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.

"Dos"

  • 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'ts"

  • 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 aeromodeling community-based organization
  • Don't fly contrary to your aeromodeling community-based safety guidelines
  • Don't fly model aircraft for payment or commercial purposes

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.

The FAA welcomes comments from the public on its Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which may help further inform its interpretation of the statutory language in Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 regarding Model Aircraft operations. Please visit the Federal Rulemaking Portal and follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically.