UAVUS Best Practices are intended to establish safe minimum standards when using UAVs both commercially and recreationally.
By becoming a UAVUS member, you pledge to operate your UAV with respect for others’ safety, privacy, and property rights while maintaining high standards for operational skills and airworthiness of your UAV. To that end, all UAVUS members promise to follow these minimum ethical and operational standards:
• When required, notify the appropriate FAA facility of the launch schedule and location.
• Survey the area of operation for hazards that might compromise the flight, then make a judgment as to whether to proceed.
• Check the weather for wind speed, cloud cover and any forecast changes that might adversely affect flight safety and performance.
• Examine the aircraft ⎯ looking at connections and searching for cracks and loose parts.
• Determine that the electronic elements are performing correctly.
• Determine that the barometric altimeter reflects approximately 0 feet AGL.
• Following takeoff, the Pilot in Charge (PIC) will hover at an altitude of approximately 10 feet to assure that the home return point is established.
• Exercise all controls to confirm their functionality ⎯ if one of the controls is not functioning, the mission will be terminated immediately.
• Operate with a Visual Observer (VO) who will double-check for possible flight hazards and assist when circumstances require a quick landing.
• Do not fly above dense traffic or crowds.
• Always give right-of-way to manned aircraft.
• Stay clear of FAA-controlled airspace at airports (generally a five nautical mile radius), as well as restricted and prohibited zones.
• Fly no higher than 400′ AGL and no further than 1000′ from the home point, recognizing the primary responsibility is to safely keep the aircraft within VLOS.
• Perform a post-flight check of the UAV to determine its physical and electronic condition.
• Gain express permission to fly above any and all property within flight plan.
• Follow a preflight checklist confirming battery charge, propeller connection, motor function, etc.
• Calibrate compass before each flight.
• Never fly in high wind or threat of precipitation.
• Set maximum height and radius flight limits in intelligent controller if possible.
• Use low battery warning audible alarms from the controller to return to home, and land well before battery capacity falls below 30 percent.