Before you buy, check FAA regulations on drones

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • Robins Public Affairs
If your list to Santa includes a drone - whether one of the many quadcopters, camera drones or remote-controlled Millennium Falcons on the market - there are certain things you should know before taking it for a spin on Christmas morning.

Drone flying is prohibited on Robins Air Force Base at this time, although a permit
process is under review. Meanwhile, you must follow Federal Aviation Administration guidelines when flying drones off the installation.

"We want to make sure the public is aware of what is going on, to both keep them in the right and to prevent safety issues," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Smith, the flight safety NCO at Robins.

According to the FAA, starting Monday (Dec. 21) unmanned aircraft systems operating in the National Airspace System must be registered. 

Additionally, drones cannot be flown within five miles of an airport (including Robins), and operators must keep visual line of sight with their aircraft, fly them at or below 400 feet, and not fly them over people or stadiums. Drones should also weigh less than 55 lbs.

Because of the growth of the drone industry, regulations are frequently changing and should be monitored closely and often. To check the latest FAA guidelines, visit

A CNBC report says as many as 700,000 drones will be purchased in 2015. 

While drone prices vary, from as little as $20 to upwards of a few thousand dollars, the FAA says "All drones are aircraft - even the ones at the toy store."

What that means is "Operators of a UAS have the same responsibilities as a pilot of a passenger airplane," the FAA notes.

"Flight safety is a huge concern for our pilots and aircraft.  We want to make sure drones flown near Robins are following the current FAA guidelines," Smith said.

Individuals who have additional questions or concerns about UAS's should contact Airfield Management Operations at 478-926-2114 or 2115.