- USDOT Automated Vehicles Activities
Updated: Tuesday, July 10, 2018
The U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to facilitating a new era of transportation innovation and safety and ensuring that our country remains a leader in
automation. The Department of Transportation is acting as a convener and facilitator, partnering with a broad coalition of industry, academic, states and local, safety advocacy, and transportation
stakeholders to support the safe development, testing, and deployment of automated vehicle technology.
This webpage provides information about ADS
2.0 and the Department’s recent and upcoming activities related to automation, as well as access to resources for learning more about automated vehicles and data relevant to automation.
U.S. DOT recently hosted a Public Listening Summit on Automated Vehicle Policy. See the Summary Report and the Webcast for key takeaways from the Public Listening Summit on Automated Vehicle Policy.
May 2018 - FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018
April 30, 2018 - The FAA
- that will ultimately provide near real-time processing of airspace authorization requests for unmanned aircraft
(UAS) operators nationwide - this is a nationwide beta test of LAANC the that will deploy the system incrementally at nearly 300 air traffic facilities covering approximately 500 airports - this beta expansion
follows successful evaluation of a prototype LAANC system last November when these first facilities took part - the final deployment will begin on September 13.
LAANC helps support the safe integration of drones into the nation’s airspace. Drone
operators using the system can receive near real-time airspace authorizations. This dramatically decreases the wait experienced using the manual authorization process and allows operators to quickly
plan their flights. LAANC uses airspace data provided through temporary flight restrictions, NOTAMS and UAS facility maps that show the maximum altitude ceiling around airports where the FAA may
authorize operations under Part 107. Beginning April 16, the FAA also began considering agreements with additional entities to provide LAANC services.
The FAA and industry are working together to develop and deploy LAANC applications, which
will help set the global standard for a safe, and efficient unmanned traffic management system. It is an important step in developing the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management System
FAA UAS Data Exchange
The FAA UAS Data Exchange is an innovative, collaborative approach between government and private industry facilitating the sharing of airspace
data between the two parties. Under the FAA UAS Data Exchange umbrella the agency will support
multiple partnerships, the first of which is the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability.
Low Altitude Authorization and Notification
The UAS Data Exchange facilitates LAANC by providing airspace data to industry so
that they can create the tools needed to benefit the drone community. LAANC is the industry developed application through which you may apply for an airspace authorization or notify the Air Traffic Control
Tower of your intended flight plans.
Airspace data is provided through the UAS facility
maps (UASFMs). The maps show the maximum altitude around airports where the FAA may authorize operations under the small UAS rule.
Industry will provide these operators the ability to interact with the maps and provide automatic notification and authorization requests to the FAA. A prototype evaluation
with FAA approved UAS Service Providers will take place in Fall 2017—Spring 2018. The evaluation involves 10 Air Traffic facilities and nearly 50
airports. A National Beta test will launch in 2018. The beta will continue to evolve and expand the number of ATC facilities and UAS Service
There will be two ways to apply for an airspace authorization. Neither process requires the
operator to contact an Air Traffic Control Tower:
- using the current process; or
- applying through a FAA approved UAS Service Supplier.
April 2018 - Proposed Legislation
TORT LAW RELATING TO DRONES ACT
- good to define 200ft or below as that of homeowner - aerial trespass
March 6, 2018:
FAA Expands Drone Airspace Authorization
Feb 9, 2018 - UAS Identfication
and Tracking ARC released September 2017
H.R.2810 - National Defense Authorization Act for
Fiscal Year 2018
12/12/2017 Became Public Law No:
SEC. 143. REQUIREMENT THAT CERTAIN
AIRCRAFT AND UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES USE SPECIFIED STANDARD DATA LINK.
SEC. 350. CIVILIAN TRAINING FOR NATIONAL GUARD
PILOTS AND SENSOR OPERATOR AIRCREWS OF MQ–9 UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES.
SEC. 1092. COLLABORATION BETWEEN FEDERAL
AVIATION ADMINISTRATION AND DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ON UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS.
Of Rules For Registration And Marking Of Unmanned Aircraft.—The rules adopted by the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration in the matter of registration and marking requirements for small unmanned
aircraft (FAA-2015-7396; published on December 16, 2015) that were vacated by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Taylor v. Huerta (No. 15-1495; decided on May
19, 2017) shall be restored to effect on the date of enactment of this Act.
InFO 17018 - 11/27/2017 and InFo 18001 - 2/14/2018
Subject: Use of Reflective Vests by Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Remote Pilots
Purpose: This InFO serves to inform sUAS remote pilots on techniques for
clearly identifying and legitimizing themselves to the general public and law enforcement.
Background: With the rapid increase in sUAS activity, combined with the
technology and regulations being relatively new, the general public and law enforcement can be uninformed of what, when, how, and where sUAS are legally permitted to be flown. Additionally, the
public perceives some sUAS operations as threatening to their safety or privacy, in part because remote pilots are not easily identifiable.
Nov 2, 2017 - UAS Integration Pilot Program
The UAS Integration Pilot Program is an opportunity for state, local, and tribal governments to partner with private sector entities, such as UAS operators or
manufacturers, to accelerate safe UAS integration. Entities that wish to participate in the program form teams and submit proposals to the FAA to fly more advanced UAS operations, such as beyond
visual line-of-sight or over people.
