If you’re thinking about buying a drone or already own one in North Carolina, it’s important that you know how to fly it safely and legally. What’s more, if you ever plan on taking your drone out of state—and most people who use their drones regularly do travel with them—it’s crucial that you understand which rules apply where your drone is going.

You must register your drone with the FAA if it is over 0.55 pounds, and you’re not allowed to fly over 400 feet above ground level. You can’t fly near an airport runway or over a prison or power plant, or within five miles of a sporting event or crowd.

In this article, we’ll be talking about the drone laws in North Carolina. This can be a confusing subject to navigate through, so we’ll help you get the basic information and make sure you’re on the right track.

Drone Laws In North Carolina

Drone Laws In North Carolina

Recreating On Or Near Power Lines Is Prohibited.

Recreation on or near power lines is prohibited. Flying drones near power lines is dangerous and can cause a power outage, which may also lead to injury or death.

You should also not operate your drone above any person, or within 5 feet of any person. If you must fly your drone near a power line, make sure it does not interfere with electric service and that no one is standing within 5 feet of the line.

If you notice an electrical problem while flying your drone in the vicinity of an energized wire or tower, immediately land the aircraft and contact emergency personnel at 911.

Nc Law Prohibits Flying Unmanned Aircraft

North Carolina law prohibits flying unmanned aircraft on or within the right-of-way of any public road. The right-of-way is the airspace within 100 feet of a road, so don’t fly your drone near roads and highways.

Airport Operators And Towers Are The Ultimate Authority

In addition to the FAA’s control of airspace, airports are also controlled by their operators. As we mentioned above, most airports are private property and owned by the airport operator.

This means that even if you’re flying your drone in a public space, it may be subject to the rules of the airport operator (and tower) on any given day.

It’s important to note that these laws apply equally to hobbyists and commercial pilots—you cannot operate your aircraft in North Carolina without being familiar with them!

Drones Are Not Permitted To Interfere With Wildland

  • Drones Are Not Permitted To Interfere With Wildland firefighting efforts. This includes:
  • Interfering with the ability of a firefighter to perform their duties by getting in their way, creating distractions and/or barriers to entry or exit of a wildland fire area, or otherwise interfering in any way with operations on the ground.
  • Conducting operations within restricted areas surrounding wildfires without permission from local authorities. A drone operator who is found violating this rule may be subject to fines up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to six months.
  • Flying over an active wildfire when they know that there is no clearance from air traffic control or other authorities responsible for regulating airspace above wildfires (e.g., state agriculture agencies).
  • Aircraft operating under such clearances must maintain visual line-of-sight at all times; this means that operators should not rely solely on their eyesight as an indication that no aircraft might be present above them at any given time.

Contact The Park Office Before Flying Your Unmanned Aircraft

Most state parks ask that you contact the park office before flying your unmanned aircraft in the park, and some have different rules for drone use. Some state parks allow drone use, while others do not. State parks that allow drones may have special rules for drone use.

Know The Rules If You Want To Fly A Drone In North Carolina.

If you’re looking to fly a drone in North Carolina, it’s important that you know the rules first. While these laws are changing frequently, here is some basic information to help you get started:

  • Drone laws are different in each state. Both federal and state regulations will apply when operating your drone within North Carolina.
  • Drone laws may vary from park to park and county to county. For example, while flying drones over national parks such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park is generally allowed as long as certain conditions are met (such as staying below 400 feet), this might not be true for other parks in the state (like Fort Macon State Park). Check with each specific site before taking off!

How To Register A Drone In North Carolina?

How To Register A Drone In North Carolina?

Visit The Faa Website

Visit the FAA’s website.

Go to the Drone Registration page, and click on Register.

Follow all of the instructions on this page, making sure you have purchased a sticker with your drone registration number before applying it to your aircraft.

Locate The Registration Page

  • Go to the FAA’s registration page
  • Click on the registration link
  • Fill In The Information required (name, address, etc.)
  • Make sure you check all boxes that apply to your drone (commercial, model type, etc.)
  • Pay for your registration

Fill In The Information

To register your drone, you’ll need to fill in the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number (optional)
  • Your drone’s serial number and make/model name. This can be found on a sticker on the side or back of your drone, or inside its battery compartment if it has a removable battery.

Make Sure To Check All Boxes

Please make sure to check all boxes.

  • You must have purchased a sticker from the NC DMV for your drone.
  • Make sure you filled in all the boxes and paid for your registration fee of $5 before mailing your form.

Pay for your registration

Once you have completed the form, click “Register” to start the process of paying for your registration. If you do not have a credit card, you can use PayPal. Please note that PayPal will charge an additional fee to use this method.

You must also enter your valid email address and make sure all the required fields are filled out, including Zip Code and Drone Model Number. Once this information has been entered correctly, proceed with payment by selecting one of two options:

Once you have reviewed all of these steps, click on “Submit” at the bottom of your screen to accept all terms and conditions listed above before submitting your registration application for approval!

Make Sure You Have Purchased A Sticker

It is important that you make sure your drone has a sticker. This sticker should be placed somewhere on the drone and visible while it is in flight. It should be placed in a place where it will not get damaged.

Are Drones Allowed In North Carolina

No Person Shall Operate A Drone Within 400 Feet

No Person Shall Operate A Drone Within 400 Feet of a critical infrastructure facility.

