Drones, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) represent the future in so many different ways. For both the professional and amateur operator, UAS are fun and interesting to fly, but come with some very real responsibilities. There have been a number of close calls between aircraft in flight and UAVs. Most have involved someone unfamiliar with airspace restrictions flying a UAS too close to an airplane in flight. A collision between an aircraft and a UAS (even a small one) could spell disaster, and possibly result in loss of life. This is why all segments of the aviation industry are encouraging all UAS operators to become aware of their responsibilities.

Here are some guidelines for safe operation of a UAS:

Recreational Drone Use In Controlled Airspace

Notification to air traffic control towers or local airports is not required to operate a drone outside of Class "D" airspace.

Please see the FAA's latest update for recreational flyers here:  Access To Controlled Airspaces Advances Drone and Overall Aviation Safety 

For flight near Arlington Municipal Airport's controlled airspace, drone operators must receive an airspace authorization prior to operation. Airspace authorizations come with altitude limitations and may include other operational provisions. An airspace authorization through the FAA's Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) will be required to enter controlled airspace. The LAANC system is now available to Recreational flyers. Currently, KGKY's airspace is outlined as seen on the FAA's ArcGIS Map.

Further, FAA airspace authorization can be granted by through a number of approved UAS Service Suppliers (USS). USS facilitate the application and approval process between the user and the FAA utilizing the LAANC system. Multiple USS have apps available on Apple's App Store or Google Play Store. 

Commercial Drone Use In Controlled Airspace

Under part 107, drone pilots planning to fly in controlled airspace must get permission from the FAA. Please submit requests for authorization to fly in controlled airspace near airports via the LAANC and the DroneZone systems. 

As of April of 2021, the FAA  allows for drone operations over people and operations at night under certain conditions. See Here

Finally, understand the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) authority

The FAA regulates all aspects of aviation in the United States, including UAS. The FAA’s authority extends from licensing aviation professionals to operating the nation’s air traffic control system (ATC), responsible for safely separating all aircraft from each other when they fly, to regulating every aspect of airport operation. The airspace above your home, your business, or even the local park, is under the jurisdiction of the FAA.

Just as pilots of aircraft carefully follow FAA regulations, so must UAS operators. UAS are a relatively recent phenomenon, and the FAA is still developing the rules they’ll use to determine how drones can safely share the same airspace as commercial, private, and military aircraft. Check the FAA’s website frequently for changes on how and where owners are allowed to legally fly their UAVs. Remember, violation of federal regulations may result in severe penalties. As federal regulations on UAS are still evolving, it’s critical to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. We appreciate your cooperation and commitment to safety in the aviation community. 

Always Remember

  • Register your UAS.
  • Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles.
  • Keep the UAS within visual line of sight at all times.
  • Remain well clear of, and do not interfere with, manned aircraft operations.
  • Receive an airspace authorization before flying in controlled airspace
  • Don’t fly near people or stadiums.
  • Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 pounds.
  • Don’t be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft - you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft.
  • Don’t fly while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Useful Links