Flying in the USA - Licensing

I plan to take my Mavic to the USA in September when I’m going to be spending three weeks travelling by motorcycle through Oregon, Utah, Arizona, California and Nevada. These are areas of outstanding natural beauty - even outside the National Parks - and I’m pretty familiar with the landscape, having spent most of 2004 on my bike there, and revisiting regularly…

After discussing the subject with Chris Baker yesterday, it was clear that I’d need to research the subject of registration with the FAA if I wanted to fly there (legally :yum:).

I went to the FAA Website and, once I had created a membership profile (which was very quick), I registered the Mavic for $5 - all done online. I was then presented with a link to download my certificate, which I need to have with me, in paper or electronic form, if asked by a person in authority when operating the drone.

There is a breakdown by state of how many drones are registered - and from the numbers (less than 500 in Oregon - really?) it would appear that this licensing requirement is being roundly ignored. The site also has some guidance on local regulations (that is, local by state). In California, for example, it is unlawful to photograph any person without their permission. Think about how restrictive that will be if you take off from a pull-in at the side of the highway and land again and there are several people around you.

Like most regulations, these are probably enforced infrequently - and most ares I will be riding in will be miles from anyone - that’s the reason I go there :yum: - but it’s always worth being aware of restrictions in another country.

It has been widely publicised, but it is worth mentioning here again, that drone flying is prohibited an all National Parks. So you’ll need to stay on the ground to get pictures like this…

…but there are plenty of deserted areas…

…where the drone is going to add a new perspective…

Mike :sunglasses:


Great post, Mike!

And some stunning photos there too :+1:

Doesn’t look like there is anyone around for a hundred miles, you should be fine flying there :smiley:

Looking forward to seeing pics and vids in October when you’re back :wink:

Great Photos Mike, Er?, You don’t by chance need a Pillion passenger in October ?
I Fly!, You Ride !!
It would make great movie, “2 men, by bike, by drone”
I see an Oscar a coming !!.
No worries Mike, we’ll get you doing the “Follow Me” before much longer, so you can get your “Easy Rider” shots !!.
Like my mates says “What Big And Throbs Between You Legs…”
a Harley Davidson of course !!!.
You definitely got to do the trip in 4k !!!


I’m not old enough to ride a Harley… :yum:


I did’nt know “The Stig” rode bikes!

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Some good pics there Mike. I’ve just left Arizona myself, so it will be good to see your drone footage later in the year.

Hi Mike,
Text me your FAA Reg Number and I will knock up some decent labels for you
On my P-Touch Labeller (just done some for Russell)
He was saying he would like to have a meet up of the “Norwich Branch of GreyArrows” ,over the next couple of weekends ,if you are up for it, he has suggested the 29th (venue to be decided)?
Let me know if you are free.

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Hi Chris,

eBay beat you to it, I’m afraid - thanks very much for the offer, though. Got 140-odd waterproof labels delivered in 3 days for about £1.70 - At east 65p of which was postage! Can’t see how they do it…

Sunday 29th looks good at the moment - just let me know when and where!

Mike :+1:

Hi Mike,
No Worries, just a thought about the labels.
Are you recording/uploading your flights with Airdata ?
A handy App that keeps records of your flights, should you have any problems.
here’s the link:

This weeks weather is looking good for a few flights, especially, mid to later end of the week.
Let me know if you are up for a session, I am pretty flexible this week at most times, one of the rare couple of weeks when I have nothing much on !.

Hi Mike,
Hope you are well !, Just been chatting to Russell about Sunday 29th, on our potential “get together”, the weather is looking abysmal !, wet, very windy.
I think we should put it off till the weather improves.
None of us want to spend a wet day looking for a Mavic that’s drifted aimlessly away from us, somewhere.
Winds are set to be at least 22 to 25 mph, on the limit of the Mavic’s capabilities.
What’s your thoughts?
Best Regards

Hi Chris,

I’m very well, thanks - trust you are too.

I looked at the forecast this morning, coincidentally - and came to the same conclusion.

I’m off to Hampshire tomorrow for the training session that was mentioned on the forum. The weather there is forecast to be rubbish as well, so I have a feeling the last hour of flight demo outside may be curtailed - time will tell…

Let’s keep an eye on the calendar and the diary and see if we can come up with a suitable mutually-convenient date :+1:


Mike :sunglasses:

is that a training session on the Mavic?.
Did not see that advertised