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Drone safety important as users increase

As the days grow longer and warmer, more and more drone owners are heading outdoors to enjoy their technology. North Carolina’s Division of Aviation website is a great resource to help owners learn how to operate their drone safely in North Carolina.

“This is an exciting and expanding field, but safety should be a top priority,” said Division of Aviation Director Bobby Walston. “We want to help drone owners use this technology responsibly.”

N.C. Transportation, along with the Federal Aviation Administration and model aircraft enthusiast groups, have established a number of guidelines that should be followed to ensure a fun and safe experience:

  • Always fly below an altitude of 400 feet and fly within your direct line of sight;
  • Do not fly within 5 miles of an airport, near stadiums or other public events, or for compensation;
  • Do not fly drones that weigh more than 55 pounds; and
  • Do not fly at night, even if your drone is equipped with lights.

North Carolinians interested in flying a drone for commercial or government operations must first obtain a permit from the N.C. Division of Aviation. The permitting system, which began in January 2016, is designed to help drone owners better understand restrictions on drone use through a simple and efficient online process.

That process was recently updated to improve the experience for drone owners and others with an interest in this technology. The permitting process now recognizes driver licenses from U.S. territories and Canadian provinces, in addition to all U.S. states. Users also have an opportunity to provide anonymous feedback and comments to help the Division of Aviation improve the permitting process and the drone program.

Users can expect more updates in the future. “We are committed to improving this site as the industry continues to evolve,” said Walston.

More than 200 North Carolinians have received drone operator permits since the system’s launch.

Drones, also called unmanned aircraft systems, are subject to both state and federal laws. Current and potential drone owners can find more information about state and federal regulations on the Division of Aviation’s website.



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