Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) / Drone Information

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

  • 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 Helena Airport Administration Office. 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 (Control Tower) permission prior to operating in any other class of airspace (INCLUDING WITHIN 5 MILES of the HELENA AIRPORT).

 

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT DRONE REGULATIONS

The FAA Flight Standards District Office is located in Helena and can be reached at (406)-449-5270. Please ask for the Drone/UAS Specialist and you will be directed to someone that can help with your specific questions.