What is an unmanned aircraft system?
An unmanned aircraft system (UAS), sometimes called a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot on-board – instead, the UAS is controlled from an operator on the ground. When you fly a drone in the United States, it is your responsibility to understand and abide by the rules.
The FAA allows amateurs/hobbyists to operate drones for non-commercial purposes subject to specific rules provided here: FAA: Fly for Fun.
The FAA has established unique requirements for commercial or institutional drone use (for example, when a Realtor uses a drone to take aerial pictures of a property); these specific rules are provided here: FAA: Fly for Work & Business.
The FAA’s amateur/hobbyist rules include notifying the airport if the drone operator intends to fly the drone within 5 miles of the airport. The City of South Saint Paul Municipal Airport can be notified either by calling or using our online airport notification process provided here: Drone Notification Form.
UAS Pilots are responsible for notifying ALL airports that they maybe near. For all other airports in the metropolitan area please use this link:
All MAC airports in the Twin Cities.
If you’re hoping to operate a drone from or fly a drone over Dakota County or Cities within Dakota County here are links for their regulations: (this list is not all inclusive).
- City of Eagan, MN
- City of Burnsville, MN
- City of South St. Paul, MN (Sec. 42-64(a))
- City of Lakeville, MN EXHIBIT B
- Dakota County, MN (Ordinance No. 107 Chapter IV Section E)
Key tips to fly safely
- Drones as a general rule cannot be operated within a five mile radius of any towered airport without agreement from the air traffic control tower.
- Per South Saint Paul Municipal Airport’s Rules and Regulations, Sec. 5.2: “No kites, model airplanes, rockets, unmanned aerial vehicles or other objects shall be flown at the Airport without prior authorization from the Airport Manager in accordance with 14 CFR Part 101 and 107..”
- Fly your drone under 400 feet and not near stadiums, airports, public buildings and large groups of people.
- Never fly your drone near a manned aircraft.
- Always fly your drone within your direct line of sight.
- Don’t fly your drone over any vehicles.
- If you see a drone safety issue, call the FAA Flight Standards Office at (612) 253-4400.
The Federal Aviation Administration of the United States Department of Transportation has very strict rules and regulations on when and where to fly unmanned aerial systems (UAS), unmanned air vehicles (UAV), and drones. These regulations are governed nationwide and they get stricter down to the states and counties. This is why it is important to know the rules for your area so you do not get slapped with any fine or even worse, serve some jail time. Also, while government regulations are indeed important, choosing a safe place to operate is equally important for the safety of others and your drone. With that said, here are four apps to help you know the rules for your area to help keep others safe and you out of trouble.
Although some drones can fly higher and further than others, like mentioned before, some states have different rules that are not so clear, unlike the obvious stay clear of airports and military bases. This means that even a small toy drone that can only fly up a number of feet in the air, can bring you some unwanted attention. How to avoid such a predicament? Here are four (4) apps to help you: