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​​A small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS), sometimes called a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot onboard – instead, the UAS is controlled from an operator on the ground.

Due to the public's growing interest in Quad Copters and Drones, this holiday may see an increase in flights of sUAS in and around the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Area. On Aug. 29, 2016, the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) passed 14 CFR Part 107 for Private (flying for fun), Commercial and Agency sUAS operations within the United States. Both the FFA and North Carolina's Division of Aviation want to educate the operators, as well as provide contact information and guidance. The NEW Small UAS Rule (Part 107)​, including all pilot and operating rules, is to provide procedures and regulations for safe operations for both the public and the aviation community and cover privacy issue addressed by the public.

When you fly a drone in the United States, it is your responsibility to understand and abide by the rules. Operating a sUAS for commercial or government use requires a Remote Pilot Certification through the FAA. As well, operating a drone in N.C. will require an Operator Permit from the NCDOT's Division of Aviation​  and adherence to all state rules and regulations for the safe operation of UAS However, Recreational flying does not require any permits. 

photo for the 3 different forms of registration needed to operate a drone

For more information about operating sUAS in the U.S., please read the information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration​.   Safe UAS operations esources can also be found at

Citizens who wish to fly their sUAS' s (Drones, Quad Copters) and live within 5 miles of the airport need to pay close attention to the new regulations. Per Part 107 for the Hobbyists (flying for fun), they will need to contact the Air Traffic Control tower at 704-359-1000 and the Air Operations at 704-359-4012 prior to flying their aircraft, The new rules state that the operators will need to provide their location (latitude and longitude), type of sUAS and the altitude (no higher than 400 ft.) before flying their drone. 

As well, sUAS are considered aircraft by the FAA and citizens cannot shoot them down, Call 911 if you observe one flying in a reckless manner. There is also a FAA phone app [iPhone app  |  Android app]  that will tell you if the person is authorized to fly in the location where you encounter them. Please download this app to your phone and use as a resource. Notify them about the app and suggest they download it also if they are not aware of it.