Engineering students inspecting a drone

There's great information online about drone laws, regulations, and best practices, but it's important to know which sources are reliable. We've collected some useful sites that provide trustworthy guidance:

General information

  • Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership for all things UAS at Virginia Tech
  • Federal Aviation Administration UAS Portal  for all things UAS in the United States. 
  • Know Before You Fly is a campaign that provides prospective users with the information and guidance they need to fly safely and responsibly. Their U.S. Airspace Map shows an easy-to-read overview of locations where drone flights are restricted, like around airports, heliports, and national parks. 
  • Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is the world’s largest, non-profit model aviation association that promotes model aviation as sport and recreation.
  • Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) is the world's largest non-profit organization devoted to advancing the unmanned systems and robotic community.
  • Incident reporting:  A UAS reportable incident is defined as any event or occurrence during aircraft operations that results in an aircraft failure, or any injury to persons or damage to property.  The UAS Incident Report form is used to provide follow up information after a Virginia Tech UAS incident or accident.  It is important to notify the UAS Safety Office (uassafety@vt.edu or (540) 231-7484) of any reportable incident as expeditiously as possible to determine if further actions are necessary.

Federal regulations for unmanned aircraft

Flight planning

  • FAA Special Use Airspace (SUA) Tool will help you find Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) and specially designated airspace in your flight area. 
  • Two sites to check for Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs):
  • Flight Service allows you to file a DROTAM (Drone Notice to Airmen) for free, once you're registered with the site. It's also a one-stop-shop for all things flight planning. 
  • SkyVector is a free aeronautical chart and flight planning tool; they post DROTAMs, as well.  
  • WeatherSTEM for real-time weather conditions at Virginia Tech:

Certification