US Drone Law
Cutting Edge Legal Analysis for
Cutting Edge Drone Technology
US Drone Law is not a law firm. The contents of this site do not represent legal advice and are for informational purposes only.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The FAA has developed an app for Apple and Android smartphones called B4UFly. The app determines your location with the GPS on your phone and then informs you of any flight restrictions in your area. The app can be a little misleading, though. When you open the app you will see an interactive map, and, depending on your location, the map may display many airports all around your location. You may not recognize many of these airports even if you have lived in the area for a long time. This is because the app displays all airports that meet the regulatory definition of an airport, from the largest commercial airports to registered helipads and backyard airstrips. The app displays a five-mile radius around each of these “airports” and can leave the impression that there are very few locations where you may fly your drone.
It is true that the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Section 336 of Public Law 112-95) does require drone operators, when flying their drone within 5 miles of an airport, to provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower with prior notice of the planned flight. However, this requirement is different for non-recreational users.
The best way to determine where you can and can’t fly your drone is to review an aeronautical map (https://sua.faa.gov/), locate airports and determine what class of airspace you plan to fly in, and then contact the necessary parties (if any) to provide notice or obtain the permission needed.