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What You Should Know Before You Fly

Safety Tips and General Information for Drone Operators

A Brief Guide of Current Regulations and Guidelines, January 2016 
Download the full Drone Information brochure (in .PDF format).

An unmanned aircraft system (UAS) is an unmanned aircraft*  (UA), commonly referred to as a “drone,” with the associated support equipment, control station, data links, telemetry, communications, and navigation equipment necessary to operate it.

Airport’s Responsibility
An airport is responsible for ensuring the safety of airport facilities and for managing airport lands, buildings, and infrastructure. Airports should understand the rules and regulations related to UAS operations at and in the vicinity of their airport and coordinate with the FAA and FDOT to ensure the safety of airport operations. Airports should notify local law enforcement and the FAA in the event of an unauthorized UAS operation in close proximity to the airport.

Local Law Enforcement Responsibility
Law enforcement is responsible for enforcing the laws and regulations as they relate to UAS operations. If a UAS operator is suspected of breaking FAA regulations, local Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) are encouraged to conduct interviews, document the scene, collect any evidence, and notify the appropriate FAA Regional Operation Center. In addition to federal regulations, LEAs should be familiar with state (934.50, F.S.) and local regulations that may pertain to UAS operation within their jurisdiction.

Pilot’s Responsibility
Pilots are in charge of operating aircraft in a safe manner and are ultimately responsible for the route and operation of aircraft in the sky and on the ground. Pilots should understand the rules and regulations of UAS and report any improper use or operation.

Community Responsibility
The community should understand the rules and regulations regarding airports and aircraft. Knowing the roles and responsibilities of those involved in aviation (the FAA, the airports, airlines, pilots, etc.) and how to contact them if needed will help ensure their safety and effective regulation. Community members should know the locations of airports in their area or contact the FDOT Aviation and Spaceports Office at (850) 414-4500 for more information. 

State Regulations
FDOT regulates airports, promotes their development, and protects the approaches to Florida’s aviation facilities by Florida Statute (F.S.). Independent of FDOT, UAS operators’ rules are provided in Chapter 934.50, F.S., and regulate law enforcement, civil, business, and personal uses, as well as the liabilities associated with them.

Specifically, the following uses are prohibited: 

  • Use of UAS by law enforcement to gather evidence or other information
  • Use of UAS to conduct surveillance of privately owned real property or the owner

However, the following uses are allowed:

  • To counter a terrorist threat 
  • Law enforcement activity with a warrant
  • For law enforcement in particular circumstances when swift action is needed
  • A business or profession may use a drone to conduct reasonable tasks within the scope of that business’ license 
  • To capture images of electric, water, or natural gas facilities
  • For property appraisals
  • For aerial mapping in compliance with FAA regulations
  • To deliver cargo in compliance with FAA regulations
  • To capture images necessary for the safe operation or navigation of a UAS, when used for purposes allowed
    under federal and Florida law

More information can be found at:  www.dot.state.fl.us/aviation/uas.shtm

*A UA is considered an aircraft under both 49 U.S.C. § 40102 and 14 C.F.R. § 1.1.