Nellis presents, real drones of genius

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Sarver
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

So, you just bought your first drone, and you're ready to go out to the desert and put your semester of film school to the test.

Not so fast.

There are a few things you need to know before you turn your $1,500 piece of modern aviation engineering into a pile of servos and scrap metal.

First and foremost, do you have your drone license? Do you even know what that is?

Before you begin your short-lived career as a stock footage producer, get certified through the Federal Aviation Administration to fly your drone. That little piece of paper will save you from a newly minted criminal record, when the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and military police hunt you down.

In the state of Nevada, it is illegal to operate a drone within five miles of a towered airport without permission from that tower's air traffic control personnel. That means, most of the Las Vegas strip is off-limits because of McCarran International Airport's close proximity and most of North Las Vegas is off-limits because of Nellis Air Force Base's close proximity.

McCarran and Nellis are defined as "Class Bravo" areas, which is considered the most congested airspace in the country. In other words, they don't want your drones to get sucked into a jet engine that will not only significantly damage the plane, but could also endanger the lives of everyone on board. You don't want their blood on your hands just because the mountains looked great at that angle.

Still not convinced?

How about the fact that filming with a drone on base is illegal? LVMPD and military police are always looking for some free drone target practice and are more than capable of putting the drones back on the ground, more than likely, leaving them inoperable. You can run, but you can't fly. Just don't do it.

So, before you attempt to get aerial footage of the base or the strip, ask yourself if your dreams of being a stock footage producer is worth trading in your now destroyed drone for a hefty fine and some quality jail time.