The Federal Aviation Administration has exclusive authority over the use of airspace in the United States, including the airspace used by drones. Drone operators must follow all
FAA regulations and policies pertaining to the operation of unmanned aircraft systems, including all related to disturbing manned-flight and no-fly zones.
The N.C. Department of Transportation has authority to implement and manage regulations that pertain to state laws concerning operations within North Carolina.
The Division of Aviation encourages individuals, businesses and public and government agencies to take time to make sure they understand and comply with all state and federal drone laws and regulations.
State Laws & Regulations
Safety and privacy – two of the public's biggest concerns about drone operation in North Carolina – are addressed in
North Carolina Session Law 2014-100 (and updated in Session Law 2015-232).
Below are some of the topics addressed in Session Laws 2014-100 2015-232 and 2017-179. A
full summary of North Carolina drone regulations is also available.
|Knowledge Test||To fly in North Carolina, an operator must pass the N.C. Department of Transportation's' UAS Operator's Knowledge Test to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them (N.C. G.S. 63-95).|
|Permit||With the passing of the UAS Operator's Knowledge Test as a prerequisite, commercial operators may request a North Carolina UAS permit from the NCDOT Division of Aviation (N.C. G.S. 63-96).|
|Surveillance||It is illegal to use an unmanned aircraft system to take or distribute images of a person or their home without their consent (N.C. G.S. 15A-300.1 and N.C. G.S. 14-401.25).|
|Weapons||Attaching a weapon to a UAS is a Class E felony (N.C. G.S. 14-401.24).|
|Hunting & Fishing||Operators may not use a UAS to disrupt wildlife resources or the lawful taking of wildlife. It is also against the law in North Carolina to use a UAS in the process of taking wildlife resources (N.C. G.S. 14-280.3).|
|Interference with Manned Flights||Operators may not damage, disrupt the operation of or otherwise interfere with manned flights (N.C. G.S. 14-280.3).|
|Launch & Recovery Sites||It is illegal to launch or recover a UAS from either private or state property without the consent of the property's owner (N.C. G.S. 15A-300.2). Local and federal property have their own laws and regulations governing the launch and recovery of UAS.|
|Prisons||It is illegal to fly a UAS over any prison - state or federal - in North Carolina (N.C. G.S. 15A-300.3).|