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4 Things You Need to Know About Drones


LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems; in other words, it’s a drone degree. The university, less than an hour’s drive from Tyler, began the program last semester and it has proved to be a growing success.

There has been a lot of discussion about drones, the privacy issues they raise, and their economic impact. Here are 4 things you should know about drones.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)

RPAs are commonly known as drones. These flying robots are unmanned aircraft, meaning that nobody rides in them. Pilots control the drones with remotes or through software-controlled flight plans.



Are drones just a fad?

Many different industries are investing in drones, so it looks like drones aren’t a fad, but rather a new tool for businesses to use. LeTourneau University explains that current economic studies estimate the drone industry in the United States will gain more than $82 billion over the next 10 years.

Who can use a drone?

Anyone can use a drone, but there are specific guidelines when doing so. Here are some common users and the way they use drones.

  • Military - The military uses drones for running surveillance, checking for roadside bombs, following suspects, and for many other reasons.
  • Recreational users- Many people who use drones use them for recreation, just for fun.
  • Agricultural users - Farmers use drones to take photographs of their land, and to better manage their crops and livestock.


  • Film Industry - The film industry uses drones to capture hard-to-shoot footage.
  • Police and Firefighters - Police officers can use drones as a less-expensive way to search for suspects who have fled. Before  firefighters arrive on the scene of a fire, a drone can go ahead of them to analyze the fire and detect any potential threats.
  • Construction Companies - Many companies are using drones to map out construction sites.
  • Businesses - Many businesses are working to incorporate drones into their operations. Amazon has plans to use drones (called Prime Air) to deliver packages weighing up to 5 pounds, all within 30 minutes or less. The site says that this drone delivery system will take time to be approved for use.

There are many other industries using drones and many other ways drones can help businesses.

What are the drone laws?

Because drones are new to commercial and recreational markets, legislation is still being developed. Texas drone laws and federal laws are continuing to form as problems and issues arise. Here are things that are required:

  • All drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds must be registered ($5 fee)
  • You must always fly your drone within eyesight
  • You must keep your drone under 400 feet
  • Don’t fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you get clearance from the tower


Drone usage comes with great responsibility for both industries and individual people. You could face up to 3 years in jail and up to $250,000 in criminal fines for flying an unregistered drone.

Like all other products, faulty product design can result in injury. If you’ve been injured by a defective drone or by any other product, contact the Colley & Colley law firm in Tyler, Texas for a free consultation. We’re dedicated to providing you with the best legal counsel in East Texas.