The Division of Aviation's goal is to ensure that drones flying within North Carolina are flown safely and responsibly.

A Memo from the Director of Aviation

The following document is a summary of the North Carolina regulations concerning unmanned aircraft systems, also called drones. These regulations clarify that UAS/Drones are subject to North Carolina law and do not duplicate or interfere with FAA regulations.

NC UAS (Drone) Regulation Summary


Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also called drones, have the potential to change the way we approach agriculture, public safety, construction and many other important industries in North Carolina. As a leader in UAS/drone implementation, the N.C. Department of Transportation aims to show how beneficial and safe this technology can be.

The Division of Aviation's goal is to make sure that UAS/drone operations in North Carolina are safe and responsible.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has exclusive authority over the use of airspace in the United States, including the airspace used by UAS/drones. NCDOT has authority to implement and manage regulations that pertain to state laws concerning UAS operations within North Carolina.

With Session Law 2014-100, the North Carolina General Assembly granted the Division of Aviation the responsibility to implement testing and permitting systems for UAS operation in North Carolina. The applicable sections in Session Law 2014-100 are detailed in NC UAS (Drone) Regulation Summary above.

The Division of Aviation encourages individuals and organizations to take time to make sure they understand and comply with all UAS/drone regulations.

General Statutes

Safety and privacy are two of the public's largest concerns with drone operation in North Carolina. Session Law 2014-100 and 2015-232 set regulations to address these concerns.

Drone operators must follow all FAA regulations pertaining to UAS operation, including all FAA regulations in relation to disturbing manned flight and no-fly zones.