Safe Flying

In 2012, the FAA Modernization Reform Act required the FAA to crate rules for the use of unmanned aircraft. Know Before You Fly is an educational campaign founded by The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), and The Small UAV Coalition. The three organizations have partnered with the FAA to promote safe and responsible flying. 

Below are just a few rules to keep in mind from Know Before You Fly. For a full list, and a downloadable brochure, visit

  • Fly no higher than 400 feet and remain below any surrounding obstacles when possible. 
  • Keep your UAS in eyesight at all times. 
  • Remain clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations, and you must see and avoid other aircraft and obstacles at all times. 
  • Do not intentionally fly over unprotected persons or moving vehicles, and remain at least 25 feet away from individuals and vulnerable property. 
  • Contact the airport or control tower before flying within five miles of an airport. 
  • Do not fly in adverse weather conditions such as in high winds or reduced visibility. 
  • Do not fly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Do not fly near or over sensitive infrastructure or property such as power stations, water treatment facilities, correctional facilities, heavily traveled roadways, government facilities, etc. 
  • Check and follow all local laws and ordinances before flying over private property.  
  • Do not conduct surveillance or photograph persons in areas where there is an expectation of privacy without the individual’s permission (see AMA’s privacy policy). 

There are also restrictions that protect national parks, and wildlife. Having an App like Hover can help to identify no fly areas. Many manufactures have Apps that will also allow you to see what areas are restricted. It is also important to be aware of no fly restrictions put in place for special events. Flying your drone in restricted areas can lead to fines, arrest, possible jail time, and civil litigation. If you are unsure, don't fly your drone until you know it is legal, and safe to do so. 

Commercial drone users must apply for a Section 333 exemption through the FAA. Public entities such as law enforcement and universities must apply for a COA thorough the FAA. If you are interested in more information on commercial drone use and exemptions, please visit or