The rule for operating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones under 55 pounds in the National Airspace System (NAS) is 14 CFR Part 107, referred to as the Small UAS Rule. However, if you want to fly a drone for purely recreational purposes, there is a limited statutory exception ("carve out") that provides a basic set of requirements.
The Recreational UAS Safety Test or TRUST is coming soon! We worked with stakeholders to develop test administration requirements for TRUST and we are now seeking test administrators. Test administrators will be announced in June. Recreational flyers are encouraged to take and pass TRUST at their earliest opportunity and begin carrying proof of passage when flying.
What is a Recreational Flight?
Many people assume that a recreational flight is one that is not operated for a business or any form of compensation. But, that's not always the case. Financial compensation, or the lack of it, is not what determines if the flight is recreational or commercial. The following information can be used to help you determine what rules you should be operating under. Remember, the default regulation for drones weighing under 55 pounds is Part 107. The exception for recreational flyers only applies to flights that are purely for fun or personal enjoyment. When in doubt, fly under Part 107.
- Note: Non-recreational purposes include things like taking photos to help sell a property or service, roof inspections, or taking pictures of a high school football game for the school's website. Goodwill or other non-monetary value can also be considered indirect compensation. This would include things like volunteering to use your drone to survey coastlines on behalf of a non-profit organization. Recreational flight is simply flying for fun or personal enjoyment.
What are the Rules for Recreational Flyers?
The Exception for Limited Operation of Unmanned Aircraft (USC 44809) is the law that describes how, when, and where you can fly drones for recreational purposes. Following these rules will keep people, your drone and our airspace safe:
- Fly only for recreational purposes (enjoyment).
- Follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO).
Note: We have not yet begun officially recognizing CBOs. Recreational flyers are directed to follow the safety guidelines of existing aeromodeling organizations or use the FAA provided safety guidelines per Advisory Circular 91-57B.
- Keep your drone within the visual line of sight or use a visual observer who is co-located (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
- Give way to and do not interfere with manned aircraft.
- Fly at or below 400' in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E) only with prior authorization by using LAANC or DroneZone.
- Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace.
- Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage (coming soon).
- Have a current registration, mark (PDF) your drones on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration with you.
- Do not operate your drone in a dangerous manner. For example:
- Do not interfere with emergency response or law enforcement activities.
- Do not fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Individuals violating any of these rules, and/or operating in a dangerous manner, may be subject to FAA enforcement action.
For more information, read Advisory Circular 91-57B.
Not sure what type of a drone user you are? We can help you!