The Program is expected to provide immediate opportunities for new and
expanded commercial UAS operations, foster a meaningful dialogue on the balance between local and national interests related to UAS integration, and provide actionable information to the Department
of Transportation (DOT) on expanded and universal integration of UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS).
Watch the Webinar
Check out the webpage UAS Integration Pilot Program and Contract Opportunities page
And download the MOA and SIR Documents below
May 2018 - Integration Pilot Program Awardees
President Donald J. Trump directed U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao
today to launch an initiative to safely test and validate advanced operations for drones in partnership with state and local governments in select jurisdictions. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
Integration Pilot Program implements a directive signed by President Trump today, and the results will be used to accelerate the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace and to realize the
benefits of unmanned technology in our economy.
Questions and Answers on UAS Integration Pilot Program
Informational Slides on the UAS Integration Pilot Program and Application process
H.R.636 - FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 - section 2208 UTM
PREZI: Why Congress may have intended states to have airspace
The argument against federal preemption of national airspace in the U.S.
This issue of FAA Safety Briefing from
May/June 2017 contains a great deal
TAKING OFF: STATE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS (DRONES) POLICIES
FAA Continues Progress toward Integration into the National Airspace
GAO-15-610: Published: Jul 16, 2015. Publicly Released: Aug 17, 2015.
Below are two documents from 2013:
- THE FUTURE OF DRONES IN AMERICA: LAW ENFORCEMENT AND PRIVACY CONSIDERATIONS
- Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses
FAA UAS Roadmap - the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-95) mandated the
creation and publication of a 5-year Roadmap for the FAA's process of developing regulations, policy, procedures, guidance material, and training requirements to support safe and efficient UAS
operations in the NAS, while coordinating with relevant departments and agencies to address related key policy areas of concern such as privacy and national security.
FAA Order: 8900.313 - Education, Compliance, and
Enforcement of Unauthorized Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations - issued August 4, 2015 - cancelled March 31, 2016
FAA Order: 8130.34C - Airworthiness Certification of Unmanned
Aircraft Systems and Optionally Piloted Aircraft - issued August 2, 2013
8000.372A - UAS Designated Airworthiness Representatives
(DAR) for UAS Certfication at UAS Test Sites
FAA Order 8000.373 - FAA Compliance Philosophy
AC 00-46E - Aviation Safety Reporting Program
2150.3B - FAA Compliance and Enforcement Program (with Change
FAA Order 8110.4C - Type Certification
FAA Order 8130.2H - Airworthiness Certification of
Products and Articles
FAA Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS)
8900.1 Volume 16:
Unmanned Aircraft Systems
The US Army Training Circular 3-04.61 - UAS Commander's Guide and Aircrew Training Manual
The US Army Training Circular 3-04.62 - Small UAS Aircrew Training Program
The US Army Training Circular 3-04.63 - MQ-1C UAS Commander's Aircrew Training Program and Aircrew
The US Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 5-19 - Risk Management
Title 10 USC - This United States Code applies to the Armed Forces, therefore military UAS pilots must adhere to certain sections
Below (for download) is the DoD UAS Group Descriptions and the DoD Airspace Integration Plan
JO 7210.873 -
Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace System (NAS) - cancelled
July 11, 2015
JO7210.889 - Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace System (NAS) - issued October 27, 2015 and which cancelled JO7210.882 - and then itself cancelled on October 29, 2015
to be replaced on November 25, 2015 by JO7210.891 - Unmanned Aircraft Operations the National Airspace System
What Is The DoT IG Doing Issuing It’s Own Video on
the FAA's UAS Rules and Enforcement? - JDA Journal
Attorney says FAA UAS law enforcement guidelines
off target - UAS Magazine Article
Memo to law enforcement by the FAA (download below)
October 29, 2015
FAA Administrator, the Honorable Michael P. Huerta, annouced the UAS
registration task force members
Nancy Egan – 3D Robotics
Richard Hanson – Academy of Model
George Novak – Aerospace Industries
Chuck Hogeman and Randy Kenagy – Air Line Pilots
Jim Coon – Aircraft Owners and Pilots
Sean Cassidy – Amazon Prime Air
Ben Gielow – Amazon Retail
Justin Towles – American Association of Airport
Brian Wynne – Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems
Parker Brugge – Best Buy
Douglas Johnson – Consumer Electronics
Brendan Schulman – DJI
Paul Feldman – General Aviation Manufacturers
Dave Vos – GoogleX (Co-Chair)
Tony Bates – GoPro
Matt Zuccaro – Helicopter Association
Mike Fergus – International Association of Chiefs of
John Perry – Management Association for Private Photogrammetric
Brandon Declet – Measure
Randall Burdett – National Association of State Aviation
Sarah Wolf – National Business Aviation
Baptiste Tripard – Parrot
Tyler Collins – PrecisionHawk
Gregory McNeal – Small UAV Coalition
Thomas Head – Walmart
October 28, 2015
US Senate Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee Hearing to review unmanned aircraft systems and the step being taken to successfully integrate this technology into our National Airspace System
Transportation, Housing & Urban Development: Integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology into the National Airspace System (Senator Susan Collins, Chairman)
The Honorable Michael P. Huerta - Administrator - FAA
Mr. Marty Rogers - Deputy Director - Alliance for system Safety of UAS through Research Excellence
Captain Tim Canoll - President - Air Line Pilots Association International
Click here to watch the video
Download the transcripts below
The FAA is providing the following updated information regarding the Small UAS Registration and Marking interim final rule
as a result of a recent decision (PDF) by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit regarding the small UAS registration program.
