Myrtle Beach is always a great spot to spend the day with family and friends, and it has some fantastic views that would look great if shot with a drone! But can you fly there?
The city of Myrtle Beach does not have any rules or regulations prohibiting or limiting the use of drones within city limits, according to city spokesman Mark Kruea. That means the city defers to federal rules and regulations on drones. However, FAA drone rules can cause issues with a flight around a beach.
Keep reading to find out what laws are and how you can fly in Myrtle Beach.
Rules and Regulations You Need to Follow When Flying at The Beach
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has no laws that would prevent drone enthusiasts from flying drones at the beach.
However, flying a drone will still require you to follow the regular drone rules and regulations.
Some of these rules and regulations may cause a problem for you while flying and could make your flight illegal, so you need to pay attention to them.
Here are a few of those laws:
Law 01: Maintain Visual Line of Sight
When flying your drone at the beach, it is very tempting to fly the drone out to sea or along the coastline.
Especially when participating in some drone fishing, however, there is a limitation to how far you can go.
The FAA does not allow drone pilots to lose sight of the drone they are flying.
They need to be able to see the drone in plain sight.
The visual line of sight must be maintained either by the pilot or someone assisting the pilot as an observer.
So even though you might have a drone like the DJI brand of drones that are able to fly miles away from its controller without disconnecting, if you can’t see it, then you are breaching the FAA’s rules and regulations, and you could end up with a fine.
Unfortunately, you can’t use a drone’s FPV (First Person View) camera to keep an eye on the drone either.
Another thing you need to do is check the weather conditions. I am sure that you would have done this already before coming to the beach.
Law 02: Stay Below Maximum Allowable Altitude
FAA drone rules and regulations require drone pilots to fly their drones between 400 feet.
This is meant to stop potential collisions between various manned aircraft and drones.
The max height for drone flight is different in every country so make sure to check first when traveling.
Law 03: Don’t Fly Over People
This is the most important rule to follow when flying a drone at the beach. Since beaches are filled with people from the pier to pier you need to be very careful. Why?
The FAA has a law that you are not allowed to fly your drone directly over people.
The number of people you fly over does not matter either, this rule applies to fly over a single person or a group of people that are not part of the flight.
Even though a certain viewpoint might look beautiful, you can’t do this as drone flight over people is not promoted.
Popular beaches will usually have many people with families spending the day at the beach, so you probably won’t be able to fly your drone unless you move away from people.
Law 04: Pay Attention To Community Based Guidelines
There are various levels of rules and regulations that all enthusiasts must be mindful of:
- National Law: The National laws are the various laws put together by the FAA for all pilots in the country need to follow.
- State Law: The State laws are the different laws put together by the various States in order to regulate drones in that specific State.
- City Laws: City laws that are put together by the different cities within a state to control the use of drones in that City.
Each and every one of these laws is important for you to follow if you want to fly legally and safely. This is also why it is important to do your research about the area you wish to fly in.
You can always find the information you need by looking for it on the internet or you could ask your local authority to make sure that you are abiding by the laws.
If you do research and find that the area you are looking to fly in does not have any designated rules regarding drones, then you need to follow the regular rules set out by the country’s aviation authority, the FAA.
Law 05: Stay Away From Airports
As a pilot, you should know that flying anywhere within 5 miles of an airport is strictly prohibited by the FAA.
Some airports are located really close to popular beaches and therefore flying a drone in that area is automatically not allowed.
As a hobbyist drone pilot is possible to get permission to fly near an airport by requesting authorization via the LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability) system.
It is important to do your research about the area you will be flying your drone to make sure you are not breaking any rules and regulations while trying to fly on a beach.
3 Tips For Flying at Myrtle Beach
You might have flown drones in many places over the years, but one thing I can tell you is that flying at the beach is a whole new experience.
The beach has more laws to consider, and this makes it difficult to fly there.
Here are some tips for flying at the beach:
Tip 01: Don’t Fly Too Low or Too High
When flying at the beach, it is very important to maintain the right flight height.
If you decide to fly too low your drone could crash land in the water, and turn your drone into a submarine.
Flying too high is something you shouldn’t be doing because it is illegal to fly over 400 feet.
This is also because the wind speeds are faster the higher you go, and this could disturb your flight causing you to crash. This is also worse over ocean waters.
Tip 02: Take Off & Land Away From The Sand
Another tip is that you should find a safe place to take off and to land from. You shouldn’t take off or land on the sand.
In order for a drone to take off, it needs the propellers to spin very fast and push air onto the ground which will then lift the drone into the sky.
However, it is possible for sand to be blown around and as the drone is taking off or landing, the sand could fly up and hit the propellers.
This could cause the propellers to loosen and or damage them during this process. It could also cause you to crash your drone while attempting to take off or land.
You could also have a few sand particles lodge themselves into the open areas of the drone or the drone’s gimbal.
Tip 03: Vision and Infrared Sensing Systems Might Be Affected
DJI has stated that the performance of the Vision System and Infrared Sensing System are both affected by the surface they are flown over.
And this is why drones with this technology tend to struggle over bodies of water and when flown near-transparent surfaces.
This is also why it is always debated on whether or not you should turn VPS on or off when flying over water.
In my experience, if you will be flying less than 30 feet above the water, then you should turn it off as it will most probably affect the drone’s flight path causing you to crash.
But if you are flying higher than that then you shouldn’t have a problem, if you do have issues just fly higher or return the drone and turn your VPS off.