Along with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is urging all drone and model aircraft hobbyists to stay clear of Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts in areas affected by the storm, especially Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
Any unauthorized drone or model aircraft operations that interfere with disaster relief efforts are subject to civil penalties of up to $32,140 per violation and possible criminal prosecution.
During emergency response and recovery efforts, authorized aircraft may be flying at low altitudes over the affected areas.
The FAA may also place Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) on certain locations around the storm.
UAS operators should always check the FAA’s list of TFRs before taking to the skies and must stay clear of ongoing public safety operations at all times.
AMA continually shares up-to-date safety and regulatory information with our 195,000 members across the country, including email distribution of the latest TFRs.
For more information on where to fly safely, including TFRs and local AMA club locations, visit the Learn sUAS Interactive Map.
In addition, anyone with a smart phone can access TFR information through the FAA’s B4UFLY app.
B4UFLY Smartphone App
B4UFLY is an easy-to-use smartphone app that helps unmanned aircraft operators determine whether there are any restrictions or requirements in effect at the location where they want to fly.
Key features of the B4UFLY app include:
- A clear “status” indicator that immediately informs the operator about the current or planned location. For example, it shows flying in the Special Flight Rules Area around Washington, D.C. is prohibited.
- Information on the parameters that drive the status indicator
- A “Planner Mode” for future flights in different locations
- Informative, interactive maps with filtering options
- Links to other FAA UAS resources and regulatory information
For more information, view the B4UFLY Q & A (PDF).
“No one should be flying near disaster relief or recovery efforts, air ambulance or search-and-rescue operations unless they’re supporting those efforts,” said Dave Mathewson, executive director of AMA.
“Keeping the skies clear during this critical time will help ensure that first responders can do their jobs safely.”
For information on flight restrictions for UAS, please visit the FAA’s website: https://pilotweb.nas.faa.gov/PilotWeb/
*Editors Note: To learn more about about FAA Rules for UAS – including FAA instructional videos on:
- Applying for a Waiver
- Operating Options
- Aeronautical Knowledge Test