Division of Aeronautics
Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Caltrans Division of Aeronautics has created this portal to provide relevant and timely information on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations within California's airspace.
UAS Acquisition and Operation by Caltrans
As of October 2016, the Division of Aeronautics has been designated by the California State Transportation Agency to create and manage the Department’s UAS usage program. UAS acquisition or operation by California Department of Transportation (Department) staff or contractor for the delivery of any Department business activity is not currently authorized. Furthermore, all UAS flights over freeways, expressways, and state highways are prohibited unless it can be shown that these flights both comply with Federal Aviation Administration Regulation Part 107 Rule and the Department encroachment permit guidelines prior to conducting the operation(s).
Before implementing any action involving the use of UAS, Caltrans employees with an interest in operating UAS for conducting the Department business activities or want to learn more about federal aviation regulations related to UAS operations by public sector employees should contact the Division of Aeronautics.
The Division is currently developing a policy for Caltrans implementation for UAS operations. Caltrans staff will be invited to comment on the development of the Deputy Directive through a survey to be conducted by the Division of Aeronautics in the next few months (January/February 2017).
A UAS ("drone") is any unmanned aircraft and all of the associated support equipment (remote control, communication equipment, data link, etc…) necessary to operate the unmanned aircraft. Prior to operating a UAS within five miles of an airport, users must notify the airport authority and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control.
New UAS users should visit the Know Before You Fly campaign developed by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Federal Aviation Administration UAS Resources
The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) UAS website provides information on the operations of UAS including registration, Certificate of Authorization (COA), Section 333 Exemption, Special Air Worthiness Certificate, and operator requirements.
- Complete Text of the Small UAS Rule – Part 107 Rule
- Summary of Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule – Part 107
- Small UAS Advisory Circular (AC No: 107-2) – How to Use the Rule
- UAS Beyond the Basics
- Waiver Guidance for Small UAS Operators (YouTube Video)
NOTE: A waiver may be granted if the operator needs to fly at night, higher than 400 feet or beyond visual line-of-sight. If the FAA is satisfied that the operation is safe, they may grant a waiver from one or more of the Part 107 provisions, since the rule allows for some expanded operational activity based on technological mitigations that address these concerns. The FAA states that any interested parties should expect at least 90-days for the Waiver evaluation results.
Effective December 21, 2015, anyone who owns a UAS weighing more than 0.55 lb. and less than 55 lbs. must register with the FAA UAS Registry. UAS Registration costs $5 and is valid for three years. UAS owners who do not register could face civil and criminal penalties.
FAA Smartphone App:
The FAA has developed a smartphone app- B4UFLY App that helps UAS operators determine whether there are any restrictions or requirements in effect at the location where they plan to operate a UAS. Know Before You Fly is an educational campaign by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).
UAS Regulations and Policies
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the sole regulatory authority over the National Airspace System. FAA jurisdiction over UAS operations was set forth by the FAA MODERNIZATION AND REFORM ACT OF 2012.
Federal Regulations, Fact Sheets, and Best Practices
Federal UAS Informational Links
- White House UAS Fact Sheet (August 2016)
- US Geological Survey (USGS) UAS Website
- Where to Fly
- Fly for Work/Business
- Programs, Partnerships and Opportunities
- UAS Frequently Asked Questions/Help
- Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
- Best Practices for Protecting Privacy, Civil Rights & Civil Liberties in Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Division of Aeronautics UAS Contact Information
|Don Haug (Point of Contact)||916-654-5174|
|Carol Glatfelter (Alternate)||916-654-5253|
|Tarek Tabshouri (Alternate)||916-654-3775|
Statewide Alerts and Other Information
- Aeronautics Home Page
- About Us
- CalAERO Newsletter
- Aviation in CA Fact Sheet
- Functional Organization Chart
- Functional Organization Chart – Accessible List Format
- Organization Chart
- Organizational Chart – Accessible List Format
- Caltrans Keeps Airports Safe
- Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) *
- California Aviation Map Viewer
- Caltrans GIS Data Library
- Civil Rights/Title VI/ADA
- Public Hearings
- Public Records Act Request
- Job Opportunites
- Web Related Questions
- Contact Aeronautics
- Contact Caltrans
* Under Construction
Department of Transportation
Division of Aeronautics
P. O. Box 942874
Sacramento, CA 94274-0001
Department of Transportation
1415 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814