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Can You Fly a Drone in Your Backyard?

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If you’ve read this blog, you know that you can choose just about anywhere when it comes to where you’ll fly your drone.

That doesn’t always mean venturing all over this great, big world though. Newer drone pilots might want to keep it local, and we mean very local, such as flying in their backyards.

Can you fly a drone in your backyard?

You can fly a drone in your backyard if the neighborhood has uncontrolled airspace. You can even launch and land a drone in your yard, as it’s on your private property. You need permission if you launch or land your drone on someone else’s property.

This guide will take you through all the ins and outs of flying a drone in the backyard­–including the pros and cons–and discuss what to do when you want to fly further.

Make sure you don’t miss it!

Can you fly a drone in your backyard? #

When first learning to use a drone, the backyard is one of the most natural places to practice. Fortunately, this activity is perfectly legal in most circumstances.

The FAA creates aviation rules in the United States. To protect all aircraft, some areas are classified as uncontrolled airspace and others as no-fly zones.

Class G or uncontrolled airspace is a drone pilot’s best friend.

These skies are free and open for you to take your drone and enjoy practicing with it, taking photos and videos, and doing stunts and tricks.

No-fly zones are restricted airspace where drones cannot enter. The FAA usually classifies airspace as restricted due to proximity to a military base or airport.

The airspace will be closer than five miles to these areas, where manned aircraft are likely to be prevalent.

Before you decide whether you can fly a drone in your backyard, you should download a drone mapping tool or app if you don’t already have one.

Some options to try are DroneDeploy, DJI Go (if you own a DJI drone), and B4UFLY, the FAA’s app.

If you see your home engulfed in red, it’s part of a no-fly zone. Perhaps your home is located in a bubble of yellow. In that case, it’s part of a warning zone.

It’s not illegal to use a drone in a warning zone, but you should do so cautiously and at your own risk.

The benefits of flying a drone in your backyard #

Using a drone in your backyard can be highly advantageous for the following reasons.

Fly in an environment you’re comfortable #

If you’re new to using drones (and we assume you are if you’re asking whether you can legally fly in your backyard), you’re excited at the thought of operating a drone for the first time, but you’re admittedly nervous too.

Flying in a new environment will only compound your anxiety. By comparison, you know your backyard innately well.

This should put your mind at ease so you can focus on having fun and absorbing as much knowledge about drones as you can during those initial few flights.

Practice in privacy #

When you’re new at something and trying to get better, you don’t exactly want a crowd watching you.

It’s embarrassing, as you’re not that good yet, but you’ll feel compelled to do more than what you’re capable of.

That causes you to make even more mistakes, and you could even damage your drone in the process.

Your backyard is a private place. If you have a fence around the perimeter, it won’t be easy for neighbors or anyone else on your street to see you practicing with your drone.

Fly without any other drones or aircraft around #

Since you’re still new to flying drones, you don’t exactly have the best degree of control over your UAV yet. You’re still getting there.

However, you recognize that anytime you use your drone, it could hit something, and you want to minimize that risk as much as possible.

When you fly in your backyard, you’re the only drone around.

You don’t have to worry about other drones getting in the way like they would at a park, nor do you have to stress about the risk of coming into contact with manned aircraft.

Fly without other people around #

I already mentioned that you don’t want eyes on your drone while you practice, but there’s another people-related benefit to flying in your backyard: you’re at less risk of hitting someone.

Drones can cause serious injury when they collide with a person. Unless yours has propeller guards, then the drone has sharp edges that can lacerate the skin.

You don’t want that on your head when you’re just trying to learn how your drone works and how to fly it.

Your backyard is a controlled environment where you can keep others out so you don’t put them at risk.

The downsides of flying a drone in your backyard #

As much as we recommend practicing drone flight in your backyard if it’s legal where you live and you have the opportunity, we’d be remiss not to look at the downsides of this exercise.

Let’s do that now.

The noise and sight of your drone could annoy your neighbors #

If you live on a quiet street and your drone suddenly rises like a phoenix on a tranquil afternoon, your neighbors on either side of you will notice.

Some drones are certainly quieter than others, but none are noiseless. Even if they were, sometimes, people can get annoyed by the mere sight of your drone.

Now, if you’re using your drone legally, i.e., flying it over your property or other properties in the neighborhood, not using your drone to spy on or harass anyone, and not launching or landing the drone from private property, guess what?

ou’re totally within your rights to continue using your drone.

However, you and your neighbors might not see eye-to-eye on this matter. They could choose to get the police involved.

Even if you do use your drone legally, the police might recommend you cease the activity to prevent the matter from escalating with your neighbor.

That’s what we’d recommend you do anyway, ideally before the police get involved.

You want to keep the peace with your neighbor, and if that means using your drone elsewhere in your neighborhood or even at a local park, it’s worth doing.

You’ll get bored sooner than later #

Another downside of flying a drone in your backyard is the inevitable boredom.

Once you become more familiar with how your drone works and master the basics of flying (and maybe some more advanced concepts too), you’ll want to expand your horizons.

Beyond the backyard and into the neighborhood! What you need to know #

When you do get the itch to expand your horizons, know that you can fly mostly free if your neighborhood is uncontrolled airspace.

You must follow FAA rules and state and local guidelines too.

You’re legally permitted to fly your drone over your next-door neighbor’s property on either side of you and the other neighbors on your street. You can even take your drone all over the neighborhood.

Now, does that mean the other neighbors on your block or around town have to like it?

No, they don’t. As we discussed earlier, you might want to consider limiting your drone flight radius just to keep the peace.

We also want to make it clear that there’s a difference between flying your drone over someone’s property and using your drone to try and look into their property.

The latter is stalking and/or harassment according to many state laws and local ordinances.

If you’re caught using your drone in a harassing manner, you’ll often receive a fine.

Your case will go to a judge, and you might even get jailtime depending on the severity of the crime and the laws in your neck of the woods,

Also, while you’re allowed to freely fly a drone over someone else’s property in your neighborhood, it’s a totally different ballgame if you want to launch or land your drone.

You’d then invade someone else’s private property, which is largely illegal. It’s one thing if you know the person who lives in the house and can ask them for verbal permission. Then you’re in the clear.

You can also obtain written permission if you want to be extra official about matters. If you don’t have permission, don’t encroach on someone’s private property with your drone.

Flying a drone in your backyard is a great way to get comfortable with using a new drone and practicing your skills.

You’re in a relatively private environment without people and other aircraft.

Once you eventually leave your yard, don’t launch or land your drone on private property without permission, and don’t use your drone to invade someone else’s privacy!


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