The FAA on Quadcopters

by Stephen Mraz

Anyone owning a quadcopter or drone weighing more than 0.55 lb (8.8 oz.) must register it with the Federal Aviation Administration if they intend to fly it outdoors, in accordance with FAA regulations. It will cost those owners $5. If the qcopter tips the scales at over 55 lb, including any extra equipment or cameras attached, the FAA no longer considers it a model aircraft or a recreational Unmanned Aircraft System, and a long list of other regulations apply.

Model planes can also not be used for commercial uses or for payment. They can only be used for hobby and recreational uses.

There are not that many other FAA guidelines that quadcopter “pilots” need to follow. Among the few guidelines:
• Quadcopters (or any unmanned recreational aircraft) cannot fly above 400 ft.
• They must remain within sight of the operator.
• Quadcopters cannot fly within 5 miles of an airport without prior FAA approval.
• Quadcopters cannot fly over military bases, national parks, or the Washington, D.C., area and other sensitive government buildings (CIA, NSA, FBI).

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Original Article


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