New FAA ‘Know Before You Fly’ Program Underscores Commercial Prohibition


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has partnered with key unmanned aerial systems (UAS) groups to introduce the Know Before You Fly educational campaign: an initiative designed to give users guidance about responsibly operating small UAVs.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and Small UAV Coalition will be leading the effort among their respective members and stakeholders. The groups and the FAA have developed a video, available here, to accompany the outreach.

The campaign website,, is broken down into three main areas, covering recreational use, public entities and business use. Regarding the former, the site lists the many rules governing the use of so-called ‘model aircraft’ among hobbyists, such as maintaining a line of sight to a UAV and not operating a drone near or over ‘sensitive infrastructure or property.’

For public entities, including law enforcement, fire departments or public universities, the site helps users find necessary information about securing a certificate of waiver or authorization (COA) from the FAA in order to use small UAS.

Much of the information on the site that's geared toward business users concentrates on the prohibition of UAS: ‘You may not fly your UAS for commercial purpose without the express permission from the FAA,’ the site reads. It further outlines examples of prohibited commercial use, explaining that businesses can use UAVs only on a case-by-case basis and only with an exemption from the FAA or in concert with an airworthiness certificate.

‘When it comes to unauthorized flights, many well-meaning individuals and prospective business operators want to fly and fly safely, but they don’t realize that just because you can buy a UAS doesn't mean you can fly it anywhere, or for any purpose,’ the FAA says in a press release.

The FAA says that as a part of the campaign, it will ‘team up with manufacturers and distributors to inform consumers and businesses about what they need to know before taking to the skies.’

‘We are proud to be partnering with AUVSI, AMA and the Small UAV Coalition in spreading the word about ways to fly safely and responsibly,’ says FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. ‘The 'Know Before You Fly' campaign allows us to harness the resources and expertise of industry as we strive to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.’

For more information about the campaign, click here.

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