Unmanned Aircraft Systems ("drones")

When you fly your drone anywhere in the nation’s airspace, you automatically become part of the U.S. aviation system. Under the law, your drone is an aircraft, and you have the responsibility to operate safely, just as a Cessna or 747 pilot does. Drones are of particular concern around airports, and if flown improperly, can endanger aircraft. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates the use of  drones.


  • All aircraft weighing between .55 pounds (250 grams) and 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms), including payloads such as on-board cameras, must be registered with the FAA.www.faa.gov/uas/registration
  • Drones must be flown below 400 feet above ground level.
  • Drones must be kept in visual line of sight of the operator at all times.
  • Drones must NOT be flown near manned aircraft, especially near airports (within 5 miles).*
  • Drones must NOT be flown over groups of people, stadiums or sporting events.
  • Drones must NOT be flown near emergency response efforts.

Smartphone App Available for Drone Operators

The FAA has released a smartphone app that can help users understand restrictions around flying their devices. B4UFLY tells users about current or upcoming requirements and restrictions in areas of the National Airspace System (NAS). Download the app at:http://www.faa.gov/uas/b4ufly/

*If you live within 5 miles of Pittsburgh International Airport or Allegheny County Airport and intend to operate a drone, you MUST contact:

PIT Airport: (412) 472-3500, AND PIT FAA Tower – (412) 269-9237
AGC Airport: (412) 469-6431, AND AGC FAA Tower – (412) 461-4388


  • Document the time/location of the event;
  • Take pictures and/or capture video recordings of the activity, if possible;
  • Attempt to determine the type of activity;
  • Attempt to determine the location of the operator of the model aircraft;
  • If possible, obtain UAS FAA registration number located on the model aircraft.
  • Report sighting to 1-866-TELL-FAA (866-835-5322) and select option 4, or FAA websitehttps://www.faa.gov/contact/safety_hotline/ ; and
  • Contact and provide information to Local Law Enforcement.
  • Please contact Pittsburgh International Airport (412) 472-3500 or Allegheny County Airport (412) 469-6431 if the reported sighting is within 5 miles of the airports.

For more information about unmanned aircraft systems (drones):