Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) / Drone Information

Thinking of flying a UAS/drone in the City of Helena?

  • Your drone must be registered with the FAA All Drones weighing more than 0.55lbs (250grams) must be registered with the FAA before you fly.
    • Registration is $5 and is valid for three years.
    • Register with the FAA.
    • Examples of what needs to be registered can be found here.
  • If you are a recreational user flying your drone within a 5-mile radius of the Airport, you MUST notify the Airport and the FAA Air Traffic Control Tower.
    • FAA AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TOWER (ATCT): 406-449-5756
    • HLN AIRPORT ADMINISTRATION: 406-442-2821

These FAA videos illustrate how to operate your drone in a safe way.

Recreational and hobby operators need to adhere to the following safety guidelines:

  • Fly below 400 feet.
  • Fly your drone within visual line of sight.
  • Do not fly near airports, stadiums or groups of people.
  • Do not fly within 5 miles of an airport without first contacting FAA Air Traffic Control and the San Antonio Aviation Department. Use the UAS Notification Form to notify the FAA.
  • Never fly your drone near other aircraft.
  • Never fly your drone near emergency response efforts, such as fires.
  • Never fly your drone under the influence.
  • Be aware of FAA airspace requirements.
  • If you see a safety issue involving drones, contact local law enforcement immediately.

Small Commercial Drones/UAS

  • UAS operating under Part 107 must weigh less than 55 lbs
  • Part 107 operators will be required to obtain a remote pilots’ certificate, pass an aeronautical knowledge test at a FAA-approved testing center and will be vetted by TSA through a background check
  • Current Part 61 pilots’ certificate holders must obtain an UAS rating by passing an online knowledge test
  • Altitude will be restricted to 400 ft. AGL – a key change from the NPRM
  • Speed is restricted to less than 100 mph (87 knots)
  • Only daylight, and twilight operations with proper lighting, will be permitted
  • Operations must be within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the operator
  • Minimum operator age under Part 107 will be 16 years of age
  • Operations over unprotected or non-participating individuals are not permitted, but will be addressed later as the Micro UAS ARC recommendations are implemented
  • Accidents causing more than $500 worth of damage must be reported within 10 days
  • External loads will be allowed, as long as they are secure
  • Transportation of property and goods for sale will be permitted, as long as the total weight is less than 55 lbs and the operations are within VLOS; and
  • Airworthiness certifications are not required.
  • NO LONGER require UAS Operators to notify, or in any way coordinate with, the airport operator when operating near airports within class G airspace.
  • However, operators would need to obtain ATO permission prior to operating in any other class of airspace.

REGISTER YOUR DRONE/UAS

By completing and submitting this form, you will satisfy your requirement to notify the Airport and the FAA of your UAS/drone operation.

Anyone who owns a small unmanned aircraft that weighs more than 0.55 lbs. (250g) and less than 55 lbs. (25kg) must register with the Federal Aviation Administration’s UAS registry before they fly outdoors. People who do not register could face civil and criminal penalties.

Who must register a UAS?

Owners must register their Drone/UAS online if it meets the following guidelines:

  • 13 years of age or older. (If the owner is less than 13 years of age, a person 13 years of age or older must register the small unmanned aircraft.)
  • A U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.

Which unmanned aircraft do I have to register?

Owners must register their Drone/UAS online if it meets the following guidelines:

  • Weighs more than 0.55 lbs. (250 g) and less than 55 lbs. (25 kg).
  • Unmanned Aircraft weighing more than 55 lbs. cannot use this registration process and must register using the Aircraft Registry process [need url].
    Owners must register their UAS by paper if it meets the following guidelines.
  • Your Aircraft weighs more than 55 lbs
  • You intend to operate your aircraft outside of the United States
  • Your aircraft is owned by a trustee
  • The aircraft owner uses a voting trust to meet U.S. Citizenship requirements

How do I register my UAS Online?

Registration is $5 and is valid for three years. Some things you’ll need before you get started:

  • An email address
  • Credit or Debit card
  • Physical address and mailing address (if different from physical address)
  • Once you receive a registration number, you must mark the registration number on all aircraft.