Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in United States of America
FAA Drone Website: https://www.faa.gov/uas/
UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in USA
The USA agency responsible for drone safety, FAA, has provided a number of internet accessible details on flying for fun or for work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details go to the link above.
Notes For Drone Hobbyists flying for fun in USA
There’s a law (PDF) that describes how, when, and where you can fly drones for recreational purposes. You are considered a recreational user if you fly your drone for fun. It is important to know when and where you can fly and how to register your drone.
Following these rules will keep you and your drone safe and will help keep the airspace available to everyone.
- Register your drone, mark (PDF) it on the outside with the registration number and carry proof of registration with you.
- Fly only for recreational purposes.
- Fly your drone at or below 400 feet above the ground when in uncontrolled (Class G) airspace.
- Obtain authorization before flying in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E). You can obtain authorization in three ways:
- A written agreement with the FAA for fixed flying sites. For more information about fixed flying sites, contact us at UAShelp@faa.gov.
- Keep your drone within your visual line of sight, or within the visual line-of-sight of a visual observer who is co-located (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
- Do not fly at night unless your drone has lighting that allows you to know its location and orientation at all times.
- Give way to and do not interfere with manned aircraft.
- Never fly over any person or moving vehicle.
- Never interfere with emergency response activities such as disaster relief, any type of accident response, law enforcement activities, firefighting, or hurricane recovery efforts.
- Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many over-the-counter medications have side effects that could impact your ability to safely operate your drone.
- Do not operate your drone in a careless or reckless manner.
Recreational flyers should know that if they intentionally violate any of these safety requirements, and/or operate in a careless or reckless manner, they could be liable for criminal and/or civil penalties.
For more information, read Advisory Circular 91-57B.
Changes Coming in the Future
The law also requires:
- Drone operators to pass an online aeronautical knowledge and safety test and carry proof of test passage.
- The FAA to issue guidance for how it will recognize community based organizations.
The FAA is incrementally rolling out these features and requirements.
Check the FAA website for the latest updates.
Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in USA
If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Part 107 guidelines.
To fly under Part 107 rules, there are 3 main steps:
Step 1: Learn the Rules
- Make sure you understand what is and is not allowed under Part 107 rules. Review a summary of the Part 107 rules (PDF) .Still unsure if Part 107 rules work for you and your intended operation? Check our user identification tool.
- Some operations are not covered by Part 107 and will require a waiver. Here are some common examples of Part 107 sections that are subject to waiver:
- Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft (§ 107.25) *
- Daylight operation (§ 107.29)
- Visual line of sight aircraft operation (§ 107.31) *
- Visual observer (§ 107.33)
- Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems (§ 107.35)
- Yielding the right of way (§ 107.37(a))
- Operation over people (§ 107.39)
- Operation in certain airspace (§ 107.41)
- Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft (§ 107.51)
Step 2: Become an FAA-Certified Drone Pilot by Passing the Knowledge Test
- To be eligible to get your Remote Pilot Certificate, you must be:
- At least 16 years old
- Able to read, write, speak, and understand English
- Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a UAS
- Review the full process to get your Remote Pilot Certificate.
- Study for the Knowledge Test by reviewing the Test Prep materials provided by the FAA.
- Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) by creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile prior to registering for a knowledge test.
- Schedule an appointment to take the Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center.
- Once you’ve passed your test, complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA)*
Step 3: Register your Drone with the FAA
- Registration costs $5 and is valid for 3 years. You’ll need a credit or debit card and the make and model of your drone handy in order to register.
- Visit dronezone.faa.gov and select “Fly sUAS under Part 107” to create an account and register your drone.
- Once you’ve registered, mark your drone (PDF) with your registration number in case it gets lost or stolen.
- Always be sure to fly your drone safely and within FAA guidelines and regulations.
- It is up to you as a drone pilot to know the Rules of the Sky, and where it is and is not safe to fly.
- Aren’t sure if Part 107 is right for you and your operation? Try our user identification tool or contact us for more information.
Useful published information on flying drones in USA
We have partnered with the FAA and other drone enthusiasts in supporting an internet educational campaign called Know Before You Fly. Please visit the site for additional information: Know Before You Fly
Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International – Mostly for commercial drone service providers and users.
Academy of Model Aeronautics – Mostly for hobbyists
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