The court's decision invalidated the registration requirement as it applies to certain model
aircraft that meet the definitional and operational requirements provided in section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act (PDF). Owners of model aircraft which
are operated in compliance with section 336 are not required to register. Owners of all other small unmanned aircraft, including newly-purchased unmanned aircraft not operated exclusively in
compliance with section 336, remain subject to the registration requirement. The FAA continues to encourage voluntary registration for all owners of small unmanned aircraft.
The FAA is working on a final rule with respect to registration and marking that will
implement the court's decision. In the meantime, if you are an owner operating exclusively in compliance with section 336 and you wish to delete your registration and receive a refund of your
registration fee, you may do so by accessing a registration deletion and self-certification form (PDF) and mailing
it to the FAA at the address designated on the form. Owners who already received a refund during the initial grace period are not eligible to receive a refund. This form has been submitted to the
Office of Management and Budget for approval of the information collection.
Please continue to check this website for further updates. To register your small unmanned
aircraft, visit the registration portal.
October 19, 2015
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx
announces unmanned aircraft registration requirement - New task force to develop recommendations by November 20
Clarification of the Applicability of
Aircraft Registration Requirements for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Request for Information Regarding Electronic Registration for UAS - October 22, 2015
NPRM open for comment for only 15 days -
Comment by November 6, 2015
December 14, 2015 - FAA announces small UAS Registration Rule
- Registration is a statutory requirement that applies to all aircraft
- Applies to small UAS weighing 0.55lb (250g) up to less than 55lb (25kg) including payload e.g.
- Registration begins Dec 21, 2015
- First 30 days are free (till Jan 20, 2016) then $5
- Must register no later than Feb 19, 2016 if UAS was previously operated prior to Dec 21, 2015
- Must register before first flight outdoors if UAS purchased after Dec 21, 2015
- Must be 13 years of age to register (parent/guardian must register for younger children)
- Streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process
- Link for registration at www.faa.gov/uas/registration
- Provide NAME, HOME ADDRESS, EMAIL
- Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership includes ID Number for UAS owner and this ID number must be marked on UAS
- Hobby/recreational users must only register once for all their models and use the same ID number which will be valid for 3 years
February 4, 2016 - UAS Magazine - Patrick Miller - Getting Our UAS Priorities
February 2, 2016 - HR 4432 - The
Commercial UAS Modernization Act
- Was introduced in the House of
Representatives and thereafter referred to House Science, Space, and Technology (download below).
- To establish an interim rule
for the operation of small unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes, and for other purposes.
- To amend the FAA Modernization and
Reform Act of 2012 (PL 112-95).
- To add Section 337 - Operation of
small unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes - dealing with lack of airworthiness certificates, liability insurance, registration, testing requirements now to include proficiency test as well as
the original knowledge test, accident reporting now to be accomplished within 2 days of the accident.
- To add Section 338 - Micro UAS
Operations - for UAS weighing up to 4.4lbs - limit of 400 feet AGL, VLOS, daylight, 5SM of an airport, exemption from airmen certification and airworthiness standards.
- To add Section 339 - Deputy
Associate Administrator for Unmanned Aircraft whose duties it shall be to create an achievable comprehensive research and development program for the safe integration of UAS in the
- To add Section 4 - Joint Aircraft
System Research and Development Data Collection and Analysis Program - at the William J. Hughes Technical Center:
1. For research on safety standards
for detect and avoid, command and control, autonomous aircraft systems, and air traffic management for BLOS
2. Use of Test
3. Air Traffic Management Pilot
May 13, 2015 - S 1314 - Commercial UAS Modernization Act - introduced by Senator Cory
This bill amends the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 to permit a person to operate a small commercial
unmanned aircraft (drone) without an airworthiness certificate within the United States for the period beginning on enactment of this Act and ending on the effective date of a final rule based on the
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking "Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems" dated February 23, 2015, subject to the following conditions and restrictions:
- the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must receive proof that the drone owner has liability insurance for the drone;
- the owner must register the drone;
- the operator must pass a test developed to assess initial aeronautical knowledge and a proficiency test administered by a drone test site; and
- the operator must demonstrate the ability to fly the drone in accordance with certain operating restrictions concerning visibility, time of day, air traffic control, airspace, preflight
inspection, and operator health.
A drone may not be operated until the operator of a test site certifies that it meets the requirements in the
rulemaking notice and can operate within the restrictions.
The owner or operator of a drone involved in an accident causing personal injury or property damage must report
it to the FAA within two days after the accident.
The FAA shall:
- appoint a Deputy Associate Administrator for Unmanned Aircraft,
- establish a joint aircraft system research and development data collection and analysis program at the William J. Hughes Technical Center, and
- implement an air traffic management pilot program to research and test a new regulatory structure for drone operations in airspace below 1,200 feet.
March 14, 2016 - South by Southwest Press Event - FAA Administrator Huerta
Quotes from the speech: "Late last month, we announced that we are setting up
an Aviation Rulemaking Committee to develop recommendations for how we can safely allow certain UAS to be operated with people below. Our goal is to create a performance-based regulatory framework
that addresses potential hazards, rather than a classification that is based only on weight and speed."
