Can You Fly Your Drone at Night?

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Rules, Tips, and Advice for Night Drone Flying

Night drone flying has undergone a significant shift in regulations, offering more flexibility for both Part 107 and recreational drone pilots. 

As of mid-2021, the need for complex waivers and authorizations to fly at night has been lifted, but there are specific requirements and safety considerations to keep in mind.

Night Flying Without Waivers

The good news for drone pilots is that both Part 107 and recreational drone pilots can now take to the night skies without the need for a waiver. 

However, to ensure safe and legal night operations, certain conditions must be met.

  • Online Recurring Training: 

To operate a drone at night legally, pilots must complete online recurring training or update their initial knowledge test. Staying informed and up-to-date is crucial for responsible night flying.

  • Collision Avoidance Lighting: 

Night-flying drones must be equipped with collision avoidance lighting visible up to three statute miles. 

These lights should flash at a rate sufficient to avoid collisions. 

While some drones come with built-in lights, it’s essential to ensure they meet the specified requirements. Investing in aftermarket strobe lights, such as popular choices like Lume Cube strobes, might be necessary.

It is also important to have a Visual Observer (VO) when flying at night. This additional layer of safety, combined with proper lighting, contributes to secure night operations.

Safety Tips for Night Drone Flying

Beyond meeting regulatory requirements, here are some practical tips for ensuring safe night drone flying:

  • Daylight Survey: 

Before launching your drone at night, conduct a survey of the area during daylight hours. This helps identify potential obstacles like guide wires and power lines that may be challenging to spot in the dark.

  • Additional Lighting: 

Enhance safety by using extra lights to illuminate your landing area. This not only ensures safety during the operation but also serves as a visual indicator for others that a drone operation is in progress.

  • Maintain a Normal Checklist: 

Adhere to your regular pre-flight checklist but pay extra attention to lighting and maintenance when preparing for night operations.

  • Fly Higher: 

Flying at a higher altitude enhances obstacle avoidance. If you need close-up shots, consider using a drone equipped with a zoom or optical zoom camera.

Advice for Aspiring Drone Professionals

For individuals aspiring to build a career using drones, we have some valuable advice:

  • Follow Your Passion: 

Choose a niche aligned with your interests and expertise. Enjoying what you do is crucial for long-term success.

  • Connect with Other Drone Pilots: 

Instead of viewing fellow drone pilots as competitors, focus on building relationships and collaborating. Establishing a network can be beneficial, especially during busy times or emergencies.

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Drone Launch Academy has helped over 40,000 drone pilots learn how to fly drones, pass the Part 107 Exam, and learn the skills they need to start making money with drones.

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