+ Do I need approval from the FAA to fly a model aircraft for recreation or hobby?

No. FAA guidance says that model aircraft flights should be flown a sufficient distance from populated areas and full scale aircraft, should be kept within visual line of sight of the operator, should weigh under 55 lbs unless certified by an aeromodeling community-based organization, and are not for business purposes.

+ Can I fly a model aircraft or UAS over a stadium or at airshows or sporting events for hobby or recreation?

No. FAA guidance says that model aircraft flights should be flown a sufficient distance from populated areas. Air Shows and Sporting Events
For aircraft operations in the vicinity of aerial demonstrations and major sporting events, 14 CFR 91.145 gives the FAA authority to establish Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) to protect persons or property on the ground or in the air, to maintain air safety and efficiency, or to prevent the unsafe congestion of aircraft in the vicinity of an aerial demonstration or sporting event. In practice, TFRs issued under 14 CFR 91.145 are issued primarily for air shows. The FAA determines when a 14 CFR 91.145 TFR should be issued for a sporting event on a case-by-case basis.

Stadiums FDC 9/5151, issued under 14 CFR 99.7 on "Special Security Instructions," restricts flight over stadiums during Major League Baseball (MLB), National Football League (NFL) regular season, NCAA football, and motor speedway events. The so-called "stadium TFR" prohibits all aircraft and parachute operations at or below 3,000 AGL within a 3 nm radius of any stadium with a seating capacity of 30,000 or more people when there is an MLB game, regular or post-season NFL game, NCAA Division I football game, or major motor speedway event occurring. This TFR applies to the entire US domestic national airspace system, and takes effect from one hour before the scheduled event time until one hour after the event concludes.

+ I want to fly a UAS for business purposes…do I need approval from the FAA?

Yes. There are presently three methods of gaining FAA approval for flying civil (non-governmental) UAS:

1. Special Airworthiness Certificates – Experimental Category (SAC-EC) for civil aircraft to perform research and development, crew training, and market surveys. However, carrying persons or property for compensation or hire is prohibited. For more information, please contact the Airworthiness Certification Service, AIR-113, at 202-267-1575. 1,3

2.Obtain a UAS type and airworthiness certificate in the Restricted Category (14 CFR § 21.25(a)(2) and § 21.185) for a special purpose or a type certificate for production of the UAS under 14 CFR § 21.25(a)(1) or § 21.17. 7,8

3.Petition for Exemption with a civil Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for civil aircraft to perform commercial operations in low-risk, controlled environments. For more information, please visit our Section 333 page. Instructions for petitioning for exemption are available here. Public (governmental) UAS operations must go through the Public COA process. More information is available here.

+ How do I obtain an experimental airworthiness certificate?

The Aircraft Certification Service, AIR-113 at FAA headquarters in Washington, D.C. holds this responsibility and can be reached via email or telephone at 202-267-1575. All questions regarding the process and procedures required to obtain an experimental certificate will be answered by AIR-113. 1,3,5

+ How long does the experimental airworthiness certification process take?

From our experience, depending on the complexity, this process can take from two months to one year.

+ How long does the Section 333 process take?

The standard period for evaluating petitions for exemptions is 120 days.


Member Login
Welcome, (First Name)!

Forgot? Show
Log In
Enter Member Area
My Profile Not a member? Sign up. Log Out