COVID-19 UAS Operations

  • As the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to evolve, unmanned aircraft – more popularly known as drones – have the potential to be a useful tool to perform important services.
  • Specifically, the FAA supports using drones for response efforts to provide public safety and support benefits.
  • If you’re thinking about flying your drone to support this effort, you have several options:
    • Fly under part 107, with or without a waiver – the most broadly applicable option
    • Fly as a  public aircraft operation (PAO) – for law enforcement, first responders, or other public safety/government officials
  • When considering your options, be sure to remember that:
    • Delivering goods by drone is allowed under part 107 (sUAS rule) as long as you maintain visual line-of-sight with the drone and comply with all aspects of the rule
    • Never carry hazardous materials unless you’ve received authorization from the FAA
    • Drone operators needing to fly in controlled airspace that is not currently included in LAANC, or a disaster temporary flight restriction, must contact the FAA’s System Operations Support Center (SOSC) by emailing 9-ATOR-HQ-SOSC@faa.gov.
  • Whatever operational path you take, the FAA strongly recommends you coordinate with local government and/or public health officials, and/or the community you are intending to serve, before flying in support of COVID-19 response efforts. This is a pre-requisite for the FAA to expedite approvals outside of normal processes.
  • The FAA will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed. The FAA’s UAS Support Center is also available to help if you have questions at 844-FLY-MY-UA or uashelp@faa.gov.

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