It’s a bird. It’s a plane. These days, it could be a drone — i.e. an unmanned aerial vehicle, also called an unmanned aircraft system. More drones are popping up in the skies around town and, as a result, more photographers are getting killer shots of local landmarks using the tech.
Did you know drones have been taking off in the commercial + recreational markets over the last decade? And the trend shows no signs of slowing. 📈
Since drones are still relatively new, we started wondering about NC’s rules + regulations regarding drone use. Here’s what we found out:
- Many of the regulations related to drone operation focus on safety + privacy.
- Drone operators must comply with all FAA regulations + policies.
- If your drone weighs more than .55 lbs, you’ll need to pay $5 to register it.
When can’t drones be used?
- To photograph or conduct surveillance of a person or private property without consent. Note: Some exceptions exist for law enforcement + emergency management agencies.
- Within 500 feet (horizontally) or 250 feet (vertically) of a local, state, or federal correctional facility.
- To hunt, or to disrupt the lawful taking of wildlife resources.
📝 ProTip: If you’re a recreational flyer (a.k.a. if you fly your drone for fun), you must register your drone and mark it with the registration number (and carry proof of registration). You don’t need a special permit or license. Plus —
- You must fly the drone no higher than 400 feet above the ground in uncontrolled airspace.
- Your drone must be in your visual line of sight, or in the line of sight of someone in communication with you.
- You shouldn’t fly over a person, stadium, public event, or moving vehicle.
- You shouldn’t fly at night.
- You cannot interfere with the work of emergency response personnel.
What else should I keep in mind?
- You need special permission if you want to use your drone in a state park.
- Some local governments + national parks have drone restrictions, so always check before you fly. For example, you can’t fly a drone on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but you can fly it nearby, in areas that aren’t under the jurisdiction of the NPS or state parks.
- Indoor flights are under the jurisdiction of building owners, but imagery collected is still subject to state laws.
Planning to operate a drone for commercial purposes (i.e. for compensation or a business)? You’ll need a permit + you must pass a knowledge test and register with the state. Click here to find out more. 🌆
Follow a few of our favorite local drone photographers: