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FAA Changes Affecting Drone Use at Practice

High school football programs across the state have been using drones to film practice, but is it legal?

High school football programs across the state have been using drones to film practice.  Drones provide an aerial view that covers sideline to sideline–a prospect that may very well keep your WR and OL coaches happy with a single camera angle.  Further, a drone can be run by a single staff member rather than the three camera method that is used most frequently.  However, the FAA’s new regulations have put a hamper on drone usage to film football practices.  In June, the FFA released their new guidelines (14 CFR part 107).  Among the drone restrictions put in place are the following:

      • Each operator/pilot of a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) or drone, must meet the FAA’s eligibility requirements and pass a bi-annual aeronautics knowledge test or recurrent training course once the initial knowledge test has been passed at an FAA approved testing center to obtain a remote pilot certificate with a sUAS rating. Operators must also be screened and cleared by TSA.
      • If your facilities are within 5 miles of an airport, the airport operator and the airport air traffic control (ATC) tower must be provided with prior notice of the drone’s operation.
      • A Small unmanned aircraft must be properly registered.
      • Drones are prohibited from flying over those not under a safe cover such as a protective structure. An exception to this applies to the operator as well as any safety crew necessary for the vehicles operation.
      • Additional operating limits on velocity, altitude, and distance from cloud cover have also been implemented.
      • Pre-flight safety checks and inspections must be performed prior to each flight. Documentation of each inspection, maintenance, repairs, alterations, etc. should be maintained by the operator of the vehicle.

This is by no means a comprehensive guideline.  Please see and follow your districts policy on drone use.

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