RCPD Frequently Asked Questions about unmanned aircraft or ‘drones’

RCPD Frequently Asked Questions about unmanned aircraft or ‘drones’

Q: Can you fly these aircraft in Rapid City?

A: Yes, Rapid City is a fantastically gorgeous community which any unmanned aircraft pilot would want to explore, however, there are some things to keep in mind: The operation of remotely piloted aircraft is permitted in city parks as long as the operator does not fly the aircraft within 50 feet of other park visitors. Any operator of an unmanned aircraft must keep the aircraft below 400 above ground level at all times. Also, the operation of unmanned aircraft is not permitted within a five-mile radius of Rapid City Regional Airport unless notification of the flight is given to the airport operator and the air traffic control tower.

Q: What else do I need before flying?

A: Any drone weighing 0.55 lbs or more must be registered with the FAA (https://registermyuas.faa.gov/). The operator must have the registration number clearly displayed on the aircraft. The operator must maintain a line-of-sight view of the aircraft.


Q: What are the different ways I can operate my unmanned aircraft?

A: The two main types of operation are Hobby/Recreation Use and Commercial Use. The rules are different for each type of operation. For more information on these specific regulations, visit https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/

Q: How do I operate my unmanned aircraft in a responsible manner?

A: It is illegal to fly your unmanned aircraft in a manner that puts others at risk of bodily injury or property damage. Do not fly over large crowds, special events, or emergency response efforts. Emergency response efforts could include: Traffic crashes, structure or wild fires, active police investigations, search and rescue operations, etc.

Q: What should I do if I see someone operating their unmanned aircraft in a dangerous or irresponsible manner?

A: If it’s within Rapid City, call police at 394-4131 to report this type of activity. We will investigate and work with the FAA to hold an offender accountable for their actions.

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