Does the FAA regulate drones at this time?
Maybe they regulate only a certain class / size of UAV / UAS?

Is drone regulation to the level that traffic is managed through ATC?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You also want to be aware of your local restrictions. For example, we got shut down in Carson, CA. Also try to add more context as certain uses of drones carry varying level of regulation not just by the FAA. $\endgroup$
    – JGallardo
    Dec 19, 2013 at 17:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Small note, Drone is an incorrect term for a UAV or UAS, spun into popularity by the media. Drone is a military term, meaning something you shoot down (ie, My UAV is attacking this drone). $\endgroup$
    – Yos233
    Jan 30, 2014 at 16:46

3 Answers 3


Regulations regarding UAVs are very restrictive in controlled airspace. Whenever a company wants to test out a UAS, they have to request a block of airspace from the FAA (or local ATC body). This block is restricted to UAS traffic. No manned aircraft are allowed in that area for the duration of the test.

Currently companies are working with the FAA to integrate UAVs into the regular airspace system. Recently, the FAA designated 6 states as test sites for the FAA to test UAVs.


As of yet, I cannot tell if drone traffic is regulated, but I do find that the FAA has created a committee to design the appropriate architecture and guidelines.


According to the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 as (1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use; (2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization; (3) the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based organization; (4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; (5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower…with prior notice of the operation; and (6) the aircraft is flown within visual line sight of the operator.


FAA has released a set of "Dos" & "Don'ts" related to flying UAVs(drones):


The Regulations and Policies pertaining to the use of UAVs(Drones) in US airspace is available on the FAA website



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