FAA Regulations for Kites/Balloons

PART 101 - MOORED BALLOONS, KITES, UNMANNED ROCKETS AND UNMANNED FREE BALLOONS

Subpart A - General

101.1 Applicability.
  
(a) This part prescribes rules governing the operation in the
United States, of the following:
     
 (1) Except as provided for in 101.7, any balloon that is moored to
 the surface of the earth or an object thereon and that has a
 diameter of more than 6 feet or a gas capacity of more than 115
 cubic feet.
     
 (2) Except as provided for in 101.7, any kite that weighs more
 than 5 pounds and is intended to be flown at the end of a rope or
 cable.
     
 (3) Any unmanned rocket except:
     
   (i) Aerial firework displays; and,
     
   (ii) Model rockets:
     
      (a) Using not more than four ounces of propellant;
     
      (b) Using a slow-burning propellant;
     
      (c) Made of paper, wood, or breakable plastic, containing no
      substantial metal parts and weighing not more than 16 ounces,
      including the propellant; and
     
      (d) Operated in a manner that does not create a hazard to
      persons, property, or other aircraft.
     
 (4) Except as provided for in 101.7, any unmanned free balloon
 that-
     
     (i) Carries a payload package that weighs more than four pounds and
     has a weight/size ratio of more than three ounces per square inch
     on any surface of the package, determined by dividing the total
     weight in ounces of the payload package by the area in square
     inches of its smallest surface;
     
     (ii) Carries a payload package that weighs more than six pounds;
     
     (iii) Carries a payload, of two or more packages, that weighs more
     than 12 pounds; or
     
     (iv) Uses a rope or other device for suspension of the payload that
     requires an impact force of more than 50 pounds to separate the
     suspended payload from the balloon.
     
     (b) For the purposes of this part, a gyroglider attached to a
     vehicle on the surface of the earth is considered to be a kite.
     
[Doc. No. 1580, 28 FR 6721, June 29, 1963, as amended by Amdt. 101-1,
29 FR 46, Jan. 3, 1964; Amdt. 101-3, 35 FR 8213, May 26, 1970]
   
101.3 Waivers.
  
No person may conduct operations that require a deviation from this
part except under a certificate of waiver issued by the Administrator.
   
[Doc. No. 1580, 28 FR 6721, June 29, 1963]
   
101.5 Operations in prohibited or restricted areas.
  
No person may operate a moored balloon, kite, unmanned rocket, or
unmanned free balloon in a prohibited or restricted area unless he has
permission from the using or controlling agency, as appropriate.
   
[Amdt. 101-1, 29 FR 46, Jan. 3, 1964]
   
101.7 Hazardous operations.
  
   (a) No person may operate any moored balloon, kite, unmanned
   rocket, or unmanned free balloon in a manner that creates a hazard
   to other persons, or their property.
     
   (b) No person operating any moored balloon, kite, unmanned rocket,
   or unmanned free balloon may allow an object to be dropped
   therefrom, if such action creates a hazard to other persons or
   their property.
     
(Sec. 6(c), Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 1655(c)))
   
[Doc. No. 12800, Amdt. 101-4, 39 FR 22252, June 21, 1974]

Subpart B - Moored Balloons and Kites

    
Source: Docket No. 1580, 28 FR 6722 June 29, 1963, unless otherwise noted.
   
101.11 Applicability.
  
This subpart applies to the operation of moored balloons and kites.
However, a person operating a moored balloon or kite within a
restricted area must comply only with 101.19 and with additional
limitations imposed by the using or controlling agency, as appropriate.
   
101.13 Operating limitations.
  
     (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person
     may operate a moored balloon or kite-
     
     (1) Less than 500 feet from the base of any cloud;
     
     (2) More than 500 feet above the surface of the earth;
     
     (3) From an area where the ground visibility is less than three
     miles; or
     
     (4) Within five miles of the boundary of any airport.
     
     (b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to the operation
     of a balloon or kite below the top of any structure and within 250
     feet of it, if that shielded operation does not obscure any
     lighting on the structure.
     
101.15 Notice requirements.
  
No person may operate an unshielded moored balloon or kite more than
150 feet above the surface of the earth unless, at least 24 hours
before beginning the operation, he gives the following information to
the FAA ATC facility that is nearest to the place of intended
operation:
   
     (a) The names and addresses of the owners and operators.
     
     (b) The size of the balloon or the size and weight of the kite.
     
     (c) The location of the operation.
     
