Skip to page content

Operate a Drone, Start a Drone Program

Government agencies (including Federal, State, and tribal), law enforcement, and public safety entities have two options for operating drones under 55 pounds.

  • Fly under 14 CFR part 107, the small UAS rule. Part 107 allows operations of drones or unmanned aircraft system (UAS) under 55 pounds at or below 400 feet above ground level (AGL) for visual line-of-sight operations only.
  • Fly under the statutory requirements for public aircraft (49 U.S.C. §40102(a) and § 40125). Operate with a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) to be able to self-certify UAS and operators for flights performing governmental functions.

Download our Drones in Public Safety: A Guide to Starting Operations (PDF)

Emergency Authorizations & Operations

To support first responders and other entities affiliated with them, the FAA can quickly issue authorizations for natural disaster and other emergency situation response. Read about Waivers and Authorizations Supporting Emergency UAS Operations to learn more.

Page last modified:

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