- Hurricanes are massive storms that can happen along any U.S. coast;
- They can affect areas more than 100 miles inland; and
- Storms are often active in the period of July–October.
At the FAA, we prepare all year for natural disasters so we can sustain air navigation systems, and maintain airspace safety.
Our mission is to protect the National Airspace System and ensure that anyone operating in and around a natural disaster is able to do so safely. It is vital to understand what you can do to prepare when a hurricane or tropical storm can potentially impact your area with surges, flooding, and wind.
If you are a member of the public or a pilot (manned and/or unmanned aircraft), please follow our safety tips below:
During a natural disaster, airports often close, flight paths are rerouted, and flights can be affected around the entire country. If you are planning to fly, check the status of your flight with your airline carrier.
Pilots (Commercial, General Aviation)
During a natural disaster, it’s vital that you are aware of active Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) and updates to Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs). These can change rapidly during emergency response efforts. We strongly recommend that you receive real-time flight updates through your electronic flight planning tools (EFP) or use VFR Flight Following.
In addition to following TFRs and NOTAMs, please use these tips for flying relief missions:
- Operate with two pilots
- Operate your aircraft with traffic avoidance systems
- Do not depend on fuel in disaster impact areas
- Prepare for potential mechanical problems ahead of your mission
- Prepare for uncertain ground circumstances
- Avoid unnecessary flights and recognize the end of your mission
During a natural disaster, do not fly your drone in or around emergency response efforts, unless you have special authorization to do so. There are low flying aircraft as part of the storm response — mostly in low visibility areas. If you are flying, emergency response operations cannot.
To provide emergency relief with expedited approval through the Special Governmental Interest (SGI) process, submit an Emergency Operation Request Form (MS Word) with your existing Remote Pilot Certificate or existing Certification of Authorization (COA) — and send to the FAA's System Operations Support Center (SOSC) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before You Fly
- Check your NOTAMs and TFRs.
- Never interfere with emergency response activities, including aircraft operations.
- Maintain increased awareness for low altitude storm response flight activity if you are flying and navigating in the impact area.
- Hurricane Awareness Digital Toolkit (PDF)
- Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs): https://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html
- Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs): https://notams.aim.faa.gov/notamSearch/
- National Hurricane Center (NOAA): https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
- Flight Service Weather Briefs: https://www.1800wxbrief.com/
- [Webinar] How to Fly Your Drone During an Emergency
- Federal Disaster Assistance (FEMA): 1-800-621-FEMA (3362);