Drones ~ Flying Unmanned Aircraft Systems

If you plan to fly your remote controlled plane, quadcopter, or other unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—commonly called "drones"—on or over the Kaibab National Forest, there are a few things to know before you fly. Whether you fly for work or fun, no matter how big or small your aircraft is, you are required to follow Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidance. The FAA is the authority that regulates airspace and flights.


Know Where To Fly

Operating, launching, or landing a UAS in a designated Wilderness Area is illegal. Motorized and mechanized equipment are prohibited by federal law in Wilderness Areas. 

UAS are considered to be both “motorized equipment” and “mechanical transport” and as such they cannot take off from, land in, or be operated from Congressionally-designated Wilderness Areas.

Recreational flights within five miles of an airport are prohibited except under special circumstances.

Flights in areas with Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) are illegal. The FAA maintains a list of current TFRs.

It is your responsibility to know where unmanned flights are legal. Use the free B4UFly smartphone app to help you determine requirements and restrictions in effect before your aircraft leaves the ground.

Be Smart and Fly Safely

In order to ensure safe flight operations, the FAA has instituted rules you must follow when operating a UAS. Find them at Unmanned Aircraft Systems Getting Started.

Hobbyists and other recreational pilots must follow the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. All other UAS pilots flying for reasons other than recreation must follow the Small UAS Rule.

Respect Wildlife

Under Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) rules and regulations, UAS are considered aircraft. Regardless of whether or not you are flying for the purpose of hunting, you must follow the rules and regulations regarding the use of aircraft to scout or hunt wildlife. In short, using an aircraft to harass, herd, or chase wildlife is prohibited. See AZGFD rules and regulations for specific details.

Flying, Photography, and Videography for Work or Business

Commercial activity on the Kaibab National Forest requires a permit. This includes (but is not limited to) videography, photography, and UAS flights performed for business purposes. Please contact us to inquire about permits for commercial activities. The FAA has special requirements for UAS pilots flying for business or commercial purposes.

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