Drones / Unmanned Aerial Flights

Uses of Drones

Use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or "drones," falls into four main categories: commercial, educational, governmental, and recreational.

  • Recreational
    Currently, small unmanned aircraft systems are permitted for hobby and recreational purposes under specific safety guidelines established by Congress. Learn more about recreational use of drones.
  • Commercial
    The FAA currently authorizes the use of unmanned aircraft systems for commercial or business purposes on a case-by-case basis. Drone operation for commercial purpose is not permitted without express permission from the FAA. Those interested in operating a drone commercially should contact the FAA. Learn more about commercial use of drones.
  • Educational
    The use of unmanned aircraft systems by students in accredited education institutions as part of their coursework will be allowed under recreational guidelines for model aircraft. Learn more about educational use of drones.

Public entities (publically-funded universities, government agencies, etc.) may currently apply for a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) from the FAA in order to use drones. Learn more about governmental use of drones.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)'s Unmanned Aerial Systems Website (knowbeforeyoufly.org)


Drones and Airports

Regardless of their intended use (recreational/commercial/governmental), drones are not permitted within five miles of an airport without prior permission from the airport.

Athens-Ben Epps Airport

airport radius 2
The map above shows an approximate measurement of a 5-mile radius surrounding the Athens-Ben Epps airport and covers a large portion of Athens-Clarke County as well as parts of Madison and Oglethorpe Counties.