Before You Fly That Drone in the US


As always…Things to do before you fly that drone:

USA Drone Regulations

The following refers to the safety regulations for flying drones in the US. It is worth noting that no globally-recognized standards for flying drones are in place. But this may change as peoples privacy issues and concerns about the use of cameras with drones come to light.

A drone is termed an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which is an aircraft without a human pilot onboard, being controlled remotely by an operator.

If you are flying a drone in the United States you need to understand and abide by certain rules.

You can find these at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Non-recreational use of drone

You can fly a drone for work, business, or other non-recreational reasons three ways:

  • The Small UAS rule Part 107 can apply
  • Under Section 333 grant of exemption rules
  • An airworthiness certificate for the drone

Non-citizen for commercial reasons

If you are a non-citizen and flying a drone for commercial purposes, the Small UAS rule (Part 107) applies. You need to get a Remote Pilot Certificate (RPC) issued by the FAA. Any certificate or equivalent from another country is not recognized.  More information is available from the US Department of Transportation.

Recreational use of drone

There are two options for flying drones for fun in the US.

Option 1

  • Register with the FAA and follow their set guidelines
  • Drone must be in line of sight
  • Give way to manned aircraft
  • Give prior notification to airport and traffic controllers when flying within 5 miles (8 km) of an airport
  • Drone must weight less than 55 lbs (25 kg) unless certified by a community-based organization

Option 2

Information Sources