SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Transportation has a few friendly words for anyone who awoke Christmas morning to find a brand new drone beneath the tree and is exploring the skies for the first time.
Practitioners new to the hobby need to be aware of federal and state regulations — and safety guidelines promulgated by a "community-based" organization such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics — with IDOT reaching out to potential pilots through its social media channels on the day after Christmas.
Commercial use of an unmanned aircraft system requires pilot certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, which has devoted significant resources to the rapidly growing UAS community on a section of its faa.gov website labeled the FAA Drone Zone.
Drone flight is prohibited within five miles of any airport without prior notification of the airport's operator and air traffic control tower, if the tower is on the property.
The IDOT website at idot.illinois.gov contains a brief online guide for hobbyists under the transportation safety section, with links to additional resources.