Austin drone operators say the aircraft is misunderstood

Drones are being used more and more to produce video and still pictures for the public and for a variety of industries, including some broadcasters.

“The whole goal is to make you go ‘Wow!,’” said drone operator and photographer Christopher Sherman.

Sherman uses a drone to take pictures of Austin. He calls his business ‘Over Austin’. He started about a year ago and since then, his business has taken off. He said sometimes people have the wrong idea about drones

“People are concerned about privacy probably more than they really should be,” Sherman said.

Most of the time, when we hear about drones, it’s in the news. For instance, in 2014, at Darrel K Royal stadium, a drone flew over a University of Texas football game. That’s not only against Austin ordinances, it’s also breaks a federal law.

“The number one rule is: don’t fly over people,” said drone operator and Hobbytown USA employee, Tim Dodson.

Federal Aviation Administration laws say people can’t fly drones within 3 miles of events with 3,000 people or more. They should also never fly higher than 400 feet.

“That’s just to keep them safe in the air space that we share with full scale aviation,” Dodson said.

Drones must stay at least five miles away from airports. Austin’s rules are more vague: “The operator of an aircraft may not operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner that creates a danger to another person’s health or property.”

“It irritates me that most of the press these things get is negative,” Dodson said.

“Most of us try to fly, you know, abide by the rules,” Sherman said.

All of it is part of a growing industry that has law enforcement and the public learning on the fly.