Recreational Flyers & Modeler Community-Based Organizations
The rule for operating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones under 55 pounds in the National Airspace System (NAS) is 14 CFR Part 107, referred to as the Small UAS Rule. However, if you want to fly a drone for purely recreational purposes, there is a limited statutory exception ("carve out") that provides a basic set of requirements.
The Recreational UAS Safety Test or TRUST is available! Recreational flyers are encouraged to take and pass TRUST at their earliest opportunity and carry proof of passage when flying.
What is a Recreational Flight?
Many people assume that a recreational flight is one that is not operated for a business or any form of compensation. But, that's not always the case. Financial compensation, or the lack of it, is not what determines if the flight is recreational or commercial. The following information can be used to help you determine what rules you should be operating under. Remember, the default regulation for drones weighing under 55 pounds is Part 107. The exception for recreational flyers only applies to flights that are purely for fun or personal enjoyment. When in doubt, fly under Part 107.
Note: Non-recreational purposes include things like taking photos to help sell a property or service, roof inspections, or taking pictures of a high school football game for the school's website. Goodwill or other non-monetary value can also be considered indirect compensation. This would include things like volunteering to use your drone to survey coastlines on behalf of a non-profit organization. Recreational flight is simply flying for fun or personal enjoyment.
What are the Rules for Recreational Flyers?
The Exception for Limited Operation of Unmanned Aircraft (USC 44809) is the law that describes how, when, and where you can fly drones for recreational purposes. Following these rules will keep people, your drone and our airspace safe:
Fly only for recreational purposes (enjoyment).
Follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO).
Note: We have not yet begun officially recognizing CBOs. Recreational flyers are directed to follow the safety guidelines of existing aeromodelling organizations or use the FAA provided safety guidelines per Advisory Circular 91-57B.
Keep your drone within the visual line of sight or use a visual observer who is co-located (physically next o) and in direct communication with you.
Give way to and do not interfere with manned aircraft.
Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace.
Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage.
Have a current registration, mark your drones on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration with you.
Do not operate your drone in a dangerous manner. For example:
Do not interfere with emergency response or law enforcement activities.
Do not fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Individuals violating any of these rules, and/or operating in a dangerous manner, may be subject to FAA enforcement action. For more information, read Advisory Circular 91-57B.
Taking The Trust Test
The Recreational UAS Safety Test, or TRUST, has the goal of increasing awareness of safety and best practices in our complex national airspace. The FAA requires that all recreational UAS pilots in the United States complete TRUST. The AMA has been a resource for model aviation hobbyists since 1936. As a Testing Administrator, we ensure hobbyists have an easy way to accomplish this training. This guide will ensure you can quickly pass the TRUST and potentially learn something new along the way.
FAA Registration, Renewal, and Marking Your Aircraft
As of Monday February 25, 2019, the FAA requires drone pilots and model aircraft pilots to display their FAA-issued registration number on the outside surface of their aircraft. Many of our members have reached out with questions on how to comply with this new requirement, so we would like to provide additional guidance for our members through this informative video. In addition, we’ve posted clarification below to address recent questions and concerns.
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