Businesses of all types are finding new uses for drones.
Businesses of all types are finding new uses for drones. They have practical applications for the construction industry, too. Some examples include providing aerial surveying and photography or doing inspections in hard-to-reach locations.
Before getting a drone, be sure to keep abreast of the latest rules and guidelines for drone use. Drones fall under the category of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, also known as UAS.
There are several regulations operators must follow in order to fly a drone.
The pilot must:
- Be at least 16 years of age
- Be authorized by the Transportation Security Administration
- Pass the required aeronautical knowledge test, which must be at a testing center approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
*If you do not hold a pilot’s certificate, you can take an online training course at www.faasafety.gov to meet these requirements. Your certificate must be issued under 14 CFR part 61, and you must have successfully completed a flight review within the past 24 months.
The aircraft must:
- Be less than 55 lbs. or 25 kg.
- Be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration
All rules are subject to change, but here's a rundown of the current laws about flying drones.
- Must fly in Class G airspace
- Must keep the aircraft in sight (visual line of sight)
- Must fly under 400 feet
- Must fly during the day
- Must fly at or below 100 mph
- Must yield right of way to manned aircraft
- Must not fly over people
- Must not fly from a moving vehicle
Where or where not to fly
It's the big question. Fortunately, the FAA has you covered. Their app, B4UFLY, helps UAS operators know where flight restrictions are based on real-time information and your GPS location. There are several airspace restrictions for UAS operators to follow and even a No Drone Zone around Washington D.C.
Restrictions that affect flight include the following:
- Security sensitive airspace restrictions
From the ground to 400 feet up and in effect 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, these restrictions should not be ignored. To assist operators, the FAA developed an interactive map, which is available to the public listing all restricted zones.
- Temporary flight restrictions
These are specific areas where air travel is restricted due to a temporary issue. These can include but aren’t limited to security-related events, wildfires and chemical spills. More details on TFRs, as well as a list of active TFRs, can be found on the FAA's website.
- Restricted or special-use airspace
These zones include prohibited areas, restricted areas, warning areas, military operation areas, alert areas and controlled firing areas. However, our nation’s capital is the most heavily restricted area. More information about Washington D.C.’s No Drone Zone can be found here.
- Stadiums and sporting events
Flight within three nautical miles is prohibited one hour prior to and one hour after events at the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Indy Car, and Champ Series races; Major League Baseball; Major League Football; and NCAA Division One Football events.
Operation of a UAS is strictly prohibited both in and around wildfires, regardless of the location.
Advanced notice is required for flights within five miles of an airport to both the air traffic control tower and the airport operator, if applicable.
For more information on drone regulations, check out the links below:
- Remote Pilot Certification
- Flying a UAS as a government entity
- Flying a UAS that weighs more than 55 lbs. (25 kg.)
- Frequently Asked Questions