They’re one of the hottest gifts this holiday season—maybe a drone is on your kid’s wish list … perhaps it’s on yours, too! So, let’s answer some of the major questions many people have about these flying sensations:
- How expensive is a drone?
- Are they really for kids?
- Are there regulations to be aware of?
The first thing to know: If your kids want a drone this holiday season, they aren’t alone. The market for drones is exploding, with consumers spending more than $700 million in 2014 and expected to as much as double in 2015. Drones have gotten so popular, in fact, that Amazon set up its own Drone Store, complete with a full buying guide and “Fly Responsibly” instructions.
Drones come in a wide variety of sizes. Smaller, “fun-sized” drones are great starter drones for younger kids. They are a lot cheaper—perhaps $30 or so—and good for about 10 minutes of flying time—which might be all a younger child needs.
You or a teenager might be more interested in longer flight times, bigger and better control ranges, or advanced features like cameras or even FPV (First Person View), which sends images of what the drone sees back to the pilot. These features will increase the price significantly, though. Price tags on recreational drones can go up to as much as $3,000, with the average price falling somewhere in the $500 to $600 range.
And while drones are allowed for personal use in the United States, there are already existing rules like staying below 400 feet, not flying near an airport, and more. Drones crashing into people can cause injury, and you’d also want to make sure your camera-carrying drone doesn’t violate someone’s privacy, even accidentally.
The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to release new regulations related to drones soon. Check out these safety guidelines for recreational drones, and then ask yourself if your child is ready for the responsibility before you buy.
So, if you’re purchasing a drone this holiday season, be sure to do your research and help your child learn how to operate the drone safely, just like you would with any other new technology. Drones can surely be lots of fun with practice and care, of course. Happy flying!