Drones & UAS

UAS Basics

When operating any UAS—or as more commonly known, drone—the operator becomes engaged with the national airspace, as well as, the manned aircraft operating in it. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a “Drone” or Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is any aircraft flown by a pilot via a ground control system. This includes rotor aircraft, multi-rotor, or fixed wing model aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration has established specific safety guidelines for small UAS operators. Drones, weighing between 0.55 lbs. (250 grams) and up to 55 lbs. (25 kg.) must be registered with the FAA, as of Dec. 21, 2015. Additionally, the reason for which a drone is operated will determine what type of registration required. Using a drone to capture photos or video for personal enjoyment falls under the FAA’s definition of recreational or hobby use, requiring a simple registration process. However, using a drone to create imagery for compensation is considered commercial operation and requires a more detailed registration process.

The FAA website can provide further clarification on which activities are defined as commercial, non-hobby, or non-recreational UAS operations.

You can learn more about the different distinctions by visiting: https://www.faa.gov/uas/

The recreational use of UAS is the operation of an unmanned aircraft for personal enjoyment.

Safety guidelines for recreational UAS

  • Fly below 400 feet above ground level (AGL) at all times
  • Keep your aircraft in sight at all times• Do not fly near airports – stay outside a 5-mile radius from ANY active airport/airfield
  • Remain clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
  • Do not fly near or over sensitive infrastructure or property; power stations, water treatment facilities, correctional facilities, sporting events, heavily traveled roadways• Stay clear of FAA temporary flight restrictions; fires, crimes scenes, sporting events
  • Follow community-based safety guidelines developed by organizations such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics.
  • Check and follow all local laws and ordinances before flying over private property.

Operating UAS Near Telluride Regional Airport

Telluride Regional Airport has an elevation of 9,070 ft. and operates daily between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. local. Operations include airline, business jet, charter, private, medevac and law enforcement. Airspace around the airport can be very busy with up to 15-20 operations per hour.

Operating a drone within five nautical miles of Telluride Regional Airport is prohibited without approval from the Airport Manager.

To find out if you are within the restricted area, you can download the FAA’s smartphone app: B4UFLY at https://www.faa.gov/uas/recreational_fliers/where_can_i_fly/b4ufly/.

For all requests to fly within five nautical miles of the airport, drone operators must call the Airport Manager’s office 970-728-8601 and submit an Email with the following information:

1. Reference Map (Google Maps) – diagram of the location of the drone operation and the Airport.
2. Date and Times of the operation.
3. Altitude above ground level (Maximum 400 ft. AGL)
4. Minimum 24-hour notice.
5. Name, address, phone
6. Model of the Drone/UAS7.

The Airport will respond to Drone/UAS requests within 24 hours with an evaluation of the location in relation to the flight patterns around the airport and may limit altitude and/or advise if the operations conflict with aircraft flight paths.8.

Email: Kenny@tellurideairport.com
cc:    info@tellurideairport.com

Additional Reference for responsible UAS/Drone operators:

Think Before You Launch: Safety Guide for Recreational Unmanned Aircraft Users
Know Before You Fly: Unmanned Flight Safety Guide