Drones and RVing
Love ’em or hate ’em, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (aka drones) aren’t disappearing anytime soon. If you haven’t encountered RVers with drones yet, odds are good that you will in the next year or two. But despite their growing popularity, unmanned aircraft are a controversial topic in and out of the campground.
A stunning drone view.For instance, in the iRV2 Discussion Forum topic “Drones and RV traveling,” djbmsu writes:
“I fly the Inspire 1 and have flown at most every campground we have been in with absolutely no problems or complaints from anyone. I have some stunning pictures and video that we share with family, friends and post on Facebook.”
On the other side of the fence, UTTransplant writes:
“Big issues with drones in parks, all national parks prohibit them, and state parks are getting the same way. I understand the fun, but they are incredibly invasive with their motor sound in pristine areas. They have also been used to harass wildlife, either on purpose or by accident. I am thrilled the FAA is putting rules on them.”
Humans aren’t the only ones to voice their opinions about drones in the wild, animals are too. Fantastic footage of killer bees swarming a quadcopter and an eagle who took out a drone mid flight are just two of many drone-versus-animal movies popping up all over the Internet.
In addition, researchers at the University of Minnesota announced the results of a wildlife study which reveals that when bears are aware of a drone nearby, “their heart rates soar, a sign of acute stress,” says the 2015 paper called “Bears Show a Physiological but Limited Behavioral Response to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”
As the arguments for and against drones unfold, new drone regulations are being created almost daily to guide drone users into safe and responsible flying. For example drones must now be registered with the FAA. Once a user is licensed they face many restrictions on where they can actually fly them. If a drone pilot is caught flying in an illegal airspace, the consequences could result in a citation by local law enforcement authorities.
Whether you want to use a drone to scout out a good boondocking location, or you’re one of many RVers with drones who want to take scenic photos of a stunning wilderness area, always check with local authorities to verify where you can fly your drone.
And if you want to stay on friendly terms with your campground neighbors, always fly responsibly and follow FAA rules for Unmanned Aircraft Systems which include:
- Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
- Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
- Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
- Don’t fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
- Don’t fly near people or stadiums
- Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 pounds
- Don’t be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft; you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft
- The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Drone
- Game of Drones: Fun Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Drones
What’s your opinion about RVers with drones in the outdoors? Share them with us below or in the iRV2 Discussion Forums!
I’d love to own a drone. I think they are neat. But not in the campground area. Maybe a one time around for photos of the campground but then away from people. They can be unnerving to some people as well as annoying to all except the operator.
Jaimie Bruzenak says
`While drones have some positives, there are too many negatives and irresponsible or unskilled operators. I would prefer them to be only used for science and for search and rescue. Negatives include stressing wildlife, even when not on purpose; invading privacy (peering in windows); and disturbing what should be pristine wilderness areas.
I love the thought of being able to see a place from above. But owning a drone is like owning a gun. It’s ethical and safe use depends entirely on the person controlling it.
Our one experience with a drone at a state park was when the owner hovered close to our back window. Shades were up, so you can guess how intrusive that was. If I could have gotten outside fast enough, I would have taken it down with a rock.
I love to see drone pictures and videos taken of beautiful and unreachable places. I don’t see anything wrong with a flyover of a campground so the drone user has some nice views to remember the stay in the park. Hovering one over a person or campsite is not right. But a flyover should not be a problem.
There will always be people that want to harass or be annoying to others. I have seen drone operators doing just that. But I have also seen non drone operators harassing legit drone pilots who did nothing wrong and the drone in question is a half mile away looking down at a river or waterfall. It takes two to tango.
The FCC has rules in place. For the most part drone pilots want to be able to fly and respect other people so they follow the rules so they can continue to fly and enjoy this wonderful hobby. There are bad apples in every basket, but in my opinion the good pilots out number the bad ones.
I hope to be one of those good pilots this summer.
Remember there are several types of drones.
1 = the ones this article is about, known as Photo drones. they are the largest and slowest. and to me, the most obnoxious. walmart and everybody else seems to sell them to morons mostly.
2 = Racing drones, mostly about 1/2 the size of a photo drone but MUCH faster. – 60 to 80mph is common. owners are mostly very careful about flying around other people.
3 = Whoop or Tiny Whoop drones which fit in the palm of your hand. not suitable for outdoor flying if theres much wind at all. most have guards on them so that if they do hit a person, theres no damage.