Federal Aviation Regulations PART 101

Moored Balloons, Kites, Unmanned Rockets
and
Unmanned Free Balloons


I believe that these regs are current. However, check with the current documents at the FAA to insure compliance.

PART 101 At the FAA Website


Subpart A--General
Subpart B--Moored Balloons and Kites
Subpart C--Unmanned Rockets
Subpart D--Unmanned Free Balloons
Authority: 49 U.S.C. app. 1348, 1354, 1372, 1421, 1442, 1443, 1472, 1510, and 1522.

Go to Top


Subpart A--General

Sec. 101.1 Applicability

  • (a) This part prescribes rules governing the operation in the United States, of the following:
    • (1) Except as provided for in Sec. 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 Sec. 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 Sec. 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]

Go to Top

Sec. 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]

Sec. 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]

Sec. 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]

Go to Top


Subpart B--Moored Balloons and Kites

Source: Docket No. 1580, 28 FR 6722 June 29, 1963, unless otherwise noted.

Sec. 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 Sec. 101.19 and with additional limitations imposed by the using or controlling agency, as appropriate.

Sec. 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.

Go to Top

Sec. 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.

Go to Top

Sec. 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]

Go to Top

Sec. 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.

Go to Top


Subpart C--Unmanned Rockets

Source: Docket No. 1580, 28 FR 6722, June 29, 1963, unless otherwise noted.

Sec. 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 Sec. 101.23(g) and with additional limitations imposed by the using or controlling agency, as appropriate.

Sec. 101.22 Special provisions for large model rockets

Persons operating model rockets that use not more than 125 grams of propellant; that are made of paper, wood, or breakable plastic; that contain no substantial metal parts, and that weigh not more than 1,500 grams, including the propellant, need not comply with Sec. 101.23 (b), (c), (g), and (h), provided:

  • (a) That person complies with all provisions of Sec. 101.25; and
  • (b) The operation is not conducted within 5 miles of an airport runway or other landing area unless the information required in Sec. 101.25 is also provided to the manager of that airport.

[Amdt. 101-6, 59 FR 50393, Oct. 3, 1994]


59 FR 50390, No. 190, Oct. 3, 1994

SUMMARY: This action amends the operational guidelines of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 101 for model rockets that: use not more than 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of propellant; are made of paper, wood, or breakable plastic; contain no substantial metal parts; and weigh not more than 1,500 grams (53 ounces). This amendment is necessary to provide for the operation of the technologically advanced, larger category, model rockets and to ensure that their operation is in concert with the maximum level of safety protection for aircraft, flight crews, and the flying public. The FAA believes that this amendment will foster important aeronautical education and research activities, while retaining appropriate operational safety precautions.

EFFECTIVE DATE: November 2, 1994.

Go to Top


Sec. 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]

Go to Top

Sec. 101.25 Notice requirements

No person may operate an unmanned rocket unless that person gives the following information to the FAA ATC facility nearest to the place of intended operation no less than 24 hours prior to and no more than 48 hours prior to beginning the operation:

  • (a) The names and addresses of the operators; except when there are multiple participants at a single event, the name and address of the person so designated as the event launch coordinator, whose duties include coordination of the required launch data estimates and coordinating the launch event;
  • (b) The estimated number of rockets to be operated;
  • (c) The estimated size and the estimated weight of each rocket; and
  • (d) The estimated highest altitude or flight level 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, as amended by Amdt. 101-6, 59 FR 50393, Oct. 3, 1994]


59 FR 50390, No. 190, Oct. 3, 1994

SUMMARY: This action amends the operational guidelines of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 101 for model rockets that: use not more than 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of propellant; are made of paper, wood, or breakable plastic; contain no substantial metal parts; and weigh not more than 1,500 grams (53 ounces). This amendment is necessary to provide for the operation of the technologically advanced, larger category, model rockets and to ensure that their operation is in concert with the maximum level of safety protection for aircraft, flight crews, and the flying public. The FAA believes that this amendment will foster important aeronautical education and research activities, while retaining appropriate operational safety precautions.

EFFECTIVE DATE: November 2, 1994.

Go to Top


Subpart D--Unmanned Free Balloons

Source: Docket No. 1457, Amdt. 101-1, 29 FR 47, Jan. 3, 1964, unless otherwise noted.

Sec. 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 Sec. 101.33 (d) and (e) and with any additional limitations that are imposed by the using or controlling agency, as appropriate.

Go to Top

Sec. 101.33 Operating limitations

No person may operate an unmanned free balloon--

  • (a) Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, below 2,000 feet above the surface within the lateral boundaries of the surface areas of Class B, Class C, Class D, or Class E airspace designated for an airport;
  • (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.

[Dkt. 1457, Amdt. 101-1, 29 FR 47, Jan. 3, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 101-5, 56 FR 65662, Dec. 17, 1991]

EFFECTIVE DATE NOTE: Amdt. 101-5, 56 FR 65662, Dec. 17, 1991, revised paragraph (a) of Sec. 101.33 effective September 16, 1993. For the convenience of the user, the superseded text in effect until Sept. 16, 1993, is set forth as follows:

Sec. 101.33 Operating limitations.

* * * * *

  • (a) Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, in a control zone below 2,000 feet above the surface, or in an airport traffic area;

56 FR 65638, No. 242, Dec. 17, 1991

SUMMARY: This final rule amends the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) to adopt certain recommendations of the National Airspace Review (NAR) concerning changes to regulations and procedures in regard to airspace classifications. These changes are intended to:

  • (1) Simplify airspace designations;
  • (2) achieve international commonality of airspace designations;
  • (3) increase standardization of equipment requirements for operations in various classifications of airspace;
  • (4) describe appropriate pilot certificate requirements, visual flight rules (VFR) visibility and distance from cloud rules, and air traffic services offered in each class of airspace; and
  • (5) satisfy the responsibilities of the United States as a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The final rule also amends the requirement for minimum distance from clouds in certain airspace areas and the requirements for communications with air traffic control (ATC) in certain airspace areas; eliminates airport radar service areas (ARSAs), control zones, and terminal control areas (TCAs) as airspace classifications; and eliminates the term "airport traffic area." The FAA believes simplified airspace classifications will reduce existing airspace complexity and thereby enhance safety.

EFFECTIVE DATE: These regulations become effective September 16, 1993, except that Secs. 11.61(c), 91.215(d), 71.601, 71.603, 71.605, 71.607, and 71.609 and Part 75 become effective December 12, 1991, and except that amendatory instruction number 20, Sec. 71.1, is effective as of December 17, 1991 through September 15, 1993, and that Secs. 71.11 and 71.19 become effective October 15, 1992. The incorporation by reference of FAA Order 7400.7 in Sec. 71.1 (amendatory instruction number 20) is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of December 17, 1991, through September 15, 1993. The incorporation by reference of FAA Order 7400.9 in Sec. 71.1 (amendatory instruction number 24) is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of September 16, 1993 through September 15, 1994.

Go to Top


Sec. 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]

Go to Top

Sec. 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.

Go to Top

Sec. 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.

Go to Top

created 8-Feb-95
last edit 8-Feb-95
maintained by Rick von Glahn, <webmaster@eoss.org>

 

maintained by Rick von Glahn
Terms of Service
Creative Commons License