Division of Aeronautics

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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.

UAS Package Delivery
UAS Dualbladed Tricopter

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.

UAS Registration:

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

Know Before You Fly Brochure Cover

Federal UAS Informational Links

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

Contact Information

Physical Address:

Department of Transportation
Division of Aeronautics
1120 N Street, Room 300
Sacramento, CA 95814

Mailing Address:

Department of Transportation
Division of Aeronautics
MS 40
P. O. Box 942874
Sacramento, CA 94274-0001

Shipping Address:

Department of Transportation
Aeronautics
1415 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

General Information:

Phone: 916-654-4959
Fax: 916-653-9531

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