Delaware Public Media

State officials remind folks about new drone regulations

Dec 29, 2015

Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Administration began requiring recreational drone owners to register their vehicles.

Registration costs $5, but the fee is being waived for the first 30 days of this requirement. That's until Jan. 20. All drones must be registered by February 16th.

The Federal Aviation Administration estimates more than one million drones will be sold during the holiday season. While drones can be fun the play with, there can be consequences if they’re flown into areas they’re not supposed to be. DelDOT wants to remind folks that even though there aren’t drone-specific laws in Delaware, there are laws that restrict where drones can go.

For example, DNREC prohibits the use of aircraft without a permit in state parks. And according to model aircraft safety code,

DelDOT aeronautics coordinator Joshua Thomas says that the department supports the use of drones, as long as people are well informed about the rules.

 

“What we’re finding is that people want to do the right thing. They don’t want to be careless with their drone, but they just don’t know where to find the information," Thomas said.

State insurance commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart advises drone owners to contact their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance companies to understand how drone related accidents would be covered by their policy.

“Because it could crash into something or it could damage someone else’s property and you want to make sure that you’re covered," said Stewart.

The Delaware River and Bay Authority also wants to remind drone users that it’s illegal to fly drones near airports. Specifically within a 3 mile radius of a non-towered airport, like the Cheswold Airpark, and five miles of a towered airport, such as the New Castle County Airport.

They also advise that drones not be flown higher than 400 feet and be kept in sight at all times.

While there are currently no drone specific laws in the state of Delaware, state officials will start a UAS/UAV task force soon after the New Year. The task force will look into the need for drone specific policies in the First State.