"...we expect to have our small UAS rule finalized this spring. As most of you
know, this rule will allow for routine commercial operations of small UAS within certain limitations. It will, for the most part, eliminate the need to issue Section 333 exemptions on a case-by-case
basis, and it will open up access to the national airspace system while maintaining today’s high safety standards."
With respect to B4UFLY - "Today, I am pleased to announce that the Android
version of the app will also be publicly available later today, also free of charge. There are currently more than 35,000 people using B4UFLY, almost all of them iOS users, but now users of virtually
all smart phones will have access to it, which we believe will help heighten public awareness about what it means to fly unmanned aircraft safely. The Android version includes a lot of updates based
on feedback from beta testers, like a much more user-friendly flight-planning feature."
February 24, 2016 - FAA Unveils Effort to Expand the Safe Integration of Unmanned Aircraft
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
is establishing an aviation rulemaking
committee (PDF) with industry stakeholders to develop recommendations for a regulatory framework that would allow certain UAS to be operated over people who are not directly
involved in the operation of the aircraft. The FAA is taking this action to provide a more flexible, performance-based approach for these operations than what was considered for Micro UAS. The
committee will begin its work in March and issue its final report to the FAA on April 1.
Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act
Introduced in Senate - 3-3-2015
- Amends the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 to direct the Secretary of Transportation to study and
identify any potential threats to privacy protections posed by the integration of unmanned aircraft (drone) systems into the national airspace system, including any potential violations of privacy
- Directs the Secretary to establish certain procedures to allow for civil operation in the national airspace
system of small drone systems that do not meet expedited operational authorization requirements. Requires such procedures to ensure that the integration of drone systems into the national airspace
system is done in compliance with privacy principles.
- Prohibits the Secretary from approving, issuing, or awarding any certificate, license, or other grant of
authority to operate a drone system in the national airspace system unless the application for it includes a data collection statement, meeting certain requirements, that provides reasonable
assurance that the applicant will operate the drone system in accordance with privacy principles. Applies the same privacy principles requirement to any drone system to be operated by a law
enforcement agency or a law enforcement agency contractor or subcontractor, except that the application for it shall include a data minimization statement, meeting certain requirements, instead of a
data collection statement.
- Directs the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make any approved certificate,
license, or other grant of authority, plus other specified information, available in a searchable format on the public FAA website.
- Prohibits a governmental entity from using a drone system, or requesting information or data collected by
another entity through use of a drone system, for protective activities, or for law enforcement or intelligence purposes, except pursuant to a warrant issued using the procedures described in the
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (or, in the case of a state court, issued using state warrant procedures) by a court of competent jurisdiction, or as permitted under the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act of 1978. Makes an exception to this prohibition in exigent circumstances when a law enforcement entity reasonably believes there is: (1) an imminent danger of death or serious
physical injury; or (2) a high risk of an imminent terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization, according to the Secretary of Homeland Security .
- Makes it unlawful to operate a drone system in a manner that is not in accordance with the terms of a data
collection statement or in a manner violating any portion of the final rule for the procedures for civil operation of small drone systems required by this Act. Grants enforcement authority to the
Federal Trade Commission .
- Authorizes a state to bring a civil action on behalf of state residents in state or U.S. district court for
injunctive relief against violations of this Act or related regulations if the state attorney general has reason to believe that an interest of state residents has been or is threatened or adversely
affected by a prohibited act or practice.
- Creates a private right of action in state or U.S. district court for persons injured by a prohibited
- Allows a suit against a governmental entity.
- Requires the FAA to revoke the certificate, license, or other grant of authority to operate a drone system
operated in a prohibited manner.
- Declares that nothing in this Act may be construed to apply to model aircraft flown strictly for hobby or
recreational purposes and meeting certain other criteria.
March 2016 - FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016 (SB 2658) - FAA reauthorization moves to full Senate
H.R.4441 - Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act of 2016
Introduced in House - 2-3-2016
contains UAS legislation
Sec. 431. Definitions.
Sec. 432. Codification of existing
law; additional provisions.
Sec. 433. Unmanned aircraft test
Sec. 434. Unmanned aircraft systems
senior leadership and staffing.
Sec. 435. Sense of Congress
regarding unmanned aircraft safety.
Sec. 436. UAS privacy
Sec. 437. Public UAS operations by
Sec. 438. Facilitating unmanned
aircraft authorization in support of firefighting operations.
Sec. 439. Low altitude unmanned
aircraft system traffic management.
Sec. 440. UAS detection systems
Sec. 441. Evaluation of aircraft
registration for small unmanned aircraft.
April 6, 2016 - FAA reviewing micro UAS Report
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently reviewing the report and recommendations of the Micro Unmanned Aircraft
Systems (UAS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee. The agency had tasked the group to develop recommendations for performance-based regulations that would let certain unmanned aircraft operate over people
not directly involved in the flight of the aircraft. The rulemaking committee, which began meeting March 8, worked under
a tight deadline of April 1 to deliver its report. The task force included a diverse set of aviation stakeholders, including UAS manufacturers, UAS operators, consensus standards organizations,
researchers and academics. The ARC’s consensus report recommends establishing four small UAS categories, defined
primarily by risk of injury to people below the flight path. For each category, the group recommends assigning a potential risk linked to either weight or impact energy. The report also addresses
operational restrictions and standards to minimize the risks associated with each category. The FAA will use the information in the report to develop a flexible, performance-based proposed rule. The
public will have an opportunity to comment on the proposal based on the ARC’s recommendations. See the document below
On July 15, 2016, President Obama signed into law H.R. 636, the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security
Act of 2016 (“the Act,” Pub.L. 114-190). The Act extends the authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (“FAA”) programs and taxes to fund those programs through September 30, 2017, at
current funding levels. The Act also includes new and amended provisions related to integrating commercial small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“sUAS”), a.k.a. “drones,” into the National Airspace System
(“NAS”). This alert highlights the provisions of the Act related to safety, security, and drones.