Critical infrastructure facilities are defined as:

  • A chemical manufacturing facility
  • A refinery, including oil, gas and petroleum products
  • An electric power generating facility (including nuclear power generation) or substation, or transmission/distribution lines
  • A water treatment plant or system that supplies more than 25 people and has the potential to poison an area greater than 10 square miles for one day in duration or contaminate 2 million liters of water for more than one day in duration.

Drones Are Only Permitted For Hobbyists

  • Drones Are Only Permitted For Hobbyists to fly for recreational use in North Carolina, and have to be registered with the FAA.
  • Drones are not allowed to operate above 400 feet above ground level, or operate in poor visibility conditions.

Nc Law Does Not Prohibit Drone Use For Commercial Purposes

North Carolina law does not prohibit drone usage for commercial purposes, provided the operator has obtained the necessary FAA clearance and authorization.

However, there are certain restrictions on where you can fly your drone:

  • You cannot use your drone over a National Park. This includes natural monuments like Mount Mitchell and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as well as historical sites such as Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach.
  • You may not fly your drone over or around state Capitol Building in Raleigh or its surrounding grounds at any time of day or night without proper authorization from the State Capitol Police Department (SCPD).
  • Hospitals must be notified before filming takes place within 200 feet of their property lines; this includes hospitals that offer outpatient care only—if patients are discharged from one hospital and transferred to another within 24 hours or less per state regulations then both hospitals need to be notified regardless of whether they share contiguous property lines or not!
  • Prisons must be notified before filming takes place within 500 feet of their property lines; this includes prisons that serve as holding facilities until inmates are transferred permanently elsewhere upon sentencing completion etcetera!

The Current Faa Regulations Do Not Allow Drones To Fly More Than 400 Feet

If you are 16 years old or older, you can fly a drone as long as it is registered with the FAA and you follow the rules from the FAA. Before flying your drone, make sure to register it with the FAA by using this website: https://www.faa.gov/uas/.  Do not operate any drones in North Carolina until you have registered them with the federal government!

You must also pass an FAA knowledge test and practical test before being able to legally operate a drone in North Carolina or anywhere else in America!

Flying Drones Near Pedestrians Without Permission Is Prohibited.

  • Drones are not allowed to fly over 400 feet.
  • Drones are not allowed to fly over public roads or private property without permission.
  • If you’re flying your drone in North Carolina, make sure it’s big enough that it won’t draw attention and/or damage when you crash it (no smaller than a tennis ball).
  • Flying drones near pedestrians is also prohibited—and so is flying them at night or in any weather condition that might endanger people or property (i.e., rainstorms).

Also Read: Illinois Drone Laws

Recreational Drone Flight Is Permissible In North Carolina

No. Commercial drone use is not permitted in North Carolina. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all commercial drone operators obtain a license for their operation, and North Carolina does not allow the FAA to issue licenses for commercial drone flight within its state borders.

However, recreational drone flight is permissible in North Carolina as long as you follow these guidelines:

  • Drones cannot be flown within 3 miles of an airport without permission from the facility’s air traffic control tower;
  • Drones cannot be flown within 5 miles of an airport unless you have permission from both the facility’s air traffic control tower and the FAA; and
  • There are many military installations throughout North Carolina, so if you want to fly your drone near one of these bases or facilities, make sure it’s at least 9 nautical miles away before taking off!

Frequently Asked Question (drone Laws North Carolina)

Where Can I Fly My Drone In North Carolina?

You can fly your drone:

  • Within visual line of sight (VLOS). If you can’t see it, don’t fly it!
  • Below 400 feet. You must fly below 400 feet at all times, except when taking off or landing.
  • 5 miles from an airport without prior authorization from the FAA. But be sure to check first before flying near airports or heliports; there may be other restrictions in place due to security concerns or noise pollution concerns.

Are There Any Places I Can’t Fly In North Carolina?

There are some places you can’t fly in North Carolina. You can’t fly over a group of people, such as an outdoor concert or a parade. You also can’t fly over a sporting event or prison. If you’re flying a drone near any hospital or medical facility, you should keep your distance and stay at least 150 feet away from the building itself.

Do I Need A License To Fly A Drone In North Carolina?

  • Yes, you need a license to fly a drone in North Carolina.
  • You can get your license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA is the governing body for drone regulations in the United States, and they grant licenses to pilots who meet certain requirements.

What Are The Rules For Flying Near An Airport?

  • No drone is allowed within 5 miles of an airport, according to the FAA.
  • If a manned aircraft is approaching or departing from the airport, drone pilots must yield right of way to them and follow their instructions.
  • Drone pilots should never fly over people, even if you are not doing it for commercial purposes; it is still illegal and could lead to penalties.
  • Drone pilots should also avoid flying near emergency response efforts such as fires and search-and-rescue missions, since these situations can quickly become dangerous for anyone in the area—including drones.

What Are The Rules For Flying At Night?

You can fly at night as long as you can see your drone and it is lighted. You must have a light on the drone, and it must be visible to others. You also need to have lights on your person (head, clothing), and ground lights (can be reflective tape) should be used when flying over an open area or water.


You can fly your drone without any special permissions or permits as long as you stay within 400 feet of the ground, don’t violate any restricted airspace zones, and don’t fly over prisons or other areas that are considered sensitive.

In conclusion, it seems as if we can fly our drones within the state of North Carolina at this time, with a few small exceptions. This is a good thing. North Carolina is home to some great cities that many of us would love to document using our drones.

So long as we can remember to stay away from airports and follow the FAA’s guidelines, I think we’ll all be good to go.

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