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Delaware Department of Transportation

Delaware Aviation Services

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Dangerous Flying: Where do I report an aircraft that is flying dangerously (too low, unauthorized acrobatics, etc.)?
A: The FAA  licenses pilots and enforces rules related to violations which occur in the course of flight. Incidents of this type can be reported directly to the FAA Flight Standards District Office  in Philadelphia. Delaware law also allows the State to prosecute certain acts of dangerous flying . If possible, get the registration number (N-number) that is usually displayed on the aircraft tail or wing and any other details - location, time, nature of the dangerous flying, etc. Note that aerial applicators (crop dusters) may exhibit seemingly dangerous flying, but this is likely due to the nature of the work - please do not report these planes.

Q. Aircraft Noise: How do I report excessive aircraft noise?
A: Excessive aircraft noise can be reported either to the DelDOT Office of Aeronautics or directly to the FAA local Flight Standards Office . Depending on the location and type of aircraft, the aircraft operation can be related to a certain airport. If the airport has a noise program, like Philadelphia (PHL) , the information will be forwarded to that office.

Q. Aircraft Accident/Crash: What should I do if I witness an aircraft accident or come across the scene of an aircraft accident?
A: Please dial 911 immediately. Aircraft accidents have the potential to be extremely dangerous, even to bystanders, so please think of your own safety first. The 911 call will initiate a series of responses, including fire and rescue, police, and DelDOT's TMC, which is responsible for supporting the first responders and assisting in securing the scene until the arrival of the FAA and NTSB.

Q. Airport Obstructions/Building Permits: What do I need to know about obstructions/building permits for my project?
A: Certain structures have the potential to create a hazard to aviation; FAA regulations  require that all structures over 200 feet AGL (Above Ground Level), regardless of their location, be evaluated for their possible effects on air navigation. Other structures, within certain distances of airports, are also required to be evaluated. To accomplish this, the applicant must submit FAA Form 7480-1  to the local Flight Safety Standards Office . State law mandates that new construction or modifications to existing structures within a certain distance to airports or any structure over 200' AGL (Above Ground Level) must be evaluated by the Office of Aeronautics before any permits will be issued by the local land use agency (county or municipal). The Office of Aeronautics has the authority to deny construction of any structure that will create an obstruction at a public-use airport. If you are unsure if your building project falls under this requirement, please refer to the following maps of airport approach surfaces. If your project falls within or near to any of the surfaces, you will need to submit an obstruction evaluation form to the Office of Aeronautics before submitting your plans to the local building permit agency.

Q. Flight Instruction: Where can I find information on learning to fly?
A: If you are interested in learning to fly, you must obtain a pilot's license from the FAA . There are many reputable flight schools in the area. For further information on how to become a pilot and flight schools visit the AOPA web site 

Q. Aerial Applicators: What are Aerial Applicators?
A: Commonly known as "crop dusters," Delaware's aerial applicators perform important functions for the agricultural community and the public at large. Aerial applicators spray pesticides and fertilizers on crops as well as spray pesticides as part of the State's Mosquito Control Program , which is managed by DNREC . Aerial applicators are licensed by the State and are required to maintain safety protocols to protect the public. The nature of the business may require low flying and is not reportable. For you own safety, if you are near a location that is being sprayed, you may want to leave the area.

Q. Commercial Flights/Airlines: Is there commercial service in Delaware?
A: Currently, no commercial airlines offer regular service from any Delaware airport. The nearest airports offering scheduled service are: Philadelphia International , Baltimore-Washington International  and Salisbury-Ocean, MD .

Q. Trespassers/Crimes/Suspicious Activity at Airports: What should I do if I see suspicious or illegal activities at an airport?
A: If you witness or are aware of any illegal or suspicious activities at an airport, please report it immediately to local law enforcement or the Delaware State Police  (800.FORCE.1.2). If a life-threatening incident is in progress, dial 911 immediately. Remember to think of your own safety first.

Q. Private Airports: Can anyone have a private airport on their property?
A: There are many private airports in Delaware, but this is not allowed by right on any property under any current zoning laws. If you are interested in establishing one on your property, you must apply to your local land use permitting agency (county or town) for a conditional use permit New Castle County ; Kent County ; Sussex County ). The permitting agency is allowed to put reasonable limits on the airport activities, such as: hours of operations, number of operations, types of aircraft allowed, etc. A second step to establishing an airport is to request an airspace reservation with the FAA . This allows the FAA  to recognize the airport and its operations in considering the national airspace to coordinate other uses with yours to ensure safety. This process starts with submitting FAA Form 7480-1 .

Q. Public-use Airports: What are public use airports?
A: A public-use airport can be publicly or privately-owned but must be open to the public - no prior permission is needed for landing, unless otherwise noted (check the airport directory for restrictions while planning your trip). There are currently 10 public-use airports and one helipad in Delaware. Public-use airports are licensed by the State,subject to certain requirements , and eligible for aid from the State for improvement projects such as obstruction clearing, weather stations, etc. If you are interested in learning more about opening or becoming licensed as a public-use airport, please contact DelDOT's Office of Aeronautics .

