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Getting Started

The first Remote Pilot certificates were issued in August 2016, and are nearing the end of their 24 calendar month currency. Remote drone pilots are required to complete a recurrent training course or pass a recurrent knowledge test within 24 calendar months to continue to exercise the privileges of their Remote Pilot certificates.

Whether you're a novice drone pilot or have many years of aviation experience, rules and safety tips exist to help you fly safely in the national airspace. Think of these tips as a pre-flight checklist to help you fly safely.

Drone Safety Tips

  • Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports
  • Never fly over groups of people, public events, or stadiums full of people
  • Never fly near emergencies such as fires or hurricane recovery efforts
  • Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol

2 Options for Flying Your Drone

There are two options to fly your drone legally. Each option has different requirements depending on how you want to fly.

2 Options for Flying Your Drone
Fly under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft
(Section 336)
Fly under the FAA's Small UAS Rule
(Part 107)
  • Fly for hobby or recreation ONLY
  • Register your model aircraft
  • Follow community-based safety guidelines and fly within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization
  • Fly a model aircraft under 55 lbs. unless certified by a community-based organization
  • Fly within visual line-of-sight
  • Never fly near other aircraft
  • Notify the airport and air traffic control tower prior to flying within 5 miles of an airport
  • Never fly near emergency response efforts
  • Fly for recreational OR commercial use
  • Register your drone
  • Get a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA
  • Fly a drone under 55 lbs.
  • Fly within visual-line-of-sight*
  • Don't fly near other aircraft or over people*
  • Don't fly in controlled airspace near airports without FAA permission*
  • Fly only during daylight or civil twilight, at or below 400 feet*

* These rules are subject to waiver.

For more information, see:
Fly under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft
For more information, see:
Fly under the Small UAS Rule

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This page was originally published at: https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/