- Do I have to register my drone?
The FAA requires all drones weighing more than .55 pounds or more to be registered with the FAA. Registration can be done through the FAA Drone Zone web site: www.faadronezone.faa.gov
- Do I have to be a licensed drone pilot to fly my drone?
No. If you are going to fly your drone for a commercial purpose, i.e. to make money for yourself or someone else or for advertising purposes etc. you must possess a Commercial Drone Pilots License.
If you just flying for fun you do not have be a licensed drone pilot but you are required by the FAA to follow certain rules and fly under the rules of a community based recreational flyer & modeler organization. More information can be found at: www.faa.gov/uas/recreational_fliers/
- How high and far can I fly my drone?
All drone flights are limited to no higher than 400 feet, without a waiver to fly higher granted by the FAA, when flying in Class G airspace and must remain within line of sight of the pilot.
When flying within 5 miles of an airport, (Class B, C, D and E airspace), the FAA requires the pilot to obtain airspace authorization and limits the maximum height a drone can be flown without a waiver.
- Can I fly my drone at a York County School or over a school sporting event?
No. The York County School prohibits the flying of drones from school property without permission from the School Board. Flying from school property without permission could result in being charged with trespassing.
It is a violation of FAA regulations to fly any drone over people without a waiver authorizing flight over people issued by the FAA.
- Can I fly my drone on York County property?
No. York County Code prohibits the flying of a drone from county property without permission from the proper authority. Currently, York County has no formal process to obtain permission to fly a drone from County property.
- Can I fly my drone at the Yorktown Beach?
No. The Yorktown Beach is York County property.
- Can I fly my drone from National Park Service Property?
No. The National Park Service prohibits the flying of drones from all National Park Service property.
- Can I fly my drone over people?
No. It is a violation of FAA regulations to fly a drone over people without a waiver to fly over people granted by the FAA.
The ROVER Team operates under a Certificate of Authorization (COA) from the Federal Aviation Administration. This COA allows the team to fly in all classes of Airspace on the Virginia Peninsula, with coordination of the various public and military airports Air Traffic Control Facilities. Additionally, the ROVER Team can fly in Class G airspace anywhere in the National Airspace System, and in all classes of airspace with an emergency waiver that can be quickly obtained when responding to locations outside of the Virginia Peninsula.
All personnel assigned to the ROVER Team are FAA certified Remote Pilots. This is currently the highest level of FAA certification for piloting unmanned aircraft, and is the same certification required for commercial sUAS pilots. The team and its policies meet, and in most cases, exceed the laws, rules, regulations, and recognized standards and practices for sUAS operations and administration.
The team operates multiple aircraft for different mission needs. The aircraft capabilities include a high powered zoom camera, Forward Looking InfraRed (FLIR) sensor, payload drop, onboard spot light, and night flight capabilities. The aircraft also features remote video recording and live streaming of video to a field command post, local and state emergency operating center(s), and other places as needed. This information allows command staff and other key individuals to be better informed and thereby more capable of making decisions to protect life, property and the environment.
The team has responded to multiple missions locally, regionally, and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia for incidents involving:
- Large commercial fires
- Tornado/severe weather damage assessment
- Situational awareness for large protests, gatherings, and special events such as the protests in Charlottesville and the Something In The Water festival in Virginia Beach
- SWAT, active shooter situations and warrant services
- Missing persons (suicidal, Alzheimer’s, elderly, runaway juveniles, etc.)
- Escaped convicts, wanted persons search in remote areas
- Crime scene documentation
- Hazmat incidents
- Various training exercises with local, regional, state, and federal agencies
The ROVER Team and its personnel are highly trained and motivated. They are considered by the FAA and peer agencies/teams to be on the cutting edge of UAS operations. The team has served as a role model and consultant for many teams throughout the United States and has been recognized on the state and national level for its commitment to excellence.