the daytime, 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.
- The maximum speed you can fly a drone is 100 mph.
- You can request a waiver from the FAA if you can prove your operation will provide a level of safety equivalent to the restriction you want to waive.
Flying a drone from a moving vehicle can be a fun activity when you fly with caution and care. It takes a certain level of skill to fly a drone over a moving vehicle, and it takes more skill to fly a drone in a car. If you are learning to fly a drone, it is best to avoid vehicles. Your safety should be your first consideration before you participate in any drone operation.
Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.