News Releases

1/15/2016: NCDOT Creates One-Stop Shop for NC Drone Operators

NCDOT Creates One-Stop Shop for NC Drone Operators

Posted 1/15/2016 4:43:42 PM

RALEIGH – As drones become more common in American households and businesses, the N.C. Department of Transportation is working to help promote safety on the air and on the ground by educating drone operators in our state.  Drones, also called Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), offer a wide variety of uses – from tech-loving hobbyists to professional photographers, university researchers, agricultural operations and government organizations. Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the NCDOT Division of Aviation classify UAS flight operations by three categories:Recreational – Any UAS flight that is conducted solely for recreation.Government – Any UAS flight conducted by a government entity to support their work.Commercial – Any UAS flight that serves a business purpose or provides a business benefit, even if that benefit is indirect.At the direction of the North Carolina General Assembly, NCDOT launched a permitting system for commercial and government UAS operators in North Carolina. The system is designed to help UAS owners better understand restrictions on the use of their technology through a simple and efficient online process. Starting January 2016, all government and commercial UAS operators must obtain a permit from NCDOT’s Division of Aviation. “This permitting process will help educate UAS owners,” said N.C. Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson. “We want to encourage safe and responsible drone operations in North Carolina.” To obtain a permit, users must first pass the North Carolina UAS Operators Knowledge Test. A guide is available to help users study before taking the test.  In addition to passing the Knowledge Test, users must meet certain FAA requirements to obtain a commercial or government operator permit in North Carolina. The full requirements are available on the Division of Aviation website (ncdot.gov/aviation). Operators who meet all requirements will receive a paper permit, similar to a driver license, that they will be required to keep with them while conducting commercial or government UAS operations.  Recreational users are not required to complete the permit process, but are strongly encouraged to review the study guide and take the Knowledge Test to better understand UAS regulations in North Carolina.  UAS operators, whether recreational, government or commercial, should keep in mind that North Carolina has laws governing drone use. Drone users are subject to all North Carolina laws, even if UAS technology is not mentioned in the specific statute.  UAS owners must also register drones weighing between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds with the FAA. More information about registration is available on the FAA’s UAS website (faa.gov/uas/registration).  Current and potential drone owners can find more information about state and federal UAS regulations on the Division of Aviation’s website. 
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12/28/2015: Drone Use Subject to State, Federal Laws and Guidelines

Drone Use Subject to State, Federal Laws and Guidelines

Posted 12/28/2015 4:44:07 PM

RALEIGH – Quadcopters, radio controlled planes, UAS – no matter what you call them, there’s no denying that drones are a big hit this holiday season. As Americans wrap up their holiday shopping, the N.C. Department of Transportation is offering advice to the thousands of people who received a drone in December. Drones fall under the category of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). UAS technology is an exciting and evolving field, which can lead to confusion for both UAS owners and the general public. NCDOT wants to help drone owners enjoy their new technology while protecting citizens’ safety and privacy. "We’re proud of North Carolina’s legacy of being first in manned flight," said NCDOT Secretary Nick Tennyson. "The academic and industry researchers in our state will make us a leader in unmanned flight as well."   NCDOT’s Division of Aviation has established guidelines for UAS operation in North Carolina. Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the NCDOT Division of Aviation classify UAS flight operations by three categories: Recreational – Any UAS flight that is conducted solely for recreation. Government – Any UAS flight conducted by a government entity to support their work. Commercial – Any UAS flight that serves a business purpose or provides a business benefit, even if that benefit is indirect. Government and commercial UAS operators must adhere to state and federal requirements established by the North Carolina General Assembly and the FAA. Each classification is subject to specific regulations and guidelines. That includes the FAA requirement that all UAS operators must register their drone. More information about registration is available on the FAA’s UAS website.    Most people receiving a drone during the holiday season will use them for purely recreational purposes. While recreational drone flights are not heavily regulated, the FAA and model aircraft enthusiast groups have established a number of guidelines which should be followed to ensure a fun and safe experience: Always fly below an altitude of 400 feet and fly within your direct line of sight. Do not fly within 5 miles of an airport, near stadiums or other public events, or for compensation. Do not fly a drone that weigh more than 55 pounds. Do not fly at night, even if your drone is equipped with lights. "UAS technology is fun and exciting, but it needs to be used responsibly," said Division of Aviation Director Bobby Walston. "These guidelines will help ensure the safety of people in the air and on the ground."   UAS operators, whether recreational, government or commercial, should keep in mind that North Carolina has laws governing drone use. Drone users are subject to all North Carolina laws, even if UAS technology is not specifically mentioned. Current and potential drone owners can visit the Division of Aviation’s website to find more information about state and federal UAS regulations and watch a video with safety tips for operators.    ***NCDOT***
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11/30/2015: NCDOT Offers Holiday Tips for Drone Safety

