UAS come in a variety of shapes and sizes and serve diverse purposes. Regardless of size, the responsibility to fly safely applies equally to manned and unmanned aircraft operations. The FAA is partnering with several industry associations to promote safe and responsible use of unmanned aircraft. Read more about the Know Before You Fly educational campaign.
Having fun means flying safely! Hobby or recreational flying doesn't require FAA approval but you must follow safety guidelines. Any other use requires FAA authorization.
Avoid doing anything hazardous to other airplanes or people and property on the ground.
Do fly a model aircraft/UAS at the local model aircraft club Do take lessons and learn to fly safely Do contact the airport or control tower when flying within 5 miles of the airport Do fly a model aircraft for personal enjoyment
Don't fly near manned aircraft Don't fly beyond line of sight of the operator Don't fly an aircraft weighing more than 55 lbs. unless it's certified by an aero modeling community-based organization Don't fly contrary to your aero modeling community-based safety guidelines Don't fly model aircraft for payment or commercial purposes
Any operation that does not meet the statutory criteria for a public aircraft operation is considered a civil aircraft operation and must be conducted in accordance with all FAA regulations applicable to the operation.
There are presently two methods of gaining FAA authorization to fly civil (non-governmental) UAS:
1. Section 333 Exemption – a grant of exemption in accordance with Section 333 AND a civil Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA); this process may be used to perform commercial operations in low-risk, controlled environments.
2. Special Airworthiness Certificate (SAC) – applicants must be able to describe how their system is designed, constructed, and manufactured, including engineering processes, software development and control, configuration management and quality assurance procedures used, along with how and where they intend to fly.
SAC in the experimental category – may be used for civil aircraft to perform research and development, crew training, and market surveys; however, carrying persons or property for compensation or hire is prohibited. FAA Order 8130.34 is used by FAA inspectors to issue experimental airworthiness certificates and special flight permits to UAS. For more information, please contact the Airworthiness Certification Service, AIR-113, at (202) 267-1575.
If the FAA determines the project does not present an unreasonable safety risk, the local FAA Manufacturing Inspection District Office will issue a Special Airworthiness Certificate in the Experimental Category with operating limitations applicable to the particular UAS.
A UAS type and airworthiness certificate in the Restricted Category (14 CFR § 21.25(a)(2) and § 21.185) for a special purpose or a type certificate for production of the UAS under 14 CFR § 21.25(a)(1) or § 21.17. For more information, please contact the Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office at (562) 627-5200.
3. Please contact the DeKalb Peachtree Airport (PDK) with your FAA approved 333 and COA to receive airport’s approval to utilize UAS within a five mile radius of PDK.
- Airport Director's Office (770) 936-5440
UAS/Drone and Model Aircraft Operations Limits
According to the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 as (1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use; (2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization; (3) the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based organization; (4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; (5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower with prior notice of the operation; and (6) the aircraft is flown within visual line sight of the operator.
5 Mile Radius from PDK
Click on the image for a larger view
Please contact the DeKalb Peachtree Airport (PDK) for further information.
- Airport Director's Office (770) 936-5440
Law Enforcement Engagement with Suspected Unauthorized UAS Operations
B4UFLY is an easy-to-use smartphone app that helps unmanned aircraft operators determine whether there are any restrictions or requirements in effect at the location where they want to fly.
On August 28, 2015, the FAA released B4UFLY to approximately 1,000 beta testers, including members of industry, government and the public.
This limited beta test is expected to run for several months, after which the FAA plans to make a final version of B4UFLY available for the general public. The beta version of the app is for iOS devices only, but the FAA intends to release a future version for both iOS and Android devices.
Key features of the B4UFLY app include:
A clear "status" indicator that immediately informs the operator about their current or planned location. For example, it shows flying in the Special Flight Rules Area around Washington, DC is prohibited.
Information on the parameters that drive the status indicator.
A "Planner Mode" for future flights in different locations.
Informative, interactive maps with filtering options.
Links to other FAA UAS resources and regulatory information.