What is a Drone?

Flying drones became a thing in 2004 when the military deployed the first unmanned drone to track down an enemy in Afghanistan.

But now, civilians are starting to fly them for recreation.

We know, we know – the whole drone thing sounds complicated, but it’s actually not that complicated.

Here’s the breakdown of what a drone is, and what you need to know before you buy one.

What is a drone?

A drone is a flying robot that can be flown indoors or outdoors. It typically has three parts: a propeller, a battery and a camera. Some models can also be equipped with additional devices like a radio or a map. The Department of Justice estimates that there are close to 20,000 drones flying in the U.S. It’s estimated that there are about 45,000 in the world. WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF DRONE FLYING? Like many things in life, the less you know, the better off you are. If you’re a new drone pilot, you need to register your drone with the FAA. You can register online through the agency’s website. It’s important to note that anyone flying a drone should be 16 or older.

What is the difference between a drone and a UAV?

“A UAV is the name we use for that thing that the FAA calls a drone,” says Randy Stair, Founder and CEO of AirMap. “UAV is sort of a catch all for all the small unmanned aircraft. And what I like about it is it captures the idea of a drone, but it also captures the variety of sizes and shapes of the thing you’re talking about. “So you can have an airplane-sized drone, which is what the quadcopters are called, or you can have a model airplane-sized drone. And what we’ve seen as people started using them is that they started to be able to use very small airplanes that people wouldn’t think of as drones, or they can have some very large ones, and those are called large unmanned aircraft systems.” Is it legal to fly a drone for recreational use? According to the FAA, yes.

So what can drones do?

For starters, you can take a drone on a trip and get video of what’s around you. The altitude is controlled, but drones can be very small and can fly to different places. Now, they’re starting to fly into military situations too. What about keeping your privacy? If you’re flying for fun, or if you’re sending the drone to someone else, it’s not a problem. How do you know if a drone is going to crash into someone? Well, sometimes drones lose control and fly into the wall. Do you need a license? Yes. According to the FAA, most drones can fly for less than an hour without a pilot, but with that said, it’s recommended you buy a commercial drone if you’re trying to do something big like capture an aerial view of a building.

Who uses drones?

Drone operators can be anyone with a driver’s license. And there’s no limit to how many you can own. It’s not just for hobbyists though; some companies use drones for surveying, agriculture and commercial purposes. How big are drones? The bigger the drone, the longer you can go. That’s because larger drones have a longer operating range. The FAA classifies drones into two classes: small (under 55 lbs) and large (over 55 lbs). For the most part, drones under 55 lbs are legal for recreational use. Here are some recommended drone sizes for beginners to get started: Small – $0 to $1,000 Medium – $1,000 to $2,000 Large – $2,000 to $3,000


You’re an adult. You are buying something new. Why are you reading the experts? If you’re wondering how to fly a drone, the answer is probably the same – to figure it out on your own. You can read up on the FAA and download the FAA’s ‘Know Before You Fly’ guidelines for drone ownership.

We’ve also broken down the best drone for beginners, whether you want a basic toy drone, or something more advanced. By checking out all the different drones on the market, you’ll be able to decide which one is the right fit for you.

So, let’s finish up with a pro tip on drones. This is something you’re going to want to remember if you decide to get a drone for yourself.

About the author

My name is Delon. I started Drone Judge because of a real passion for drones. I love to experiment, learn, and share my discoveries with the world. As a drone expert, I know what matters to both hobbyists and professionals alike, whether it's finding the best camera drone or looking for the latest drone review. Come explore this fascinating new aerial world with me.

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