NCDOT Offers Holiday Tips for Drone Safety

Posted 11/30/2015 2:49:29 PM

RALEIGH – This holiday season, one of the most popular gifts might actually fly off the shelves. Whether they’re called quadcopters, radio controlled planes, or any of the high tech brand names, drones are expected to be big sellers this year, with some estimating as many as 700,000 will make their way into Americans’ homes by the end of December.  All of these devices fall under the category of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). UAS technology is an exciting and evolving field, which can lead to confusion for both UAS owners and the general public. The N.C. Department of Transportation is offering tips to help UAS owners enjoy their new technology while protecting citizens’ safety and privacy. “We’re proud of North Carolina’s legacy of being first in manned flight,” said NCDOT Secretary Nick Tennyson. “The academic and industry researchers in our state will make us a leader in unmanned flight as well.” NCDOT’s Division of Aviation has established guidelines for UAS operation in North Carolina. Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the NCDOT Division of Aviation classify UAS flight operations by three categories: Recreational - Any UAS flight that is conducted solely for the purpose of recreation. Government – Any UAS flight conducted by a government entity to support their work. Commercial – Any UAS flight that serves a business purpose or provides a business benefit, even if that benefit is indirect. Government and commercial UAS operators must adhere to state and federal requirements established by the North Carolina General Assembly and the FAA. Each classification is subject to specific regulations and guidelines. Many of the UAS owners who receive a drone during this holiday season will use them for purely recreational purposes. While recreational UAS flights are not heavily regulated, the FAA and model aircraft enthusiast groups have established a number of guidelines which should be followed to ensure a fun and safe experience: Always fly below an altitude of 400 feet and fly within your direct line of sight. Do not fly within 5 miles of an airport, near stadiums or other public events, or for compensation. Do not fly UAS that weigh more than 55 pounds. Do not fly at night, even if your UAS is equipped with lights. “UAS technology is fun and exciting, but it needs to be used responsibly,” said Division of Aviation Director Bobby Walston. “These guidelines will help ensure the safety of people in the air and on the ground.”  UAS operators, whether recreational, government or commercial, should keep in mind that North Carolina has laws governing drone use. UAS users are subject to all North Carolina laws, even if UAS technology is not specifically mentioned. Current and potential drone owners can find more information about state and federal UAS regulations on the Division of Aviation’s website. 
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5/27/2015: NCDOT Will Participate in Roanoke Valley Wings and Wheels Fly-in on May 30

NCDOT Will Participate in Roanoke Valley Wings and Wheels Fly-in on May 30

Posted 5/27/2015 3:15:31 PM

RALEIGH-The N.C. Department of Transportation Division of Aviation will participate in the Roanoke Valley Wings and Wheels Fly-in at the Halifax Northampton Regional Airport in Halifax on May 30. Gates open for the event at 9 a.m. and the event will last from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.  The event will bring pilots and local communities together to enjoy seminars, aircraft displays, Remote Controlled aircraft demonstrations, classic cars, musical entertainment, family activities, motorcycles, airplane rides, vendors and great food.  Pilots will have the opportunities to attend a pilot safety seminar, network with peers and get rides in the Allegro Light Sport and Trike (Weight Shift Control) Aircraft.  Tom Freeman, NCDOT aviation safety specialist and Dave Allison from Crane Aerospace will present a safety seminar to pilots titled, "Flight 5481 Unraveled" at 11 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m. This seminar features the crash of a small commuter aircraft in 2003 at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and how that incident forever changed Dave Allison’s perspective on aviation safety.  For additional information about the event contact Ralph Johnson, Airport Manager at Halifax North Hampton Regional Airport. Ralph Johnsonralphjohnson540@msn.com 252-583-3492 To view the Facebook page for the event click here.  **NCDOT**
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5/25/2015: NCDOT Helps Washington Celebrate New Airport Terminal

NCDOT Helps Washington Celebrate New Airport Terminal

Posted 5/25/2015 10:04:22 AM

RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Transportation helped the city of Washington celebrate the completion of their new airport terminal building at Warren Field Airport on May 25. The previous terminal building was destroyed by a storm in July of 2012. The Division of Aviation assisted the city in evaluating the damage and developing a plan to replace the building following the storm that caused the damage. “NCDOT is pleased to participate in this critical project to meet the needs of Warren Field Airport and help create new opportunities for the City of Washington and Eastern North Carolina,” Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said. “North Carolina’s publicly owned airports serve as a significant economic engine for our state, supporting more than 108,000 jobs and contributing nearly $26 billion annually to the state’s economy.” The new terminal building cost $1.1 million. This amount includes the design, permitting, construction and construction administration. The NCDOT Division of Aviation is contributing $800,000 ($500,000 state and $300,000 FAA funds) toward this project. Insurance proceeds and city funds make up the additional cost.  Based on the 2012 Economic Contribution of Airports in NC study, the Warren Field Airport creates over $3.7 million annually in economic activity and 30 jobs. “We thank the North Carolina Department of Transportation, especially Division of Aviation of personnel, who have assisted us from the day the old terminal building was destroyed on July 1, 2012. Without their assistance, we would not have the facility we have today. We also want to take this time to thank the men and women who have served and are still serving in our military, especially on this Memorial Day.” The previous terminal building was built in 1975. Warren Field Airport was built during World War II as a military training facility.  Today, users of the airport include: Sun Energy 1, Net Jets, Pot-Ash Inc., Plane Investments, Wal-Mart, Waffle House, Lowes, Metro Aviation/Vidant, Skydive Little Washington and Grady White. Recent visitors to the airport include Jimmy Buffett and Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Current airport projects include airfield lighting rehabilitation and a maintenance project on runway pavements. Projects that were recently completed besides the terminal building include an airfield drainage rehabilitation project. In 2012, the Division of Aviation partnered with the city to enable the installation of a large scale utility solar system installed on the airfield. Approximately 34 acres of solar panels generate around 5,000 kW of electricity daily. Revenue generated by the solar farm in the form of rent and taxes totals almost $19,400 annually and is used to operate the airport.
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