Download the Act below
US Department of the Interior - Office of Aviation Services - Use of UAS
US Department of the Interior - Privacy Impact
US Forest Service Unmanned Aircraft Policy
Forest Service Manual (FSM) 5713.7
Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) must be considered the same as
manned aircraft, in terms of acquisition, approval and carding of pilots and aircraft, inspections, maintenance, avionics, training, and operations. All FSM 5713.7 and FSH 5709.16 references to
manned aircraft include UAS.
Any Forest Service leased, contracted, or owned UAS will require
a Certificate of Authorization (COA) from the FAA before operation. COAs will be coordinated through the Forest Service Technical Contact as identified in the National Aviation Safety and
Use of other agency UAS which have approved COAs will require
prior approval from the Washington Office Assistant Director, Aviation. Aircraft and pilot approval for cooperator UAS will adhere to existing cooperator aircraft and pilot approval policy in
FSM 5712.4 and 5713.43.
Tips for Responsible Hobby or Recreational Use of
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or "Drones" on National Forest Systems Lands
Know where to fly
- Individuals and organizations may fly UAS for hobby or recreational purposes in compliance with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Section 336 of Public Law 112-95).
- UAS must be flown below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles.
- UAS are considered to be both “motorized equipment” and “mechanical transport” as such they cannot take off from, land in, or be operated from congressionally
designated Wilderness Areas.
- UAS are not permitted to fly in areas that have “Temporary Flight Restrictions” (TFR) in place. You can search the FAA website for current TFRs by
- Never fly your UAS over or in close proximity to any fire operation (wildfire or prescribed). UAS flights over fire operations disrupt aerial firefighting
operations and create hazardous situations.
- The Forest Service regularly flies aircraft at low altitudes to perform natural resource management. It is the UAS Operator’s responsibility to be aware of these
flights and take the steps necessary to avoid them. Contact the local Ranger District Office or the FAA for scheduled flights in the area.
Protect Wildlife and the Environment
- Do not fly over congressionally designated Wilderness Areas or Primitive Areas as many people seek these places for the opportunities for solitude and quiet that
- Do not fly over or near wildlife as this can create stress that may cause significant harm, and even death. Intentional disturbance of animals during breeding,
nesting, rearing of young, or other critical life history functions is not allowed unless approved as research or management.
- Follow state wildlife and fish agency regulations on the use of UAS to search for or detect wildlife and fish.
- Launch the UAS more than 100 meters (328 feet) from wildlife. Do not approach animals or birds vertically with the UAS.
Fly safely, Stay in control
- Keep your UAS within your visual line of sight at all times.
- Take lessons and learn to operate your UAS safely.
- Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations.
- Fly your UAS at least 5 miles from an airport or backcountry airstrip.
- UAS should not be flown over or in close proximity to populated and noise-sensitive areas, such as campgrounds, trail heads, and visitor centers.
- Obey all privacy laws.
Follow Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
- Ensure that you comply with all FAA regulations and guidance for flying your UAS. The FAA has authority over all airspace. Information on FAA regulations is
- Do not fly any aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds (total weight, including payload and fuel source).
US Department of Justice Guidance - Domestic use of
US National Parks Unmanned Aircraft Policy
Authority: 36 CFR 1.5
The term "unmanned aircraft" means a device
that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components
that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this
definition (e.g., model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.
Launching, landing, or operating an
unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of [insert name of park] is prohibited except as approved in writing by the
Policy Memorandum 14-05 (“Unmanned Aircraft – Interim Policy”) requires all
superintendents to insert closure language in the park compendium prohibiting launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service
(NPS), subject to the exceptions and conditions described in the Policy Memorandum.
One of those exceptions, listed in paragraph 1(d) of the Policy Memorandum
(see Conditions and Exceptions), allows for activities under a special use permit (SUP) that specifically authorizes launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft and
that is approved in writing by the Associate Director, Visitor and Resource Protection (ADVRP).
SUPs that permit launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft from or on lands
or waters administered by the NPS should clearly identify the designated area(s) for these activities within the park. SUPs should also contain appropriate terms and conditions to ensure safe
operation of unmanned aircraft and mitigate any unacceptable impacts to the resources and values of the park.
In addition to the standard SUP conditions included on all
permits, the following conditions are required:
- Unmanned aircraft may not disturb or harass wildlife.
- Unmanned aircraft may not interfere with NPS search and rescue, law enforcement, or other emergency operations.
- Unmanned aircraft will not be flown in a reckless manner or outside the designated area(s).
- Operators may not operate unmanned aircraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Inexperienced unmanned aircraft operators must be accompanied and assisted by an experienced operator.
- Operators must avoid flying directly over people, vessels, vehicles, or structures and must avoid endangering the life and property of others.
- Operators must report all accidents involving injury (even minor first aid) and any resource or property damage to the NPS immediately. Notification to the
NPS does not relieve the operator from reporting requirements under 49 CFR 830 or under a Certificate of Authorization (COA) required by the FAA.
