Skip to page content

Hurricane Florence: Information for Drone Operators

News Search

Search Instructions

  • A simple search will return results that contain all of the specified words in the title or in the body of the news story. The words may appear in any order.
  • A phrase search can be performed by enclosing the search string in quotes. For instance, searching for "technical director" will only return results that contain the exact phrase supplied, with the words in the order specified.

Hurricane Florence: Information for Drone OperatorsSeptember 19–4pm EDT Update

The FAA has established a new, smaller Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over Wilmington, NC, to provide a safe environment for Hurricane Florence response and recovery flights. The TFR is a 10 nautical mile (11.5 statute mile) radius of Wilmington International Airport from the ground up to 5,000 feet. Aircraft pilots and drone operators always should check NOTAMs before flying in the area. http://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_8_4937.html.


September 19 Update 

The FAA has established a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over Wilmington, NC, to provide a safe environment for Hurricane Florence response and recovery flights. The TFR is in a 20 nautical mile (23 statute mile) radius of Wilmington International Airport from the ground up to 5,000 feet. Aircraft pilots and drone operators always should check NOTAMs before flying in the area.  http://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_8_4127.html

The agency also is reactivating the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) Fayetteville, Florence, Jacksonville and Wilmington airports in North Carolina and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina today. LAANC enables drone operators to receive real-time airspace authorizations.


September 14 Update

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Special Notice restricting drone operations supporting Hurricane Florence recovery efforts to an altitude of 200 feet above the ground while operating in North and South Carolina. As a reminder, all drone operators are required to give way to manned aircraft at all times.   


September 12 Update

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is warning drone owners and operators they may face significant fines if they interfere with emergency response operations in the areas affected by Hurricane Florence.

Many aircraft that are conducting life-saving missions and other critical response and recovery efforts are likely to be flying at low altitudes over areas affected by the storm. Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may unintentionally disrupt rescue operations and violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is not in place. Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.

Government agencies with an FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) or flying under Part 107, as well as private sector Part 107 drone operators who want to support response and recovery operations, are strongly encouraged to coordinate their activities with the local incident commander responsible for the area in which they want to operate.

If drone operators need to fly in controlled airspace or a disaster TFR to support the response and recovery, operators must contact the FAA’s System Operations Support Center (SOSC) by emailing 9-ATOR-HQ-SOSC@faa.gov the information they need to authorize access to the airspace. Coordination with the SOSC may also include a requirement that a drone operator obtain support from the appropriate incident commander. 

Here’s the information the FAA may require:

  • the unmanned aircraft type
  • a PDF copy of a current FAA COA
  • the pilot’s Part 107 certificate number
  • details about the proposed flight (date, time, location, altitude, direction and distance to the nearest airport, and latitude/longitude)
  • nature of the event (fire, law enforcement, local/national disaster, missing person) and the pilot’s qualification information.

Page last modified:

This page was originally published at: https://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=91551