Drones in Mammoth Lakes

Flying Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or Drones in Mammoth Lakes: Whether you're a new drone pilot or have years of experience, rules and safety tips exist to help you fly safely in the national airspace. Visit the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flying Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) website to determine which type of drone user you are and what rules and regulations apply to your specific situation and region.

Anyone flying a drone is responsible for flying within FAA guidelines and regulations. That means it is up to you as a drone pilot to know the Rules of the Sky, and where it is and is not safe to fly. In most situations, its legal to fly a drone in areas within and around the Town of Mammoth Lakes municipal boundary (see map). The red area on the map is forest service land that is restricted and the blue ring on the right of the map us is restricted airspace for Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH). Technically, you can’t even launch a drone when you are in restricted airspace (most newer drones will not permit use in these areas).

Regarding drone usage in the following areas:

•    Drone flight in BLM areas is generally allowed except if the land has been designated by Congress as a Wilderness Area. Some drone restrictions based on local laws may also apply. The BLM defers to the FAA for drone flight rules and regulations.

•    US Forest Service defers to any and all FAA regulations; operators must be aware of and obey flight restrictions.

•    Wilderness areas - Drones cannot launch from, land in, or be operated from a designated Wilderness Area.

Map above shows "no fly zones" in red and "ceiling height restriction" on flying drones in gray.

FAA Rules and Regulations for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

All Drone pilots must follow FAA guidelines. The rule for operating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones under 55 pounds in the National Airspace System (NAS) is 14 CFR Part 107, referred to as the Small UAS Rule. However, if you want to fly a drone for purely recreational purposes, there is a limited statutory exception ("carve out") that provides a basic set of requirements.

The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) is fairly new and is a requirement for flying recreationally. It provides education and testing for drone pilots, specifically safety and regulatory information. All drone pilots must take and pass the TRUST test to fly recreationally (in can be done online). Please carry proof of passage when flying.

All drones must be registered, except those that weigh 0.55 pounds or less (less than 250 grams) and are flown exclusively under the Exception for Recreational Flyers. Drones registered under part 107 may be flown for recreational purposes as well as under part 107. Part 107 registration costs $5 per drone and is valid for three (3) years. The Exception for Recreational Flyers registration cost is $5 and is valid for three (3) years. See links below for registration information and requirements.

Drones and Wildfires: “If YOU fly – WE Can’t!”

Federal, state, and local wildland fire management agencies and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) urge members of the public not to fly “Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)” or drones over or near wildfires. Drones pose a serious threat to pilot's safety. Drones can shut down air operations that put firefighters, residents, and property at risk. Per the FAA, Drone operators who interfere with wildfire suppression efforts are subject to civil penalties of up to $27,500 and possible criminal prosecution.

FAA Links:

•   Register Your Drone

•   UAV’s – Recreational Flyers

•   TRUST – Recreational UAS Safety Test

•   Where Can I Fly?

•   UAS en Espanol