- Unmanned aircraft must be within visual sight, with no visual aids authorized, of the operator at all times during flight of the unmanned
- Operators must have sufficient liability insurance or proof of membership in an organization such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA)
which includes insurance coverage with membership.
Optional conditions to consider (select as appropriate; may
be revised based upon individual park needs):
- Safety line(s) must be established. Only persons associated with flying
the unmanned aircraft are allowed at or in front of the safety line that separates the area of flight operations from non-flight areas.
- An area away from the safety line must be maintained for spectators.
Intentional flying behind the safety line is prohibited.
- Time of day restrictions (consider no nighttime operations).
- Mufflers are required on all flammable fuel-powered models.
- Pilots/Operators will make the appropriate announcement when taking off, landing, or
in emergency situations.
- First aid kits must be carried by pilots/operators.
- The SUP may prohibit the use of flammable liquids for fueling unmanned aircraft. If
the superintendent decides to allow flammable fuels, however, the following requirements should apply:
- All flammable fuels will be stored in containers that are Underwriters Laboratories
(UL) listed and approved.
- No more than 5 gallons of all flammable liquid may be
on site at any time.
- A fully operational 10#
ABC portable fire extinguisher must be on site.
- All flight operations will be limited to times when there is no presence or threat of
lightning or thunderstorms, no presence or threat of any type of precipitation, and no presence of sustained wind greater than 5 mph or threat of wind gusts greater than 10 mph.
- Size, weight restrictions.
- Unmanned aircraft may not be launched, landed, or operated from or on areas that are
eligible, studied, proposed, recommended, or officially designated as wilderness.
- One single pilot may not control more than one unmanned aircraft at the same
see brochure below - violation is a misdemeanor with maximum penalty of 6 months in jail and $5,000 fine
Navigable airspace - 49 USC 40102(a)(32) - "navigable airspace" means airspace above the
minimum altitudes of flight prescribed by regulations under this subpart and subpart III of this part, including airspace needed to ensure safety in the takeoff and landing of
David Zablidowsky arrested for flying his personal UAS over Manhattan - his device crashed outside Grand Central Station, and
while no one was injured, NYPD cited him for second degree "reckless endangerment."
Policy Memorandum 14–05, Unmanned Aircraft – Interim
On June 19, 2014, National Park Service Director
Jonathon B. Jarvis signed Policy Memorandum 14–05, Unmanned Aircraft – Interim Policy. Its purpose was “to ensure that the use of unmanned aircraft is addressed in a consistent
manner by the NPS before a significant level of such use occurs within the National Park System.” Each superintendent was directed “to use the authority under 36 CFR 1.5 to close units of the
National Park System to launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft…” This policy is still in place and the public may not use unmanned aircraft in the national
PUBLIC AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS (PAO)
Differ from civil aircraft operations in that "the FAA has no regulatory authority over PAO other than those requirements that apply to all aircraft operating in the" National Airspace System"
49 USC 40102(a) - Definitions
(41) “public aircraft” means any of the following:
(A) Except with respect to an aircraft described in subparagraph (E), an aircraft used only for the United
States Government, except as provided in section 40125(b).
(B) An aircraft owned by the Government and operated by any person for purposes related to crew training,
equipment development, or demonstration, except as provided in section 40125(b).
(C) An aircraft owned and operated by the government of a State, the District of Columbia, or a territory or
possession of the United States or a political subdivision of one of these governments, except as provided in section 40125(b).
(D) An aircraft exclusively leased for at least 90 continuous days by the government of a State, the District of
Columbia, or a territory or possession of the United States or a political subdivision of one of these governments, except as provided in section 40125(b).
(E) An aircraft owned or operated by the armed forces or chartered to provide transportation or other commercial
air service to the armed forces under the conditions specified by section 40125(c). In the preceding sentence, the term “other commercial air service” means an aircraft operation that (i) is within
the United States territorial airspace; (ii) the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration determines is available for compensation or hire to the public, and (iii) must comply with all
applicable civil aircraft rules under title 14, Code of Federal Regulations.
49 USC 40125 - Qualifications for public aircraft status
(a) Definitions.-In this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) Commercial purposes.-The term "commercial purposes" means the transportation of persons or
property for compensation or hire, but does not include the operation of an aircraft by the armed forces for reimbursement when that reimbursement is required by any Federal statute, regulation, or
directive, in effect on November 1, 1999, or by one government on behalf of another government under a cost reimbursement agreement if the government on whose behalf the operation is conducted
certifies to the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration that the operation is necessary to respond to a significant and imminent threat to life or property (including natural resources)
and that no service by a private operator is reasonably available to meet the threat.
(2) Governmental function.-The term "governmental function" means an activity undertaken by a
government, such as national defense, intelligence missions, firefighting, search and rescue, law enforcement (including transport of prisoners, detainees, and illegal aliens), aeronautical research,
or biological or geological resource management.
(3) Qualified non-crewmember.-The term "qualified non-crewmember" means an individual, other than a
member of the crew, aboard an aircraft-
(A) operated by the armed forces or an intelligence agency of the United States Government; or
(B) whose presence is required to perform, or is associated with the performance of, a governmental
(4) Armed forces.-The term "armed forces" has the meaning given such term by section 101 of title 10.
