NCDOT reminds drone hobbyists: No drones in disaster areas

Raleigh, NC – As Hurricane Irma approaches, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation is urging drone hobbyists not to fly while disaster relief and response efforts are ongoing.

No drones in disaster zonesWhile licensed and well-trained professional drone operators can be a huge help in disaster response efforts, hobbyists get in the way more often than not. In a number of recent natural disasters, including wildfires in the western U.S., recreational drone users flying without authorization have forced emergency responders to cease operations out of concern for the safety of their crews.

During and after a disaster, the Federal Aviation Administration often imposes temporary flight restrictions over affected areas.  Drone users should always check the FAA TFR website before attempting to fly, even under normal conditions.

The last thing you want is for someone to be left on their roof because a helicopter rescue had to be called off due to your drone.  Help keep North Carolina First in Drone Safety, and remember: No Drones in Disaster Zones

Guidelines for recreational drone users

Recreational UAS/drone operators are not required to obtain a license or permit from the Division of Aviation. However, recreational users are subject to NC UAS rules and regulations. The FAA, however, has set guidelines for safe and responsible operation:

  • Always fly below an altitude of 400 feet, and fly within your direct line of sight.
  • Be aware of FAA airspace requirements
  • Do not fly near stadiums, public events, or directly over people.
  • Do not fly near aircraft, especially near airports.
  • Do not fly near emergency response efforts such as fires or hurricane recovery efforts.
  • Do not fly for compensation.
  • Do not fly at night.
  • Do not fly a UAS/drone that weighs more than 55 pounds.

For more tips on safe drone flying, visit NCDOT’s UAS webpage.