Rules for Drones on TVA Lands

Drone - cropped

Is it OK to fly drones over TVA lands? Yes and no.

Drones are very much in the news these days.  They’re being used around the globe for all sorts of purposes.    

But what about the use of drones on TVA property?  Is it OK to fly drones over TVA lands?

According to TVA, there have been incidents where drones have come dangerously close to TVA property or have, in fact, crashed on TVA property.  TVA acknowledges that drones have legitimate uses for recreation and business, yet they can also pose significant risks due to misuse or accidents.

For this reason, TVA has established the following policies for the operation of drones by the public.

>> Drones are prohibited on or over TVA developed lands, dams, generation, corporate or other facilities, or power property (including transmission facilities, structures and lines).

>> Drones are permitted around undeveloped recreational lands as long as the drones do not pose a danger to people, property, the environment or wildlife or unless posted otherwise.

>> Any individual or entity intending to use a drone for commercial purposes (including media related activities) on undeveloped lands should contact TVA to discuss the potential flight.

>> Violations of the policy may result in the violator being removed from TVA property.  Violators may be subject to civil and criminal penalties under federal and state laws and regulations.

Prohibited Areas

Areas where drone operations are prohibited include:

>> Generation facilities such as dams, nuclear facilities or steam plants and associated real property interests (i.e. the land on and around which the facilities are located)

>> Dam reservations

>> TVA buildings, including those associated with generation facilities, or office complexes

>> Transmission facilities and structures including substations and lines

>> All developed recreation areas such as campgrounds and associated areas and structures

>> Where posted on undeveloped recreational areas

Authorized Areas

Drone operations are allowed on TVA undeveloped recreational lands if conducted in a safe manner.  Undeveloped recreational lands include:

>> TVA reservoirs

>> TVA property along the reservoirs where there are no TVA facilities (such as dams) or campgrounds

Please click here to access a TVA map of undeveloped recreational lands.

Drone flights may still be prohibited on undeveloped recreational lands if they would pose a safety risk as described above or violate federal or state laws or regulations.

Requesting Exceptions for Flights in Prohibited Areas

TVA may, at its sole discretion, allow drone operations in certain areas where they are normally prohibited.  Such permission will only be granted on a case by case basis, if TVA determines that there is good cause for the operation, and if the operator shows that it has all the required authorization and appropriate insurance.

Requests for exceptions should be directed to the Public Land Information Center (“PLIC”) at (800) 882-5263.  Any individual or entity requesting an exception should be prepared to provide the following information in support of the request: 

— Proof of insurance which provides coverage for drone activities

— Proof of FAA certifications for all individuals who will be operating the drone

— A flight plan for the proposed drone operation

— A safety plan for the proposed drone operation

Information on Regulation of Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates drones that operate outdoors.  Please see the FAA website to obtain information on FAA rules and regulations.

States, including Tennessee, are enacting laws regulating the use of drones in various situations.

Drone operators are responsible for complying with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.