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10+ Best Tips For Flying a Drone at Night (2022 Updated)

By: Richard J. Gross
Updated On: November 19, 2022

With the ever-growing popularity of drones, it's no surprise that people are now using them for all sorts of activities, including flying at night. While flying a drone at night can be a great experience, there are some things you need to keep in mind to stay safe and legal.

Although flying a drone at night is generally safe, there are some risks that you need to be aware of. No worry, though; as long as you take the necessary precautions, you'll be able to fly your drone safely and legally at night. In this article, we'll give you some tips on flying drones at night.

Providing a Foundation

Tips For Flying a Drone at Night

The first thing you need to do when flying a drone at night is to make sure that the drone is equipped with proper lighting. This means having both a front and rear light, as well as an anti-collision light. The front and rear lights will help you see the drone, while the anti-collision light will help others see the drone.

Next, you need to make sure that you are familiar with the drone's controls before taking off. This is especially important at night when it can be more difficult to see the drone. Spend some time practicing in a well-lit area so that you feel comfortable flying the drone at night.

Finally, you need to make sure that you are flying in an area that is safe for night flying. This means avoiding areas with lots of people or traffic. It's also a good idea to avoid flying over water or other areas where it would be difficult to land the drone if something went wrong.

With these basics in mind, you should be ready to fly your drone at night. Just remember to take things slowly at first and to be aware of your surroundings.

Pilots who have not taken the knowledge test

If you have not yet taken the knowledge test to become a licensed drone operator, you should not fly at night. Flying a drone at night without a license is illegal and can result in fines and jail time.

So, if you're interested in flying a drone at night, make sure you are familiar with the basics and take the necessary precautions. And, of course, always operate your drone safely and within the law.

For currently licensed Par 107 Drone Pilots

If you are currently licensed to operate a drone under Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, you are allowed to fly at night. However, there are some restrictions you need to be aware of.

  • First, you must have a waiver from the FAA to fly at night. You can apply for a waiver by filling out form 8710-13.
  • Second, you must have your drone illuminated with anti-collision lights. These lights must be visible for at least 3 miles.
  • Third, you must maintain a visual line of sight with the drone at all times. This means that you cannot fly the drone out of your sight.
  • Finally, you must not fly over any populated areas.

Therefore, be careful to understand the fundamentals and take the appropriate safety measures if you're interested in flying a drone at night. And, of course, always fly your drone legally and safely.

Requirement of Anti-collision Lights

All drones must be equipped with anti-collision lights when flying at night. These lights help other pilots see your drone and avoid collisions.

The FAA requires that these lights be visible for at least 3 miles. That means they need to be pretty bright!

There are a few different types of anti-collision lights available, so make sure you choose one that is bright enough and that you can see from a distance. You can find these lights at most drone stores or online.

Additional Cautions for Drone Operations at Night

Tips For Flying a Drone at Night

1. Survey the Area in Daylight

The most important thing you can do to prepare for flying a drone at night is to survey the area you'll be flying in during the daytime. This will help you identify any potential hazards, such as power lines or trees. You'll also get a feel for the layout of the area, which will be helpful when it's dark.

2. Plan your Operations

When you're flying a drone at night, it's important to have a plan and stick to it. That way, if something goes wrong, you know what to do. Make sure you know the route you're going to take and have a backup plan in case you lose sight of your drone.

3. Bring spare Anti-collision Lights

It's always a good idea to bring spare anti-collision lights with you when flying at night. That way, if one light fails, you have a backup. It also helps to have more than one light so that you can see your drone from multiple angles.

4. Light up your landing site as well

If you're flying a drone that doesn't have built-in landing lights, make sure you light up your landing site as well. This will help you see the landing site and avoid any hazards. This can be done with flashlights, lanterns, or even flares.

5. Fly at Higher Altitudes

Flying at higher altitudes can help you avoid obstacles and give you more time to react if something goes wrong. It's also a good idea to fly in areas with fewer trees and buildings. This will give you more room to maneuver if you need to.

6. Don't fly over People

You should always avoid flying over people, especially at night. If something goes wrong and your drone falls, it could injure someone. It's also important to avoid flying near airports or other areas where there are aircraft.

7. Complete your Pre-flight Checklist

Before you take off, it's important to complete a pre-flight checklist. This will help you make sure everything is ready for takeoff and that you haven't forgotten anything. It can also help you troubleshoot any issues before they become a problem.

8. Stay within sight of your Drone

It's important to stay within sight of your drone at all times, especially at night. That way, if something goes wrong, you can see it and take action. If you lose sight of your drone, it's important to land it immediately.

9. Be aware of the Weather

The weather can have a big impact on drone flight, so it's important to be aware of it. If it's windy, for example, your drone could be blown off course. And if it's raining or snowing, your drone could get wet and stop working.

10. Know when to Stop

If you're not comfortable flying at night, it's important to know when to stop. It's better to be safe than sorry. If you have any doubts, it's always a good idea to consult with a professional before taking off.

Conclusion

Flying a drone at night can be a great way to get unique photos and videos. But it's important to be prepared and take extra precautions. This article provided tips to follow while flying a drone at night, which included surveying the area, having a plan, bringing spare anti-collision lights, etc.

The article also discussed the importance of knowing when to stop if you’re not comfortable flying at night. By following the tips above, you can make sure you have a safe and successful flight.

Thanks for reading!

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Richard J. Gross

Hi, my name is Richard J. Gross and I’m a full-time Airbus pilot and commercial drone business owner. I got into drones in 2015 when I started doing aerial photography for real estate companies. I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, but it turns out that police were called on me shortly after I started flying. They didn’t like me flying my drone near people, so they asked me to come train their officers on the rules and regulations for drones. After that, I decided to start my own drone business and teach others about the safe and responsible use of drones.

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