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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 SmartphoneApp 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.

3dinsider.com/drone-safety/ is another great resource that provides relative information on operating your UAV

Not sure if you are recreational operator or a commercial operator?

  • You are considered a recreational user if you fly your drone for fun.
  • 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.

Recreational Operators - Please adhere to the following rules around La Crosse Regional Airport:

  • ***Recreational flyers who wish to fly in controlled airspace or within 5 miles of LSE. Recreational drone flights can now be approved automatically through the FAA Low Altititude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system. Visit https://www.faa.gov/uas/recreational_fliers/ for more information on recreational drone use and the LAANC system***
  • If you are outside the 5-miles of the Airport perimeter, please follow the recreational operator general guidelines.


Recreational operator general guidelines:

  • Register your drone, mark it on the outside with the registration number (PDF), and carry proof of registration with you (http://federaldroneregistration.com/)
  • Recreational flyers who wish to fly in controlled airspace or within 5 miles of LSE. Recreational drone flights can now be approved automatically through the FAA Low Altititude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system. Visit https://www.faa.gov/uas/recreational_fliers/ for more information on recreational drone use and the LAANC system
  • 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.
  • Fly your drone at or below 400 feet when in uncontrolled or "Class G" airspace
  • Keep your drone within your line of sight
  • Never fly near emergencies such as any type of accident response, law enforcement activities, firefighting, or hurricane recovery efforts
  • Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports
  • Never fly over groups of people, public events, or stadiums full of people
  • Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Follow Public Law 112-95, Section 336
  • We recommend utilizing the AirMap application when flying your UAV. The Airport is currently working to integrate this application into our local air traffic control tower as well as the local hospitals for helicopter operations. The goal is to have a one stop application for providing all local notifications at some point in the near future.

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.

Do NOT fly in controlled airspace (around and above many airports) unless:

You are flying at a recreational flyer fixed site that has an agreement with the FAA (there are currently no fixed sites approved within 5 miles of the La Crosse Regional Airport). The FAA has posted a list of approved sites (PDF) and has depicted them as blue dots on a map. Each fixed site is limited to the altitude shown on this map, which varies by location.

If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following Part 107 guidelines.

Under part 107, drone pilots planning to fly in controlled airspace must get permission from the FAA. You can submit requests for authorization to fly in controlled airspace near airports via the following two systems. LAANC is now available for requests to operate within LSE Class D Airspace for Part 107 operators!

  1. Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC)
  2. DroneZone

For more information on flying under Part 107 operations visit https://www.faa.gov/uas/commercial_operators/

Commercial operator general guidelines:

  • The La Crosse Airport is Class D airspace, follow appropriate regulations relative to operating in Class D airspace and follow 14 CFR Part 107 regulations
  • Part 107 waivers are currently required for Part 107 operators operating in Class D airspace, to request an FAA waiver Click Here
    • Be advised that waivers can take up to 90 days to be issued
    • The FAA has published a height map for our area which will assist you in setting up a waiver. These maps can be seen by clicking Here
  • To see non-airspace waivers issued please Click Here
  • If operating under Part 107 and flying within airspace, notification must be made to the Air Traffic Control Tower prior to flight
  • The Air Traffic Control Tower can be reached at (608)-783-0202 and select option 1

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 AppAvailable 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