(b) Aircraft Owned by Governments.-An aircraft described in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) of
section 40102(a)(41) does not qualify as a public aircraft under such section when the aircraft is used for commercial purposes or to carry an individual other than a crewmember or a qualified
(c) Aircraft Owned or Operated by the Armed Forces.-
(1) In general.-Subject to paragraph (2), an aircraft described in section 40102(a)(41)(E) qualifies
as a public aircraft if-
(A) the aircraft is operated in accordance with title 10;
(B) the aircraft is operated in the performance of a governmental function under title 14, 31, 32, or 50
and the aircraft is not used for commercial purposes; or
(C) the aircraft is chartered to provide transportation or other commercial air service to the armed
forces and the Secretary of Defense (or the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating) designates the operation of the aircraft as being required in the national
(2) Limitation.-An aircraft that meets the criteria set forth in paragraph (1) and that is owned or
operated by the National Guard of a State, the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United States, qualifies as a public aircraft only to the extent that it is operated under
the direct control of the Department of Defense.
(d) Search and Rescue Purposes.-An aircraft described in section 40102(a)(41)(D) that is not
exclusively leased for at least 90 continuous days by the government of a State, the District of Columbia, or a territory or possession of the United States or a political subdivision of 1 of those
governments, qualifies as a public aircraft if the Administrator determines that-
(1) there are extraordinary circumstances;
(2) the aircraft will be used for the performance of search and rescue missions;
(3) a community would not otherwise have access to search and rescue services; and
(4) a government entity demonstrates that granting the waiver is necessary to prevent an undue economic
burden on that government.
(Added Pub. L. 106–181, title VII, §702(b)(1), Apr. 5, 2000, 114 Stat. 155 ; amended Pub. L. 110–181, div. A, title X, §1078(b), (c), Jan. 28,
2008, 122 Stat. 334 ; Pub. L.
112–141, div. C, title V, §35003, July 6, 2012, 126 Stat. 843 .)
2012-Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 112–141 added subsec. (d).
2008-Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 110–181, §1078(c)(1), substituted "section
40102(a)(41)" for "section 40102(a)(37)".
Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 110–181, §1078(c)(2), substituted "section 40102(a)(41)(E)" for "section
40102(a)(37)(E)" in introductory provisions.
Subsec. (c)(1)(C). Pub. L. 110–181, §1078(b), inserted "or other commercial air service" after
Effective Date of 2012 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 112–141 effective Oct. 1, 2012, see section 3(a) of Pub. L.
112–141, set out as an Effective and Termination Dates of 2012 Amendment note under section 101 of Title 23,
Section applicable only to fiscal years beginning after Sept. 30, 1999, see section 3 of Pub. L.
106–181, set out as an Effective Date of 2000 Amendments note under section 106 of this title.
Transfer of Functions
For transfer of authorities, functions, personnel, and assets of the Coast Guard, including the authorities
and functions of the Secretary of Transportation relating thereto, to the Department of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see sections 468(b), 551(d), 552(d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified,
set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.
brings us inside the covert CIA drone war. The film follows people who live under drones in Pakistan and drone pilots who struggle with the new warfare. Watch the trailer
March 10, 2015 - Paul Denton, Chief of Police, Ohio State University - Drones on Campus: 10 Challenges to
April 5, 2015 - Risk, Product Liability Trends, Triggers, and Insurance in Commercial Aerial Robots - by David K. Beyer, Donna A. Dulo, Gale A. Townsle, and Stephen S. Wu.
April 5, 2014 - Considerations of a legal framework for the safe and resilient operation of autonomous aerial robots - by Cameron R. Cloar and Donna A. Dulo.
Also by Donna A. Dulo is an article appearing in Unmanned Systems - UAS in the National Airspace: Aerial Goldmine or Legal Landmine?
An article appearing in SciTech Lawyer Volume 9, by Donna A. Dulo, Christoper S. Lee, Cameron Cloar, and Jeewon Kim - UAS: Mobility on the Edge
Privacy, Restriction, and Regulation Involving
Federal, State and Local Legislation: More Hurdles
for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Integration?
David C. Ison
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide , firstname.lastname@example.org
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide , email@example.com
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide
July 3, 2014 - Memo from Mark W. Bury, Assistant Chief Counsel for International Law, Legislation and Regulations, AGC-200 to FAA, James Williams, Manager, UAS Integration Office, AFS-80
Relating to Operation of UAS as Public Aircraft for Educational Purposes (see below)
September 24, 2015 - Memo from the FAA regarding Guidance on Use of Drones by Texas School Districts and Charters (see further below).
February 2, 2015 - Article appearing in Business Law Today - Seeking Law Abiding Drones: What to tell clients that want to use drones in their business
Bill Thompson - ERAU - Lift- Off the Page - Developing UAS - watch the video below
Unmanned Aircraft systems Security Society - Paul DeBone - Security: The Critical Missing Link in Civilian Drone Operations
January 22, 2015 - Pirker, FAA settle penalty for alleged unsafe drone operation
November 18, 2014 - Michael P. Huerta v. Raphael Pirker - Docket CP-217 Opinion (see below)
and then the decisional order (see further below).
