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Flying a Drone is like using Fireworks

Safety first; and when flying commercially, you have to have the proper license.

Post Date:10/20/2017 3:30 PM

If you want to fly a drone, you have to follow the rules and regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The Chapel Hill Town Council recently adopted an ordinance to allow the Chapel Hill Police Department to enforce Federal Aviation Regulations. The ordinance is drawn from the US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 14, Part 107. The Town has opted to use the Part 107 rules as our community safety standard for all unmanned aerial systems, including model aircraft.

“This creates a community safety standard for our Town and the people within it,” said Executive Director of Community Safety and Police Chief Chris Blue. “We want to make sure anyone flying a drone is doing so with the safety of themselves and others in mind.”

Recreational Drone Use
Recreational drone flight is allowed when flying for enjoyment and not for work, business purposes, compensation or hire. There are important safety regulations that must be followed when flying recreationally. Although recreational pilots are not required to obtain a remote pilot certificate, all other operating rules of Part 107 apply. Some of the guideline are:

  • Fly with general safety as the top priority
  • Fly the drone within visual line-of-sight
  • Only operate during daylight hours
  • Do not operate under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Do not fly near manned aircraft
  • Provide prior notification to the airport and air traffic control tower (if applicable) when flying within five miles of an airport
  • Your drone must be less than 55 lbs.

Every part of Chapel Hill is within five miles of Horace Williams Airport. Therefore, anyone flying a drone must provide notification to the airport prior to taking off. To contact Horace Williams Airport, call 919-962-1337.

B4UFLY is a mobile app the FAA has developed to help drone operators know whether there are any restrictions or requirements where they want to fly.

Non-recreational Drone Use
If you are interested in flying a drone for business or other non-recreational uses, the FAA has set up a series of webpages with all the information you need to know to become certified.

Visit for more information.

If you have questions regarding flying a drone within Town of Chapel Hill limits, email


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