Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I have a drone and would like to use it to monitor my business, such as by checking my roof. I won’t sell any pictures. Is this commercial use?

A: Yes. The FAA views any UAS (drone) operation that supports the functions of your business as a non-recreational use. In order to fly your UAS in this manner, you must follow the regulations set out under part 107. For more information, click here.

Q: Where can I find a list of temporary flight restrictions or TFRs?

A: Right here!

Q: Do any hobby shops provide UAS flight training for free?

A: Yes. Many hobby shops offer flight instruction with the sale of a multi-rotor. In addition many of the Academy of Model Aeronautics 2400 clubs also offer free flight training. To find a club near you, visit www.modelaircraft.org.

Q: I flew my drone for fun but ended up taking a photograph that I was able to sell later. Is this acceptable?

A: Yes, as long as the original intent of the flight was for fun.

Q: I bought a small drone and I don’t know how much it weighs. Do I need to register myself as the operator?

A: It depends on the weight of the air vehicle. Please contact the manufacturer for specifications, ask the hobby shop where you bought it or weigh it if you have a sensitive scale. We keep a running list of vehicles that require registration, so if you have information you don’t see on our site, please send it to us and we’ll update the web page. The weight limit is about the same as two sticks of butter, so if you are unsure, it may be best to register anyway.

Q: I live near a small airport that has no tower and little traffic. Do I need to stay five miles away from it?

A: The best way to verify this is to consult the FAA’s B4UFly app, which you can find here, or consult our U.S. flight map, provided by our partner AirMap, which can be found here.

Q: I live near a heliport. Can I fly near it?

A: Yes. But, if you are within five miles of it, you can fly only if it is safe to do so, you do not interfere with manned aircraft, you see and avoid manned aircraft at all times, and you have notified the operator of the heliport and resolved any safety concerns.

Q: I have a radio controlled airplane and just bought a quadcopter drone. Do I need to register only the drone?

A: If you already have a registration number from the FAA, you can put the same registration number on the quadcopter. The FAA classifies all airborne devices that are controlled from outside the aircraft using a ground control station as unmanned aircraft systems. Both fixed wing and rotorcraft aircraft that weigh at least .55 pounds (250 grams) must have a FAA registration number, but you do not need a separate number for each aircraft. However, you must have a copy of the registration certificate on your person whenever you fly either of these aircraft.

Q: Do I have to register every aircraft I own?

A: No. Recreational operators only need to register once. Once you receive a FAA registration number you can put that same number on all of the aircraft you own that meet the weight requirement. However, you must have a copy of the registration certificate on your person whenever you fly any of these aircraft.

Q: I am visiting the United States from another country and would like to fly my drone while there. Do I need to register it?

A: Yes. If it meets the weight requirement, which is 250 grams or .55 pounds, you must complete the online registration process.

Q: I have tried to register my drone from outside the U.S. but the website won’t work. How can I register my drone if I’m bringing it to the U.S. to fly?

A: You will need to register once you arrive in the United States. For non-citizens or non-permanent U.S. residents, the certificate serves as “recognition of ownership,” not a registration certificate. The FAA plans to have an electronic means for foreign guests to register soon.

Q: I would like to have some Know Before You Fly materials to distribute. How can I get them?

A: Our website includes several videos as well as pamphlets and flyers available for download.