In response to the growing popularity of remote controlled aircraft, helicopters and multicopters (aka UAV or drones), Burning Man has formed a new team: Remote Control Black Rock City (RCBRC) under the Black Rock City Municipal Airport management, and updated its guidelines for registering, and the terms and conditions for flying RC aircraft in Black Rock City.
Like mutant vehicles, BRC regulates all RC aircraft and requires that they be operated responsibly, and are subject to restricted fly zones and other rules of operation. The goal is to streamline the registration process, have all RC pilots be familiar with flying in the city, and make it safer for all Burning Man participants.
The FAA requires all pilots of RC aircraft flying within 5 miles of an airport to notify that airport of their operations. Virtually all of Black Rock City is within 5 miles of 88NV, Black Rock City Municipal Airport, and completing the on-line registration and on-playa briefing with RCBRC meets this requirement.
Burning Man hosted a Drone Summit in 2013 to bring together RC pilots, who crowd-sourced the first set of community guidelines for flying in BRC. While the aircraft captured some great imagery of the event in 2013, we also encountered problems, including at least four instances where RC multicopters nearly hit participants.
You can read the new policy and register here, but these are the highlights:
- Registration on-line is limited to 200 pilots and closes August 15.
- RC pilots must receive an on-playa briefing, after which their RC aircraft and transmitters will be tagged and the pilots issued wristbands. Registration and briefings will be at 5 p.m. sharp, Monday through Saturday at the Artery in Center Camp.
- RC pilots are financially responsible for any harm or damage caused during the event.
- RC equipment can be confiscated for unsafe flying or violation of RCBRC, AMA, and FAA rules.
- Confiscated RC equipment will be held until the end of the event or when the participant departs Black Rock City.
- In addition to independent flying, registered RC pilots will have the opportunity to come together, share ideas, and fly from a protected RC Landing Zone. This will be set up at different art installations including near the Man. The changing locations will be posted at the Artery and announced on BMIR 94.5FM.
As in 2013, some guidelines remain the same, including:
- When possible, use a spotter to control onlookers.
- No First Person View (FPV) flying.
- Flying limited to a maximum altitude of 400 ft.
- Avoid flying over crowds. Maintain at least 25 ft. horizontal separation from people.
- Avoid flying near emergency, police and fire personnel.
- No flying near the Man beginning Friday night (during pyrotechnic set-up), and during the Temple burn.
- Flying is prohibited in Center Camp, along the Esplanade, near the airport, and near the BLM Incident Command area.
Support your love of RC flight and volunteer! You do not need to be a RC pilot to volunteer. To get involved, fill out a Burner Profile and Volunteer Questionnaire on the Burning Man website and specify airport for volunteer team.
For RCBRC scheduling issues, email email@example.com.
For more information regarding duties, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review the complete RC aircraft, drone and UAV policy.