     (d) The height above the surface of the earth at which the balloon
     or kite is to be operated.
     
     (e) The date, time, and duration of the operation.
     
101.17 Lighting and marking requirements.
  
     (a) No person may operate a moored balloon or kite, between sunset
     and sunrise unless the balloon or kite, and its mooring lines, are
     lighted so as to give a visual warning equal to that required for
     obstructions to air navigation in the FAA publication "Obstruction
     Marking and Lighting" .
     
     (b) No person may operate a moored balloon or kite between sunrise
     and sunset unless its mooring lines have colored pennants or
     streamers attached at not more than 50 foot intervals beginning at
     150 feet above the surface of the earth and visible for at least
     one mile.
     
(Sec. 6(c), Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 1655(c)))
   
[Doc. No. 1580, 28 FR 6722, June 29, 1963, as amended by Amdt. 101-4,
39 FR 22252, June 21, 1974]
   
101.19 Rapid deflation device.
  
No person may operate a moored balloon unless it has a device that
will automatically and rapidly deflate the balloon if it escapes from
its moorings. If the device does not function properly, the operator
shall immediately notify the nearest ATC facility of the location and
time of the escape and the estimated flight path of the balloon.

Subpart C - Unmanned Rockets

    
101.21 Applicability.
  
This subpart applies to the operation of unmanned rockets. However, a
person operating an unmanned rocket within a restricted area must
comply only with 101.23(g) and with additional limitations imposed by
the using or controlling agency, as appropriate.
   
[Doc. No. 1580, 28 FR 6722, June 29, 1963]
 
101.23 Operating limitations.
  
No person may operate an unmanned rocket-
   
     (a) In a manner that creates a collision hazard with other
     aircraft;
     
     (b) In controlled airspace;
     
     (c) Within five miles of the boundary of any airport;
     
     (d) At any altitude where clouds or obscuring phenomena of more
     than five-tenths coverage prevails;
     
     (e) At any altitude where the horizontal visibility is less than
     five miles;
     
     (f) Into any cloud;
     
     (g) Within 1,500 feet of any person or property that is not
     associated with the operations; or
     
     (h) Between sunset and sunrise.
     
(Sec. 6(c), Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 1655(c)))
   
[Doc. No. 1580, 28 FR 6722, June 29, 1963, as amended by Amdt. 101-4,
39 FR 22252, June 21, 1974]
   
101.25 Notice requirements.
  
No person may operate an unmanned rocket unless, within 24 to 48 hours
before beginning the operation, he gives the following information to
the FAA ATC facility that is nearest to the place of intended operation:
   
     (a) The names and addresses of the operators.
     
     (b) The number of rockets to be operated.
     
     (c) The size and weight of each rocket.
     
     (d) The maximum altitude to which each rocket will be operated.
     
     (e) The location of the operation.
     
     (f) The date, time, and duration of the operation.
     
     (g) Any other pertinent information requested by the ATC facility.
     
[Doc. No. 1580, 28 FR 6722, June 29, 1963]

Subpart D - Unmanned Free Balloons

 
Source: Docket No. 1457, Amdt. 101-1, 29 FR 47, Jan. 3, 1964, unless
otherwise noted.
   
101.31 Applicability.
  
This subpart applies to the operation of unmanned free balloons.
However, a person operating an unmanned free balloon within a
restricted area must comply only with 101.33 (d) and (e) and with any
additional limitations that are imposed by the using or controlling
agency, as appropriate.
   
101.33 Operating limitations.
  
No person may operate an unmanned free balloon-
   
     (a) Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, in a control zone below
     2,000 feet above the surface, or in an airport traffic area;
     
     (b) At any altitude where there are clouds or obscuring phenomena
     of more than five-tenths coverage;
     
     (c) At any altitude below 60,000 feet standard pressure altitude
     where the horizontal visibility is less than five miles;
     
     (d) During the first 1,000 feet of ascent, over a congested area of
     a city, town, or settlement or an open-air assembly of persons not
     associated with the operation; or
     
     (e) In such a manner that impact of the balloon, or part thereof
     including its payload, with the surface creates a hazard to persons
     or property not associated with the operation.
     
(Doc. No. 1457, 29 FR 47, Jan. 3, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 101-5, 56
FR 65662, Dec. 17, 1991)
   
101.35 Equipment and marking requirements.
  
     (a) No person may operate an unmanned free balloon unless-
     
     (1) It is equipped with at least two payload cut-down systems or
     devices that operate independently of each other;
     
     (2) At least two methods, systems, devices, or combinations
     thereof, that function independently of each other, are employed
     for terminating the flight of the balloon envelope; and
     
     (3) The balloon envelope is equipped with a radar reflective
     device(s) or material that will present an echo to surface radar
     operating in the 200 MHz to 2700 MHz frequency range.
     
