UAV | UAS | Drone Operations
The operation of UAVs (UASs/Drones) around airports and other sensitive areas is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Visit the faa.gov/uas/ for additional information on requirements for operating in a safe and legal manner. The FAA offers a B4UFLY Smartphone App for determining rules in various locations. AirMap is another great application based resource for remote operator pilots.
www.knowbeforeyoufly.org is a great resource that provides airspace classifications, airport locations, heliport locations, and aerial imagery to determine any restrictions that may exist where you want to fly. The site also provides info on recreational clubs, flying rules, registering your UAV, and other resources to keep you flying legally and safely.
Recreational Operators - Please adhere to the following rules around La Crosse Regional Airport:
- Within 5-miles of the Airport perimeter UAV's are not allowed to be operated for any purpose unless notification is made to the Airport and Air Traffic Control Tower prior to the flight. At this time the Airport is deferring notification to the Air Traffic Control Tower only until an app based notification system is implemented.
- Air Traffic Control Tower can be reached at (608) 783-0202 and select option 1 to operate within the 5 mile radius of the airport.
Not sure if you are recreational operator or a commercial operator?
- Visit https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/ to determine if you need a Remote Pilot Certificate or not.
- As a general rule of thumb if you are doing any flying for profit or a business, even if money is not changed hands (e.g. taking images for your real estate listing, a roofing company taking roof photos, etc.), you are a commercial operator and need a Remote Pilot Certificate. For more information on becoming a Remote Pilot Operator Click Here.
If you have a UAV and are a recreational operator:
- All aircraft weighting between .55 pounds and 55 pounds including payloads such as on-board cameras, must be registered with the FAA (http://federaldroneregistration.com/)
- Must operate for educational or recreational purposes only
- Must make notification to both airports and heliports within 5 miles of your flying location. There are two heliports in La Crosse.
- UAV's must be flown below 400 feet above ground level
- UAV's must be kept in visual line of sight of the operator at all times
- UAV's must NOT be flown near manned aircraft
- UAV's must NOT be flown over groups of people, stadiums or sporting events
- UAV's must NOT be flown near emergency response efforts
- Follow Public Law 112-95, Section 336
If you have a UAV and are a commercial operator:
- The La Crosse Airport is Class D airspace, follow appropriate regulations relative to operating in Class D airspace
- Follow 14 CFR Part 107 regulations
Other Considerations When Flying a UAV
The following considerations should be taken into account when you decide to fly a UAV:
- Liability Insurance - Many if not most homeowner policies do not cover your use of a UAV. There are several insurance companies offering policies to protect you in case of an accident or incident.
- Privacy and Other Local Laws - The Laws concerning flying over other peoples personal property are not yet well established, therefore it is best practice to ask permission before flying over other peoples personal property. State Statute 942.10 does prohibit the photographing or recording of individuals in a place or location where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Cooperate with law enforcement if questioned about your activity. Law enforcement will utilize the FAA guidance Here.
- National Parks are a no-fly zone!
- Wisconsin Law prohibits UAV flight over state correctional institutions including their grounds. Additionally Wisconsin law allows political subdivisions to enact ordinances designating areas in which the operation of UAV's is prohibited so check your local ordinances.
- Wisconsin State Parks limit the use of UAV's, please visit their site at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/rules/flying.html for more information.
- Weaponizing UAV's is illegal.
- Clubs - Consider joining a local model aeronautics club, they offer a great place to fly your UAV without so many restrictions and joining the Academy of Model Aeronautics provides some insurance protection when flying at a club site. Visit http://www.modelaircraft.org/clubsearch.aspx to find your nearest club.
Local UAV Specific Ordinances (make sure to check with the local jurisdiction for updated information)
- Onalaska - prohibits radio-controlled model airplanes in parks (Sec 12-1-2)
- Holmen - no current regulations known
- La Crosse - no current regulations known
- The Wisconsin DOT provides additional State regulation and information at http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/travel/air/pilot-info/uas.aspx
- Local jurisdictions - if you have a local ordinance please contact the Airport and we will add the information to this site for local dissemination.
FAA Smartphone App Available for UAV Operators
The FAA offers a smartphone app that can help users understand restrictions around flying their devices. B4UFLY instructs users about current or upcoming requirements and restrictions in areas of the National Airspace System (NAS). Download the app at: www.faa.gov/uas/B4UFLY