Sarah Nilsson JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah NilssonJD, PhD, MAS

FAA Website Resources for Recreational Users


TRUST - FAA Recreational Safety and Knowledge Test


There is still confusion among the recreational flyer community concerning the notification of airports. The requirement to notify any airport/heliport within 5 miles was created in 2012 (Section 336). Congress rescinded that requirement in 2018. When the law was changed, persons flying under the newly created Exception for Limited Operation of UA were required to obtain an airspace authorization from the FAA before operating in controlled airspace. The FAA determined that airspace authorizations in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and surface area Class E) must be obtained via LAANC or the FAA’s DroneZone (in the case of non-LAANC capable airports) or operated within a Fixed Flying Site.

Additional information about how the FAA reviews and approves airspace authorization requests is available in:

- Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of UA –- Advisory Circular 91-57B

Processing of UAS Requests – JO 7200.23.

Recreational flyers (and part 107 operators) do not need airspace authorization if flying in uncontrolled (Class G) airspace.



The answer depends upon the rules or statutes that govern the flight. In the case of recreational flyers operating under the Exception for Limited Operation of UA, the flights must comply with the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO). The agency is in the process of developing an application and review process for CBOs. In the interim recreational flyers are directed to follow the safety guidelines of existing aeromodelling organizations or use the FAA-provided safety guidelines per Advisory Circular 91-57B.

For drone flights operating under Special Authority for Certain UAS, 49 USC section 44807 as a civil or public operator, they must follow the requirements of §91.7 to ensure no person operates the aircraft unless it is in airworthy condition. Additionally, certificates of waiver or authorization (COA) require a preflight “to include specific aircraft and control station systems checks, to ensure the small UAS is in a condition for safe operation.”

For flights operated under 14 CFR part 107, §107.49 requires the remote pilot in command to:

- Check local weather;

- Check airspace;

- Inspect and confirm the functionality of drone and ground control station;

- Confirm the location of persons and property on the ground;

- Check for other ground hazards;

- Confirm adequate power requirements; and

- Ensure all crew members are briefed about operating conditions, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, potential hazards, and contingency procedures.

For more information, see AC 107-2A, Chapter 5. Also, Appendix E of the advisory circular contains a sample preflight assessment and inspection checklist.

Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of UA
Adobe Acrobat document [282.1 KB]
2019 - List of AMA Flying Fields
Microsoft Excel sheet [31.3 KB]
2019 - FAA Advisory Circular to Recreational Flyers of UAS
Adobe Acrobat document [149.8 KB]
AMA sUAS Flight Safety Guide
Adobe Acrobat document [1.9 MB]
2014 - AMA National Model Aircraft Safety Code
Adobe Acrobat document [108.7 KB]


Flite Test Community Association (FTCA) is designed to be the hub where the people identifying with the community can rally together to promote the future of model aviation. Their vision is simple,  they want to bring hope for the future of the hobby. That is why their motto is “Bringing Hope to the Hobby”.



The AUVSI Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that was established to support the educational initiatives of the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). The AUVSI Foundation focuses on the future of the robotics industry by developing programs that will attract and equip students for a career in this rapidly growing field. Through a variety of efforts, the AUVSI Foundation provides students with the opportunity to experience fun, hands-on robotics activities that promote STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math). At the K-12 level, the Foundation introduces students to the wide range of robotics programs available to them, fueling their imaginations while enhancing their education. As students’ skill levels advance, the AUVSI Foundation hosts robotics competitions that challenge students to apply their engineering skills in the development of autonomous ground, air and maritime vehicles. To date, the AUVSI Foundation has awarded nearly $1 million in prize money to participating schools since the competitions began in 1991.



Aerospace Industries Association represents the nation's leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military, and business aircraft, helicopters, UAS, space systems, aircraft engines, missiles, material and related components, equipment, services, and information technology.



The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is a professional society devoted to the progress of engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. Serving this elite audience and its historic mission is their commitment and their privilege. AIAA's mission is to address the professional needs and interests of the past, current, and future aerospace workforce and to advance the state of aerosapce science, engineering, technology, operations, and policy to benefit ouur global socety.


ATSM 38: This Committee addresses issues related to design, performance, quality acceptance tests, and safety monitoring for UAS. Stakeholders include manufacturers of UAVs and their components, federal agencies, design professionals, professional societies, maintenance professionals, trade associations, financial organizations, and academia.


Adobe Acrobat document [399.2 KB]



Hobby and recreational users of UAS are required to follow the guidance of AC91-57A (available for download below), which the FAA released on September 2, 2015, and then updated on January 11, 2016 due to a typographical error, which replaces AC91-57 of 1981

Adobe Acrobat document [176.4 KB]

AC 91-57 - the former Model Aircraft Operating Standards - this has been cancelled, and replaced by

AC-91-57A on September 2, 2015 and then again with

AC 91-57A with change 1 on January 11, 2016



Concerns raised over FAA’s UAS registration plan - UAS Magazine


FAA - 2014 - 0396 - Interpretation of Special Rule for Model Aircraft 

March 21, 2016: In this document below the FAA interprets the model aircraft registration rule

Rusinko - (2016) Legal Interpretation.pd[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [74.6 KB]



JO 7200.23A


JO 7200.23


Adobe Acrobat document [858.7 KB]

Feb 18, 2017 - Getting to know more about the FPV world of UAS

Had a very interesting chat with Sean Wendland

Why isn't the UAS world enbracing this more?

Aren't these people the future of BVLOS?

Article from Feb 2014 - The Little-Known Feud That's Shaping the Future of Delivery Drones

Article from May 2014 - THE DRONE REVOLUTION

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Sarah Nilsson, J.D., Ph.D., MAS


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The information on this website is for EDUCATIONAL purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice. 

While the author of this website is an attorney, she is not YOUR attorney, nor are you her client, until you enter into a written agreement with Nilsson Law, PLLC to provide legal services.

In no event shall Sarah Nilsson be liable for any special, indirect, or consequential damages relating to this material, for any use of this website, or for any other hyperlinked website.



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