     The operator shall activate the appropriate devices required by
     paragraphs (a) (1) and (2) of this section when weather conditions
     are less than those prescribed for operation under this subpart, or
     if a malfunction or any other reason makes the further operation
     hazardous to other air traffic or to persons and property on the
     surface.
     
     (b) No person may operate an unmanned free balloon below 60,000
     feet standard pressure altitude between sunset and sunrise (as
     corrected to the altitude of operation) unless the balloon and its
     attachments and payload, whether or not they become separated
     during the operation, are equipped with lights that are visible for
     at least 5 miles and have a flash frequency of at least 40, and not
     more than 100, cycles per minute.
     
     (c) No person may operate an unmanned free balloon that is equipped
     with a trailing antenna that requires an impact force of more than
     50 pounds to break it at any point, unless the antenna has colored
     pennants or streamers that are attached at not more than 50 foot
     intervals and that are visible for at least one mile.
     
     (d) No person may operate between sunrise and sunset an unmanned
     free balloon that is equipped with a suspension device (other than
     a highly conspicuously colored open parachute) more than 50 feet
     along, unless the suspension device is colored in alternate bands
     of high conspicuity colors or has colored pennants or streamers
     attached which are visible for at least one mile.
     
(Sec. 6(c), Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 1655(c)))
   
[Doc. No. 1457, Amdt. 101-1, 29 FR 47, Jan. 3, 1964, as amended by
Amdt. 101-2, 32 FR 5254, Mar. 29, 1967; Amdt. 101-4, 39 FR 22252, June
21, 1974]
   
101.37 Notice requirements.
  
     (a) Prelaunch notice : Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this
     section, no person may operate an unmanned free balloon unless,
     within 6 to 24 hours before beginning the operation, he gives the
     following information to the FAA ATC facility that is nearest to
     the place of intended operation:
     
     (1) The balloon identification.
     
     (2) The estimated date and time of launching, amended as necessary
     to remain within plus or minus 30 minutes.
     
     (3) The location of the launching site.
     
     (4) The cruising altitude.
     
     (5) The forecast trajectory and estimated time to cruising altitude
     or 60,000 feet standard pressure altitude, whichever is lower.
     
     (6) The length and diameter of the balloon, length of the
     suspension device, weight of the payload, and length of the
     trailing antenna.
     
     (7) The duration of flight.
     
     (8) The forecast time and location of impact with the surface of
     the earth.
     
     (b) For solar or cosmic disturbance investigations involving a
     critical time element, the information in paragraph (a) of this
     section shall be given within 30 minutes to 24 hours before
     beginning the operation.
     
     (c) Cancellation notice : If the operation is canceled, the person
     who intended to conduct the operation shall immediately notify the
     nearest FAA ATC facility.
     
     (d) Launch notice : Each person operating an unmanned free balloon
     shall notify the nearest FAA or military ATC facility of the launch
     time immediately after the balloon is launched.
     
101.39 Balloon position reports.
  
     (a) Each person operating an unmanned free balloon shall:
     
     (1) Unless ATC requires otherwise, monitor the course of the
     balloon and record its position at least every two hours; and
     
     (2) Forward any balloon position reports requested by ATC.
     
     (b) One hour before beginning descent, each person operating an
     unmanned free balloon shall forward to the nearest FAA ATC facility
     the following information regarding the balloon:
     
     (1) The current geographical position.
     
     (2) The altitude.
     
     (3) The forecast time of penetration of 60,000 feet standard
     pressure altitude (if applicable).
     
     (4) The forecast trajectory for the balance of the flight.
     
     (5) The forecast time and location of impact with the surface of
     the earth.
     
     (c) If a balloon position report is not recorded for any two-hour
     period of flight, the person operating an unmanned free balloon
     shall immediately notify the nearest FAA ATC facility. The notice
     shall include the last recorded position and any revision of the
     forecast trajectory. The nearest FAA ATC facility shall be notified
     immediately when tracking of the balloon is re-established.
     
     (d) Each person operating an unmanned free balloon shall notify the
     nearest FAA ATC facility when the operation is ended.

Note: The above is provided only as an example. Check the FAA's own web site if you need current exact copies of regulations.

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