Drones (UAV)

Recreational Drone (UAV) Usage Near Airports

Flying drones (AKA unmanned aerial systems) can be a fun way to capture high-quality photos and video, but before you start flying make sure you understand your responsibilities. For recreational flight you must register your device, take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage. If you plan to use your drone for commercial flight (real estate filming, weddings etc.) you must follow a stricter set of rules known as Part 107, pass the FAA’s Knowledge Test and obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate. Learn more about the rules at ➤ FAA Drone Zone.

Regardless of what type of flying you do, drone operators should fly no higher than 400' above ground and avoid flying near airports because it is difficult for manned aircraft to see and avoid a drone while flying. Remember that drone operators must avoid manned aircraft and are responsible for any safety hazard their drone creates in an airport environment.

If you plan to fly a drone near an airport you must determine if the location is within controlled airspace. The FAA "geo-fences" controlled airspace which makes most drones un-flyable within those boundaries without prior authorization. If you need to fly within the boundaries of Truckee Tahoe Airport airspace (5 mile radius) use the following steps:

1. Find out what altitude restrictions are in place where you wish to fly by visiting ➤ FAA UAS Facility Maps. Note: Recreational Operators cannot operate above UASFM grid altitudes. Commercial Operators may be allowed to operate above USAFM grid altitudes.

2. Submit a request to fly on ➤ FAA Drone Zone. Note: KTRK is not available in the LAANC system. 

3. Plan ahead. The FAA is the approving authority of drone flight in controlled airspace and this could take several weeks.

4. If approved, you will be given instructions on how to “unlock” your drone to fly within the Class D airspace.

5. Our air traffic controllers will be notified of your flight, however as a courtesy on the day of your flight please give our air traffic control tower a heads-up phone call before operating. Tower can be reached at 530-414-1641.

6. If you have questions about flying drones around KTRK please contact Aviation & Community Coordinator David Van Quest at 530-205-8603 or by email at david.vanquest@truckeetahoeairport.com