Know Before You Fly is a campaign that has been developed to promote safety to drone enthusiasts and is supported predominately by an educational website.
One of the first public initiatives of the campaign was an animated video published before Christmas 2014 in readiness for the correctly predicted upsurge in drone as seasonal gifts. The video promoted best practices which includes the staples of flying less than 400ft, keeping the drone in line of sight, practicing with local flying clubs and not flying near airports or manned aircraft. The video is an approachable introduction to pilot safety.
The campaign was founded by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The AUVSI is the world’s largest non-profit dedicated to unmanned systems and robotics. The AMA is the most prominent community-based organization in the USA for model aircraft hobbyists currently with 175,000 members and growing. The FAA is the regulatory body that governs US airspace.
The regulatory framework for drones is still evolving as the industry is moving at such a rapid pace. The ‘Know Before You Fly’ campaign is crucial in the industry’s development because many new pilots are simply not aware of the rules and regulations governing both the hobby and commercial use of drones.
The campaign website also has useful information for government entities including for first responders, publicly-funded universities and federal entities.
The initiative has a number of ‘heavy hitter’ industry supporters. One of the most prominent of those supporters is DJI, the drone manufacturing industry leader. In alignment with their support for the campaign, all DJI’s drone products are designed with safety as a priority. For example, The DJI Mavic Pro has a range of safety features, including obstacle avoidance and an intelligent return to home capability. The company continues to innovate in the area of safety. A most recent demonstration of this is the release of the DJI Mavic Propeller Guard which ensures overall flight safety by protecting people and objects from spinning propellers.
The ‘Know Before You Fly’ campaign also has a popular Facebook group and an associated app, available for both iOS and Android smart devices. The app helps drone operators confirm if any requirements or restrictions are in effect in their location of flight. It includes a status indicator immediately alerting the pilot of restrictions in their area, a ‘planner mode’ for future flights in different locations, interactive maps and links to other resources.
With these and continued innovations, the ‘Know Before You Fly’ campaign continues to be both a resource for seasoned drone enthusiasts and a welcoming entry point for pilots new to the industry.