How would one go about reporting a drone (hobby UAV) sighted in the airspace of an airport on frequency, specifically to Tower?

For example: I am doing patterns around the airport when to the northeast of my nose I see an object flying through the airport field, looking as though it is a drone entering the airport. What is my responsibility in this situation?


1 Answer 1


Great question, and I'm not sure there is an entirely established procedure for this yet, as drones are still a relatively new development.

First, your responsibility as a VFR pilot is "See and Avoid". So if you think its headed towards you, maneuver to avoid it (provided you're not making dangerous, drastic moves!)

Secondly, I'd report it to the tower as:
"Bay View Tower: N227TW: I see a drone in the airspace, my 2 o'clock, slightly below, less than one mile, headed towards the airport"

At best, the tower may be able to say they're already talking to the drone operator. Otherwise, tower may simply say, "Roger: keep me updated, deviate from the pattern at your discretion"

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is this a hypothetical, or something you actually encountered? Would you care to share the details? $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Jul 17, 2018 at 19:17
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This is hypothetical. I am taking ground school conjoined with flying lessons, and I've heard too many stories about drones causing trouble in airspace. $\endgroup$ Jul 17, 2018 at 19:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For the most part, 'drones' are very similar to the monsters under a child's bed or the 'closet monkey.' The only difference is a 'drone' is physical to go along with the fear. How many collisions have occurred vs. bird strikes? $\endgroup$
    – Mike Brass
    Jul 18, 2018 at 0:59
  • $\begingroup$ How was this handled before drones ... but after RC aircraft as a hobby started (before WW2)? $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Jul 18, 2018 at 1:43
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Make sure to carry this chart in your aircraft so you can identify it correctly. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Jul 18, 2018 at 18:04

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