Drones & sUAS

Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS), and “Drones”


The FAA has been working with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA)  to establish a safe protocol for the operation of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS), or more commonly called “drones”, in the National Airspace. On this page, for ease of understanding, “drone” will reference all sUAS and other small unmanned aircraft.

At the Minden-Tahoe Airport, management understands that drone operators, just like aviation managers, desire a safe operating environment. There are a number of resources available for drone operators listed below. Please follow the safety guidelines for drone recreational use (from the Know Before You Fly webpage):

  • Follow community-based safety guidelines, as developed by organizations such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA).
  • Fly no higher than 400 feet and remain below any surrounding obstacles when possible.
  • Keep your sUAS in eyesight at all times, and use an observer to assist if needed.
  • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations, and you must see and avoid other aircraft and obstacles at all times.
  • Do not intentionally fly over unprotected persons or moving vehicles, and remain at least 25 feet away from individuals and vulnerable property.
  • Contact the airport and control tower before flying within five miles of an airport or heliport. The Minden-Tahoe Airport asks that you contact us if flying within three miles of the airport. DO NOT FLY within 2 miles of the airport as this is where aircraft are in the pattern for landing and takeoff, and low flying aircraft are likely. (click on the image for the no-fly zone map)
  • For PART 107 Commercial sUAS operators that would like to operate near the airport, please call (775) 782-9871, or email Chris Johnson, Airport Manager, to coordinate.

    MEV Drone No-Fly Zone

    UAS No-Fly Zone around Minden-Tahoe Airport. Made with Google Earth (https://www.google.com/earth/)

  • Do not fly in adverse weather conditions such as in high winds or reduced visibility.
  • Do not fly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Ensure the operating environment is safe and that the operator is competent and proficient in the operation of the sUAS.
  • Do not fly near or over sensitive infrastructure or property such as power stations, water treatment facilities, correctional facilities, heavily traveled roadways, government facilities, etc.
  • Check and follow all local laws and ordinances before flying over private property.
  • Do not conduct surveillance or photograph persons in areas where there is an expectation of privacy without the individual’s permission (see AMA’s privacy policy)

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Minden-Tahoe Airport at (775) 782-9871 or email Chris Johnson, Airport Manager (also a drone flyer), for more information.

You are also required by the FAA to register your drone. You do not need to register each individual drone, you just need to register once and mark your drones. You can get that information here.

The FAA has also released a mobile application for drone flyers showing no-fly zones and potential hazards. You can download the app from the App Store for iOS devices, or from the Google Play Store for Android devices.

Additional helpful resources:


Federal Aviation Administration’s Unmanned Aerial Systems

Federal Aviation Administration’s Advisory Circular on Model Aircraft

AUVSI’s and AMA’s Know Before You Fly webpage (VERY HELPFUL INFORMATION)

AUVSI’s and AMA’s Know Before You Fly brochure

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA) Best Practices for Flying Your Drone Within Five Miles of an Airport webpage.

AUVSI’s and AMA’s Airspace Map showing restricted and warning airspace.