According to a report from NPD, “drone sales have grown 224% year-over-year to nearly $200 million,” and it’s clear that there are no signs of slowing down. What’s often not clear though, are the rules and regulations when it comes to flying a drone. It’s not such a surprise that there is so much confusion out there. After all, the FAA has been scrambling for the last few years to put guidelines in place for hobbyist and professional drone pilots alike; adding, amending, and changing laws by the minute it seems.

Whether you have a drone you fly for fun or you use one as part of your photography/videography services, you need to be up-to-date on the directives from the FAA because, “I didn’t know,” won’t be a valid excuse to get you out of trouble, or out of paying fines. The following video is a recent class taught at B&H Photo in New York by Grady Boyce of Sky Genaviation and Parker Gyokeres of Propellerheads Aerial Photography. They break down the current drone environment, the laws, rules and directives from the FAA and how to operate your drone so you don’t end up in the news.


The lecture is about 1 hour and 46 minutes long, and is packed full of information ranging from the role of the FAA in drone flying; the different types of drone operations (hobbyist/recreational, business/commercial, public); the Section 333 Exemption, and ending with safety and operational tips. Some of the important points that are covered:

  • Guidelines for Hobbyist/Recreational Use (Minute 17:00)
  • Guidelines for Commercial Operations (Minute 20:45)
  • If you are using your drone for commercial purposes, you need to have a Section 333 Exemption until the FAR Part 107 comes into effect (Minute 23:44)
  • Is insurance required to operate under a 333 and what types? (Minute 36:54)
  • Other important certificates, registration and legislations (Minute 38:36)


The second half of the lecture (Minute 50:00) talks about the safety and operations of flying a drone with many practical tips for drone pilots. Important points in this section include:

  • Practical rules about flying learned from experience (1:04:00)
  • General Tips for flying drones (1:19:00)

If you own a drone or are thinking about purchasing one, be sure to watch this video as it is a valuable resource for drone owners. If you’re looking to purchase a drone, check out B&H Photo here.