Basic Information Regarding the Flying of Drones
Prepared by the Chatham Airport Commission
Updated: September 2017
The Federal Aviation Administration regards all Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, as aircraft! If you own and fly a drone for non-hobby or commercial purposes (for hire of any type) that weighs more than half a pound, you are required to register it with the FAA. You must also provide the registration certificate upon request and the drone must be marked with the registration or serial number. The FAA link to register your drone is: https://registermyuas.faa.gov
The drone must not endanger persons or property on the ground; it must give way to and not interfere with manned aircraft, it must be flown within visual line-of-sight, and it must comply with all flight restrictions.
If the drone is used for hobby purposes within five (5) miles of any airport, users must notify the airport operator or control tower of the flight regardless of its flying altitude. This means to operate a drone in any part of Chatham you must notify the Chatham Municipal Airport at this phone number: 508-945-9000 or via the following email: email@example.com. The best option is to go to the airport and speak with the Airport Manager about your plans. Failure to follow the above rules may result in civil penalties up to $27,500, and criminal penalties or fines up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.
Also, if you use a drone for non‐hobby or commercial purposes, the rules have changed. You will need a Part 107 Certificate. For Part 107 operations use this link: https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/. Commercial operators who wish to fly outside of current FAA regulations (at the link above), such as at night or beyond line-of-sight need to apply for and produce upon inspection a waiver for that action, available online here: https://www.faa.gov/uas/request_waiver/
The FAA is very serious about the use of drones; they are not toys. For further information, go to https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/ or www.knowbeforeyoufly.org. There is also a smartphone App called B4Ufly that provides information about drone use in the area surrounding airports near your location.
Again, to register a drone, go to www.registermyuas.faa.gov. You can also stop in at Chatham airport and speak with airport personnel about your use of a drone in the town. The Airport Commission will provide as much information as possible regarding drone use over Chatham and incident reporting in the coming months on the Town Website (http://www.town.chatham.ma.us/) and on the airport site (www.chathamairport.com). The Chatham Airport Commission wants you to enjoy flying your drone and to use it responsibly; however, it is mandatory that users follow the proper FAA rules and regulations.
One last note: Areas directly north and south of Chatham airport frequently have aircraft flying at 400 feet or below so it is good policy and common sense for all operators to call the airport before any operations, regardless of authorizations and waivers.
- Best Practices for Flying a Drone within 5 miles of an Airport - AOPA
- Summary of Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (Part 107) - FAA