FAA Changes Recreational Drone Rules

Until further notice, ATC facilities will no longer accept requests to operate recreational drones in controlled airspace on a case-by-case basis. Instead, FAA is granting temporary airspace authorizations to fly in certain "fixed sites" in controlled airspace throughout the country.

The Federal Aviation Administration is changing the rules for recreational drone flyers, as required by Congress in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. They may continue to fly below 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace without specific certification or operating authority from the FAA but now must obtain prior authorization from the agency before flying in controlled airspace around airports. The new requirement to obtain an airspace authorization before flying a drone in controlled airspace replaces the old requirement to notify the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower before flying within 5 miles of an airport.

Until further notice, ATC facilities will no longer accept requests to operate recreational drones in controlled airspace on a case-by-case basis, the agency announced May 16. Instead, FAA is granting temporary airspace authorizations to fly in certain "fixed sites" in controlled airspace throughout the country. The fixed sites are listed on FAA's website and will be routinely updated; they also are shown as blue dots on Unmanned Aircraft Systems Facility Maps. The maps depict the maximum altitude above ground level at which a drone may be flown safely for each location in controlled airspace.

In the future, recreational flyers will be able to obtain authorization from FAA to fly in controlled airspace. The FAA currently has a system called the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability that is available to non-recreational pilots who operate under the agency's small drone rule (Part 107). The FAA is upgrading LAANC to allow recreational flyers to use the system. For now, however, recreational flyers who want to operate in controlled airspace may only do so at the fixed sites.

Another new provision in the act requires recreational flyers to pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety test. They must maintain proof that they passed and make it available to FAA or law enforcement upon request. The agency is developing a training module and test in coordination with the drone community to ensure recreational flyers have the basic aeronautical knowledge needed to fly safely.

The announcement said some requirements have not changed significantly: Recreational users still must register their drones, fly within visual line-of-sight, avoid other aircraft at all times, and be responsible for complying with all FAA airspace restrictions and prohibitions. Flying a drone carelessly or recklessly still may result in FAA enforcement action.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • Create Flexible Safety Dashboards

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations allows you to easily create and view safety KPIs to help you make informed business decisions. Our best of breed default indicators can also save you valuable time and effort in monitoring safety metrics.

  • Schedule and Record Observations

    IndustrySafe's Observations module allows managers, supervisors, and employees to conduct observations on employees involved in safety critical behavior. IndustrySafe’s pre-built BBS checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to Safety Training

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common FAQs.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - June 2019

    June 2019

    Featuring:

    • ASSP SAFETY 2019 PREVIEW
      New Orleans Networking
    • NATION SAFETY MONTH
      Heed These Summer Safety Tips
    • TRAINING
      Education, Skill Development, and Behavior Change
    • SAFETY MANAGEMENT
      What Good Looks Like
    View This Issue

Bulwark Quiz