SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Dynamic Remotely Operated Navigation Equipment (DRONE) is at the top of many gift wish lists this year. But it is best to get acquainted with the rules for aerial drones before using one, according to Willa Williams, 4-H youth development specialist in Greene County with University of Missouri Extension.

"Yes, the FAA does provide rules for aerial drones, even if you are flying for fun," said Williams. "And the first thing to remember is if your drone weighs over half a pound, you have to register it with the FAA."

There are other important rules to keep in mind, according to Williams.
•    Make sure you can always see your drone, do not fly out of your line of sight. 
•    Always fly it at or below 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace.
•    Do not fly a drone over cars, groups of people, national parks, power stations, military bases, prisons, or disaster areas.
•    Do not use your drone to interfere with other aircraft (fire, agricultural, medical).

Another common question, according to Williams, is whether or not you can shoot down a drone that is flying over your house.

"The answer is no," said Williams. "A drone is classified as an aircraft. Instead, find the drone pilot and report them to the police."

It is important to remember that you will crash your drone, especially a novice user. 

"It is important to pay attention to obstacles and weather to reduce the number of crashes while you gain experience," said Williams.

It is also essential to learn how to use the controls: left (throttle and yaw), right (pitch and roll).

"So many careers are using drones. If you are getting one for your kid, consider having them learn some career skills," said Williams. "4-H has a drone/UAV program. Contact me at the MU Extension office in Greene County for programs with your groups or classroom."


Missouri 4-H is University of Missouri Extension's youth development program. The 4-H program helps to create opportunities for young people to be valued, contributing members of their community. To learn how to get involved locally go to

Residents of southwest Missouri can contact any of these 4-H youth development specialists and educators with MU Extension for  information:  Krista Tate in Howell County, (417) 256-2391; Bob McNary in Dade County, (417) 637-2112; Karla Deaver in Lawrence County, (417) 466-3102; Velynda Cameron in Polk County, (417) 326-4916; Willa Williams in Greene County, (417) 881-8909; or Janice Weddle in Wright County, (417) 547-7545.