Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Operations

The Port of Portland encourages you to operate your UAS in a safe and lawful manner. The information provided is intended to address general guidelines based on Federal Aviation Regulations. Operators should be familiar with all applicable requirements including all applicable federal, state, and local regulations. We recommend contacting the appropriate authorities to ensure compliance.

The Port of Portland prohibits recreational UAS operations on Port properties including aviation, marine, industrial, and environmental properties. Requests for commercial and public UAS operations require a permit obtained through the Port of Portland. All applications are subject to Port approval. A minimum of 5 business days is required to process applications.

For more information, call the Pilot Information Line at 503-460-4111 and select the option for “unmanned aviation”, or email us at drones@portofportland.com.

Operating Rules

Recreational operations are classified by the FAA as those conducted for recreational or hobby purposes only. There can be no commercial, business, or financial benefit associated with the operation.

In May of 2019, the federal regulations related to recreational operation of unmanned aerial systems (drones) have changed. Most notably, UAS operations within “controlled” airspace is prohibited without prior FAA authorization. Notification to the airport operator and local air traffic control facility no longer applies and neither (the airport nor the local air traffic control facility) can authorize UAS operations.

The controlled airspace for the Port’s three airports (PDX, HIO, TTD) are contained within a 5-mile (approximately) radius of each airport. Within that area, UAS operations require FAA authorization. Currently, there is no system in place for requesting airspace authorization for recreational flyers. The FAA is in the process of developing this capability and when it is available we will provide additional information.

The new rules for recreational UAS operations are summarized below:

  1. The aircraft is flown strictly for recreational purposes only.
  2. The aircraft is operated in accordance with or within the programming of a community-based organization's set of safety guidelines that are developed in coordination with the FAA.
  3. The aircraft is flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft or a visual observer co-located and in direct communication with the operator.
  4. The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft.
  5. In controlled airspace (Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport), the operator obtains prior authorization from the Administrator or designee before operating and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.  The controlled airspace for all three Port-operated airports extends to approximately 5 miles around each airport.  (So in simple terms this means you may not operate a drone within 5 miles of the three airports operated by the Port without FAA authorization).
  6. In uncontrolled airspace (Class G), the aircraft is flown from the surface to not more than 400 feet above ground level and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.
  7. The aircraft is registered and marked, and proof of registration is made available to the Administrator or a designee of the Administrator or law enforcement upon request.

The regulatory requirements governing operations conducted under FAR Part 107 (small unmanned aircraft systems) remain the same and recreational flyers may operate under FAR Part 107 rules if all requirements (including pilot certification) are met.
Contact us if you have questions by calling (503) 415-6068 or email us at drones@portofportland.com.
Resources for more information:


Operations for commercial or business purposes are classified as “commercial UAS operations” and subject to the requirements set forth in Federal Aviation Regulations Part 107. Operations conducted under FAR Part 107 do not require advance notice to the local airport or air traffic facility. Basic requirements under FAR Part 107 include:

  • Pilot must hold a Remote Pilot Certification obtained through the Federal Aviation Administration
  • Operations may be conducted within Class G airspace only
  • Pilot must keep the aircraft within visual line-of-sight
  • Must remain below 400 feet AGL
  • Must fly during daylight hours
  • Airspeed may not exceed 100 mph
  • Must yield right of way to manned aircraft
  • Must NOT fly over people
  • Must NOT fly from a moving vehicle
  • Aircraft weight may not exceed 55 lbs.

* Some requirements may be subject to FAA waiver 

For more information visit: https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/fly_for_work_business/

This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Operators are encouraged to ensure an understanding and compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local, regulatory requirements prior to operating a UAS.