So You Got a Drone From Santa?
January 3, 2019
A drone is just one part of an Unmanned Aircraft System (“UAS”). The UAS consists of both the flyable drone and the hand-held control unit. All UAS’s must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) before you are lawfully able to fly your new drone. So, before you tear open the box, stuff in the batteries and run outside for your first flight, you must first take a few steps.
If you only plan to fly your drone as a hobby, for fun, or recreational purposes, you must register your UAS with the FAA under Section 336. You must be at least 13 years old and the drone must be under 55 pounds including payload. For more information, visit (this link) and select “Fly Model Aircraft under Section 336” to get started. Registration costs $5 and is valid for 3 years. Once you have registered, mark your drone with your registration number in case it gets lost or stolen. You must also review and follow these rules:
- Fly only for fun or recreation
- Your drone cannot weigh over 55 pounds, including payload
- Fly at or below 400 feet and only in uncontrolled airspace (Class G)
- Fly within visual line-of-sight so that you can see your drone at all times
- Never fly near other aircraft
- Never fly your drone directly over another person
- Never fly over groups of people, public events, or sports stadiums
- Never fly over emergency response efforts
- Download FAA app B4UFLY to your mobile phone to know where you can safely fly
If you plan to fly within 5 miles of an airport, you must notify air traffic control If you plan to fly your drone for any business or commercial purpose, you must be at least 16 years old and become an FAA-Certified Drone Pilot by taking and passing the Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Test Center (FAA Knowledge Test Centers). Once you have passed the Knowledge Test, complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a Remote Pilot Certificate. A regular pilot certificate will not be enough to be able to fly a drone. Next, register your UAS with the FAA at (Registering your UAS) and select “Fly sUAS under Part 107” to create an account and register your drone. Registration costs $5 and is valid for 3 years. Once you have registered, mark your drone with your registration number in case it gets lost or stolen. Always follow the FAA Part 107 Rules when flying your drone for business or commercial purposes (FAA Part 107 Rules).
If you plan to fly a drone as a government employee, you may operate either under the FAA Part 107 rules for commercial use above, or apply for a federal Certificate of Authorization through (Application for COA).
Now that you have registered, go out there and have some fun flying your new drone!