government drone operators in N.C. now need permits
drones become more common in American households and businesses, the
N.C. Department of Transportation is working to help promote safety
on the air and on the ground by educating drone operators in the
also called Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), offer a wide variety of
uses – from tech-loving hobbyists to professional photographers,
university researchers, agricultural operations and government
the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the NCDOT Division of
Aviation classify UAS flight operations by three categories:
Any UAS flight that is conducted solely for recreation.
Any UAS flight conducted by a government entity to support their
Any UAS flight that serves a business purpose or provides a business
benefit, even if that benefit is indirect.
the direction of the North Carolina General Assembly, NCDOT launched
a permitting system for commercial and government UAS operators in
North Carolina. The system is designed to help UAS owners better
understand restrictions on the use of their technology through a
simple and efficient online process.
this month, all government and commercial UAS operators must obtain a
permit from NCDOT’s
Division of Aviation.
permitting process will help educate UAS owners,” said N.C.
Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson. “We want to encourage safe
and responsible drone operations in North Carolina.”
obtain a permit, users must first pass the North Carolina UAS
Operators Knowledge Test. A guide is available to help users study
before taking the test.
addition to passing the knowledge test, users must meet certain FAA
requirements to obtain a commercial or government operator permit in
North Carolina. The full requirements are available on the Division
of Aviation website (ncdot.gov/aviation).
who meet all requirements will receive a paper permit, similar to a
driver license, that they will be required to keep with them while
conducting commercial or government UAS operations.
users are not required to complete the permit process, but are
strongly encouraged to review the study guide and take the knowledge
test to better understand UAS regulations in North Carolina.
operators -- whether recreational, government or commercial -- should
keep in mind that North Carolina has laws governing drone use. Drone
users are subject to all North Carolina laws, even if UAS technology
is not mentioned in the specific statute.
UAS operators on Hatteras and Ocracoke, it is important to recognize
that drone use is prohibited in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
and all National Park Service properties.
owners must also register drones weighing between 0.55 lbs. and 55
lbs. with the FAA. More information about registration is available
on the FAA’s UAS website (faa.gov/uas/registration).
potential drone owners can find more information about state and
federal UAS regulations on the Division of Aviation’s website.