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Public Aircraft Operations

Government agencies, law enforcement, and public safety entities may qualify to fly UAS as Public Aircraft under 49 U.S.C. § 40102(a)(41) and §40125 (See Advisory Circular 00-1.1B (PDF).)

In order to fly as a public aircraft, your organization must:

  • Be a political subdivision of the United States government, a State or U.S. territory government, the District of Columbia, or an Indian Tribal Government listed in the Robert T Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. § 5122)
  • Own and operate the unmanned aircraft, or have an exclusive lease on it for more than 90 days
  • Fly missions that meet the statutory criteria of a governmental function on a flight-by-flight basis
  • Not fly for a commercial purpose or receive compensation for flight operations.

To learn more or get started, please contact the UAShelp@faa.gov.

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