Want to fly your drone at night?
If so, you’re going to need lights—and right now it looks the Strobe, a brand new anti-collision light from Lume Cube, is one of the best options on the market.
About The Strobe
According to Lume Cube, the Strobe is the first consumer friendly anti-collision drone light that’s compatible with every drone on the market.
What we see when we look at the Strobe is ease of use.
The light can attach easily to any drone, regardless of size or type, and it turns on and off with a single button (the same button allows you to cycle through the three different light modes offered, which are covered in the list below).
The Strobe’s Stand-Out Features
- It’s FAA-compliant. The Strobe meets all the FAA’s guidelines for anti-collision lighting, which is important if you want to fly at night in the U.S.
- It’s lightweight. The Strobe only weighs 10 grams, which is nice because it’s light enough that it won’t significantly impact your battery life.
- It only has one button. Instead of dealing with different settings, you can use the same button to turn the light on, select the light mode you want, and turn it off.
- It comes with three different light modes. The modes are fast strobe; slow strobe; or constant light. Strobe speed can reach up to 1Hz (60 strobes per second).
- It comes with three different light color filters. You can switch out white, red, or green by sliding off the plastic filter and replacing it with the color you want.
- Its light is visible from at least three miles away and from 360º. Enough said.
- It mounts on any drone. The Strobe uses 3M Dual Lock Technology—basically an effective kind of velcro, from what we’ve seen—which lets it mount on any drone.
- It has a micro USB recharge port. This makes it easy to recharge, which is nice.
Want to learn more about Lume Cube’s Strobe anti-collision light? Watch this short explainer video to get a walk-through covering how to set it up and use it:
Night Flying and FAA Drone Regulations
Although flying a drone at night is prohibited by the FAA’s Part 107 regulations, obtaining a waiver that allows you to fly at night has historically been one of the easier undertakings when it comes to securing special permissions from the FAA.
For example, while the FAA has issued 2,679 waivers to fly at night (107.29 waivers, or “night waivers”), they’ve only issued 34 waivers to fly over people (107.39 waivers). To look at this another way, of the 2,786 waivers the FAA has issued to drone operators, 96% of them have gone to waivers that include night flying in their list of waived Part 107 rules.
[Want to see all of the Part 107 waivers the FAA has ever issued? Check out this page on the FAA’s website.]
The reason night waivers have been issued more than any other kind is directly related to safety.
While operations like flying over people or BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) require extensive documentation to demonstrate that all safety considerations have been considered and addressed, flying at night is relatively less risky.
But getting permission to fly at night, as well as over people, may soon become much easier for commercial drone pilots.
In January of this year, the FAA shared a draft of new proposed drone rules that would make both night flying and flights over people legal without obtaining a Part 107 waiver.
The proposal came in the form of a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” (NPRM), which is a public notice issued by law when the FAA wants to make a change to their existing rules. An NPRM is uploaded to the Federal Register, where it is opened to the public for comments and feedback.
Under the new proposed rule, drone pilots would be permitted to fly at night without a waiver if they:
- Take an updated knowledge test or training that includes new subject matter relating to operating at night
- Equip their sUAS with anti-collision lights visible for 3 statute miles
Right now it’s unclear when these new rules might go into effect. For more information, visit this webpage to see the Operation of UAS Over People NPRM.
Are you excited about the release of Lume Cube’s Strobe? And when do you think the FAA’s proposed rules for night flying might go into effect? Hop into this thread in the UAV Coach community forum to share your thoughts.