Raleigh, N.C. — Two laws passed in July take effect on Friday to add limits to where drones, also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), can fly in North Carolina.
House Bill 128 bans drones from the airspace 250 feet over or 500 feet outside any prisons, jails or other correction facility.
House Bill 337 adds model aircraft as UAS and subjects them to the same laws as drones. Model aircraft users are still exempt from the state’s permitting requirements.
The new laws allow more latitude for the use of drones by emergency management, including thermal and infrared imaging where a drone could be used to identify body heat within a disaster area and aid in rescues.
Drone pilots in the state, and across the country, are required to register with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Recreational drone users must always fly below an altitude of 400 feet and may not fly within five miles of an airport or near emergency response efforts or other aircraft. Recreational drones may not weigh more than 55 pounds, and night flying is not recommended, even if a drone is equipped with lights.
Those using drones for commercial purposes face even more restrictions.
The North Carolina Division of Aviation has a guide to using drones safely and legally.