NCDOT drone

More than 30,000 North Carolinians now own and operate drones for personal and recreational use. As the number of drone operators grows, the N.C. Department of Transportation is reminding drone pilots to follow safety precautions because drones can be dangerous to others if they are not operated properly.

“Drones are an amazing new technology, and the applications are almost limitless," said NCDOT Director of Aviation Bobby Walston. “But something so new comes with a lot of challenges. We need to make sure people don't treat these as just a toy, and know how to operate them in a safe manner."

As such, NCDOT's Division of Aviation has provided the following eight tips to help pilots make sure they're flying safely and legally:

Always fly below 400 feet above ground level.

Never fly near airports.

Avoid flying over events or crowds.

Don't fly at night, even if your drone has lights.

Never fly directly over people.

Don't fly near or above prisons.

Respect people's privacy.

Always keep the drone within your visual line of sight.

By following these guidelines, drone pilots can be more confident that their flights are safe and legal. Before launching a drone, pilots should also take the time to learn about the state and federal laws governing drones, as well as local restrictions in their area.

North Carolinians interested in flying a drone for commercial or government operations must obtain a permit from the N.C. Division of Aviation. Before applying, prospective users must pass NCDOT's UAS Knowledge Test. The permitting system began in 2016 and is designed to help drone owners better understand restrictions on drone use through a simple and efficient online process.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Comments that violate any of the rules above are subject to removal by staff.

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. Subscribe today and support local community journalism.

Digital Only Subscriptions

The Pilot

Get unlimited digital access and support award-winning local journalism, for just $5 a month. This includes access to the electronic replica edition of The Pilot.

Starting at
$5.35 for 30 days

Already have a Print Subscription? Get Digital Access Free.

The Pilot

As a print subscriber, you also have unlimited digital access. Connect your account now. Or, call customer service at 910-693-2487 for help.


Our system has been updated, if you are a current print subscriber and cannot obtain your unlimited access, please contact customer support 910-693-2490. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Home Delivery

The Pilot

Our best deal: Get all the news of Moore County delivered to your home each Wednesday and Sunday — and receive unlimited digital access to

Starting at
$27.82 for 90 days