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UAV / Drone Guidance

Individuals flying unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as UAVs or drones, for hobby or recreation are strongly encouraged to follow certain safety guidelines, which include:

  • Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
  • Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
  • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
  • Don't fly outdoors within 5 miles of an airport (see map)
  • Don't fly near people or stadiums
  • Don't be careless or reckless with your UAS

Under current law, individuals who plan to fly UAS outdoors within 5 miles of an airport must first notify the airport and the air traffic control tower, if there is one at that airport.

The statutory parameters of a model aircraft operation are outlined in Section 336 of Public Law 112-95 (the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012) (PDF). Individuals who fly within the scope of these parameters do not require permission to operate their UAS; any flight outside these parameters (including any non-hobby, non-recreational operation) requires FAA authorization. For example, using a UAS to take photos for your personal use is recreational; using the same device to take photographs or videos for compensation or sale to another individual would be considered a non-recreational operation.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has created a new web-based registration system for small unmanned aircraft systems.  Hobbyists and recreational users who fly small UAS, which include remote controlled aircraft, may register at

Owners must register small UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (about 25 kilograms) if they are to be flown outdoors for hobby or recreation.  Many of the small UAS sold essentially as toys at a cost of $100 or less do not require registration. This Recreational UAS Weights document illustrates the types of UAS that do and do not require registration.

Owners of small UAS acquired before December 21, 2015 must be registered no later than February 19, 2016.  For all others, registration is required prior to the first outdoor flight.  Owners must provide their complete name, physical address, mailing address (if different), and a valid email address to register. 

Federal law requires a $5 registration fee that will be collected at the time of registration via credit card.  To encourage speedy compliance, the FAA is making the process free for the first 30 days.  (The registration website will initially charge the owner’s credit card $5, but a refund credit will appear shortly afterward.)  

After completing registration, owners will receive a personal registration number.  If a person owns more than one small UAS, each aircraft must be marked with that number.  Any method may be used to mark the UAS, as long as the number is legible.  Registrants may put the number in the battery compartment if it is easily accessible. 

The FAA will immediately email a certificate containing the holder’s name, registration number, and the dates of issuance and expiration.  The operator must keep either a printed or electronic version of this certificate on hand for inspection as proof of registration.  Registration must be renewed every three years. If assistance is needed with registration, email 

The full FAA rule can be viewed here:

A FAQ page with answers to most common questions is at:

In order to help educate a variety of interested parties about UAS, the Florida Department of Transportation has recently updated their website to include information on UAS regulations and resources. The direct link to this UAS website is