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FAA: Drones Can Take to the Sky in Reston Once Again

by Karen Goff — February 11, 2016 at 1:30 pm 4 Comments

Drone in Sky/Credit: jacinta lluch valero via Flickr

Reston-area drone owners will still be able to fly their aircraft — at least around here.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has amended its rule put in place in January that banned flying unmanned aircraft in the area within 30 miles of Washington’s restricted air space.

On Wednesday, the FAA said the rule of no unmanned aircraft with 15 miles of DC still stands. But in Reston, which is 18 miles from Washington, drones will still be allowed.

From the FAA:

Under the new procedures, hobbyists and recreational unmanned aircraft operators can fly aircraft that weigh less than 55 lbs. (including any attachments such as a camera) in the area between 15 and 30 miles of Washington, D.C. if the aircraft are registered and marked, and they follow specific operating conditions. The operating conditions require them to fly 400 feet or lower above the ground, stay in the operator’s line of sight, only fly in clear conditions, and avoid other aircraft.

If hobbyists intend to operate within five miles of an airport or heliport, the new procedures also require them to notify the airport, heliport and air traffic control tower, if there is one, before operating.

Commercial and other non-model aircraft operators must register and mark their unmanned aircraft, must have an exemption and comply with it, and must notify the FAA an hour before operating to provide specific flight information.

Public operators, such as federal, state or local governments, must also register and mark their aircraft, must have the appropriate FAA authorization to operate, and must complete the same one-hour notification before operating.

Register your drone on the FAA’s website.

Drone in Sky/Credit: jacinta lluch valero via Flickr

  • Arielle in NoVA

    Does “within five miles of an airport” refer to the airport’s center or its outer boundaries?

    • John Higgins

      A good question, and one that needs to be answered clearly for folks in this area. When the FAA prescribes distances from control zones, they refer to lateral distances from the outer boundaries. Given the size of Dulles Airport, that distinction is important to note.

      • Arielle in NoVA

        That’s what I was thinking – and it would make a huge difference in Herndon/Chantilly/Reston and Ashburn/Sterling.

  • Drone my favorite…lol.

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