Q. Airport Directory: Where can I find the Airport Directory?
A: The Delaware Airport Directory is available online. If you would like a hard copy, please contact the Office of Aeronautics to request one .

Q. Aviation-Related Businesses: Are there Aviation-Related businesses in Delaware?

Delaware welcomes and appreciates the value of aviation-related/supportive businesses, such as aircraft sales and parts, maintenance, avionics, aerial spraying, banner-towing, recreational plane rides, skydiving, etc. An aviation-related business can be located at a public-use airport with few restrictions, but locating at a private-use airport requires that it meets the conditions established for the airport by the local land use agency. The Delaware Economic Development Office

(DEDO) ( may be able to offer assistance for businesses locating in Delaware; see their website for more information.

Q. Security Best Practices for GA Airports: Are there guidelines for security best practices?
A: There are no laws mandating security practices for Delaware airports, but application of best practices, as outlined by the TSA and AOPA  is strongly encouraged. Practicing security helps keep not only our airports and fliers safe, but also prevents theft, vandalism, and other illegal acts from affecting valuable planes and other aviation equipment.

Q. What is the two-lock rule?
A: A simple and effective way to secure your aircraft. The two-lock rule simply means that the aircraft is secured using more than one lock, such as a door lock and a prop lock or a keyed magneto switch and a locked hangar door. Other combinations of two-locks could be:
  • Locking aircraft entry door
  • Locking cockpit door
  • Locking hangar door
  • Keyed magneto switch
  • Keyed starter switch
  • Keyed master power switch
  • Throttle lock
  • Mixture lock
  • Locking fuel cut-off
  • Locking control surface "gust-lock"
  • Propeller lock
  • Propeller chain
  • Propeller cable
  • Locking wheel lock or chock
  • Locking tie-down cable
  • Lock-in-place pilot tube cover
  • "Club" type devices for the control yoke

Q. Aircraft Registration: What laws cover aircraft registration in Delaware?
A: Currently, Delaware has no law requiring aircraft be registered with the State. All aircraft must be registered with the FAA  to legally operate.

Q. Fuel Tax: Is there a tax on aircraft fuel?
A: Delaware levies a $0.23 tax on each gallon of gasoline sold in the state. This includes Av Gas (but not Jet Fuel). As this money goes into the Transportation Trust Fund (highways capital fund), a mechanism exists for fliers to apply for a refund of the total amount of gas tax they've paid on Av Gas. The flier must produce receipts for the total amount of the refund requested.

Q. Acronyms: Ever wonder what all of those airport/airplane related acronyms mean?
A: Look here for a list of common acronyms applying to Delaware as well as those from the FAA .

Q. Military Airspace/operations in Delaware: Are there any guidelines concerning flight in or near military installations?
A: Delaware is home to the Dover Air Force Base, which employs two major varieties of heavy cargo planes, the C-5 Galaxy and the C-17 Globemaster III, as well as to the Delaware Air National Guard at New Castle County Airport, employing C-130 cargo planes. There is a designated airspace controlled by the DAFB tower. It is important to note that DAFB operations extend beyond the restricted airspace, so extra caution is advised. The DAFB has issued an informational document addressing this issue - all pilots flying in or near that airspace are encouraged to review it.

NCCA  is also tower controlled, Class D airspace, but there are no restrictions. The DANG  also advises civilian users to be aware of their operations and has issued an advisory document as well as offering pilot briefings to interested fliers.

Q. Helicopter landings: Are there any prohibitions for helicopter landings?
A: Helicopters can land in much more compact areas than airplanes. There is no FAA  or State prohibition on landing a helicopter in any location, but, except in cases of emergency landings, prior permission is needed from the property owner. To ensure safety for all parties, careful evaluation of the landing area in advance is strongly suggested to identify hazards such as power lines, trees, buildings, highways, etc.). If an area is going to be frequently used as a landing site, it needs to be formally designated as an airport or heliport facility.

Q. Reporting Obstructions or Flight Hazards: Is there a process to report a flight hazard?
A: If you encounter or are aware of a possible obstruction or hazard to aircraft (if it has an obstruction-marking light, it has likely already been evaluated), it can be reported to the DelDOT Office of Aeronautics . See also: Airport Obstructions/Building Permits.

Q. Taxes on Aircraft Purchases: Is there a tax when I purchase an Aircraft?
A: Delaware has no sales tax. Aircraft bought in other states by residents of Delaware and/or brought into Delaware may be subject to the taxes of that jurisdiction (check applicable regulations).

Q. Use Tax/Leased Aircraft: Is there a tax on leasing an Aircraft?
A: Delaware has a use tax on leased property, which includes aircraft. The tax rate for this type of lease is 1.536% of the annual rent (DE Code Title 21 ).

Q. DelDOT Helipad - Use and Reservations: Can the Helipad in front of DelDOT be used by the public?
A: DelDOT has a public-use helipad (0N5) located at the headquarters building in Dover (800 Bay Road). As a public use helipad, no prior reservations are needed, but to ensure that it will be available for use, please contact the facility manager, Roberta Geier   at 302.760.2119 to submit your date of travel and estimated time of arrival. There is no capacity for storing aircraft and no services are available at this location, therefore, the pad is to be used for pick-up and discharge of passengers only.

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