November 19, 2015 - King & Spalding - Client Alert - NTSB finds that drones are "aircraft" under Federal Law
FAA documents for download below:
- Interim Operational Approval Guidance 08-01 - Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations in the US National Airspace- March 13, 2008
- Federal Register Volume 72, Number 29 - February 13, 2007 - document to clarify the FAA's current policy concerning operations of UAS in the NAS
- Memo - September 16, 2005 - Interim Operational Approval Guidance for operations of UAS in the NAS
Drone and Mood by Don McCullough from Flickr (Creative Commons License)
On August 13, 2014, the FAA announced that
the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University's unmannned aircraft systems (UAS) test site program was ready to conduct research vital to integrating UAS into the nation's airspace.
The site is the last of 6 nationwide to be declared operational. The FAA granted Virginia Tech 7 Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) for 2 years. Virginia Tech is a
member of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) consisting of academia, government, industry, economic development agencies, and non-profit organizations throughout Virginia, New Jersey, and
The FAA first authorized use of unmanned
aircraft in the National Airspace System (NAS) in 1990.
Today, unmanned aircraft are flying in the
NAS under very controlled conditions, performing border and port surveillance by the Department of Homeland Security, helping with scientific research and environmental monitoring by NASA and NOAA,
supporting public safety by law enforcement agencies, helping state universities conduct research, and supporting various other missions for public (government) entities. Operations range from ground
level to above 50,000 feet, depending on the specific type of aircraft. However, UAS operations are currently not authorized in Class B airspace, which exists over major urban areas and contains the
highest density of manned aircraft in the National Airspace System.
Thomson-Wimmer Inc. is changing the way companies do business by changing how they see
unmanned aircraft technology!
February 2015 - Harvard Law School - National Security Journal - Drones in the US National Airspace System: A Safety and Security Assessment
Domestic Drones and Privacy: A Primer - a paper written by the Congressional Research Service on March 2015 (download below)
FAA on Aviation-Related Videos or Other Electronic Media on the Internet
This notice provides guidance to
aviation safety inspectors (ASI) regarding actions to be taken when notified of videos or other electronic media posted to the Internet depicting the operation of aircraft in the National Airspace
System (NAS) that may be contrary to Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) or statute.
UAS videos, in particular, are increasingly appearing on the
Internet. UAS videos may depict aircraft being flown in a variety of classes of airspace and at varying altitudes. Inspectors are to follow the protocol below when receiving notification of videos
with potentially noncompliant UAS operations posted to the Internet. This notice provides an outline and protocol for inspectors when initiating educational outreach. When responding to a
notification that requires contact with a UAS operator, follow the guidance contained in FAA Notice N 8900.268, Education, Compliance, and Enforcement of
Unauthorized Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operators (cancelled). If counseling in the form of an informational letter is warranted, send the UAS
Informational Letter Template for Inspectors (see Appendix A). The letter must not be altered other than to fill in the appropriate address of the operator and FSDO along with your contact
information and signature. If the educational outreach is ineffective in gaining compliance, the UAS operator is noncompliant or uncooperative, or the UAS operation resulted in a medium to high
potential or actual endangerment to the NAS, the inspector is to continue their investigation as outlined in N 8900.268.
Note: N 8900.227, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS ) Operational Approval
8900.292, Aviation-Related Videos or Other Electronic Media on the Internet is still available.
The memorandum (download below) dated May 5, 2015, addresses three issues concerning the use of unmanned aircraft
for newsgathering: (1) whether members of the media may use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for newsgathering; (2)
whether the media may use pictures, video, or other infmmation collected by a person using UAS; and (3) whether a person who sells images collected by UAS
authorization for his or her operations.
Below is a webinar transcript in PDF by Brendan Schulman explaining the February 15, 2015 NPRM for sUAS
Overview of sUAS by the FAA on
proposed Rule 107
§404.13 Petitions for extension of
time to comment.
(a) Any person may petition the Associate Administrator for an extension of time to submit comments in
response to a notice of proposed rulemaking. The petition shall be submitted in duplicate not less than three days before expiration of the time stated in the notice. The filing of the petition does
not automatically extend the time for petitioner's comments.
(b) The Associate Administrator grants the petition only if the petitioner shows a substantive interest in
the proposed rule and good cause for the extension, and if the extension is in the public interest. If an extension is granted, it is granted as to all persons and is published in
the Federal Register.
[53 FR 11013, Apr. 4, 1988, as amended by Amdt. 404-2, 68 FR 35289, June 13, 2003]
FAA's rulemaking process and AOPA's response to the NPRM on UAS
Presidential Memorandum: Promoting
Economic Competitiveness while Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use of UAS
The law is currently settled in the US that, "on the public street, or in any other public place, the plaintiff has no legal right to be alone; and it is no invasion of his privacy to do no more
than follow him about and watch him there." Mark v. Seattle Times - 1981
UAS PREZI Regulations v. Policy
FAA PREZI Rulemaking Process
DOT and FAA Propose New Rules for Small UAS - February 15, 2015
NPRM - Operation and Certification of small UAS - February 23, 2015
Comment on NPRM on UAS Operation and
Certification before April 24, 2015
February 12, 2014 - Public use of UAS - Advisory Circular
00-1.1A - Public Aircraft Operations
14 CFR Part 11 - General Rulemaking Procedures
14 CFR Part 101 - MOORED BALLOONS, KITES, AMATEUR ROCKETS AND UNMANNED FREE BALLOONS
Federal Register Act of 1935
Administrative Procedures Act
Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972
Regulatory Flexibility Act
Executive Order 13,272 - Proper Consideration of Small Entities, to further add on Small Business
Administration notification requirements
Memorandum on Regulatory Flexibility,
Small Business, and Job Creation