Drone Laws and Regulations by State

Drone Laws and Regulations by State
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    In recent years, the broad adoption of drones has been hampered by major hurdles imposed by a plethora of rules and regulations, resulting in restrictions and limitations that have hindered the growth of the drone market.

    So if you want to fly a drone for fun or professionally in the United States, you must follow certain regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for open-air flights. Certain drones must be registered in order to fly them. In every case, a set of rules governs their operation. In fact, the FAA has different drone regulations for commercial and recreational use. So without any further ado let’s get right into it.

    Do I need a license to fly my drone in the US?

    If you want to fly a drone for any reason other than fun, you must get a Remote Pilot Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

    Do I need to register my drone?

    Yes! According to the FAA, drones that weigh over 0.55 pounds (over 250 grams) must be registered either under part 107 or the exception for recreational flyers.

    Where do you register your drone?

    When it comes to registering your drone, you can do it online by visiting the FAADroneZone. You’ll be faced with 3 options where you choose to register your drone depending on your needs, these options are:

    • You fly under Part 107 or as a public agent
    • You fly under the Exception for Recreational Flyers
    • Or you need to register a drone that weighs 55 pounds or more, which in this case you need to register by paper. Read more about it here!

    You registered your drone. Now what?

    When you register your drone with the FAA, you will receive an FAA registration certificate. When flying your drone, you must always have your registration certificate with you (either a paper or digital copy will suffice). This certificate is valid for (3) three years and will need to  be renewed.

    If you ever decide to let  another person use your drone, they must also carry a copy of the registration certificate. 

    General Rules For: Recreational vs Commercial Drone Uses

    The rules that regulate recreational and commercial drone uses are quite similar. Recreational rules, on the other hand, are more lenient in certain aspects than commercial ones. 

    Commercial drone uses requirements

    According to the Federal Aviation Administration any flight that promotes a business in any form is considered commercial. In addition, all commercial drone flights require a pilot to have a 107 certification. 

    Some examples of commercial drone uses include Aerial photography (such as drone wedding photography, real estate photography & More…), crop inspection/monitoring in agriculture, construction, aerial mapping and many more. Check out our commercial drone uses category for more articles about the matter! 

    So according to the FAA, in order to fly a drone for commercial purposes you must:

    • Have a Remote pilot certificate from 
    • You must register your drone (UAV) with the FAA through the FAADroneZone website.
    • Your UAV must weigh less than 55 pounds, including payload, at takeoff.
    • You must fly in Class G airspace
    • You must keep your UAV within visual line-of-sight.
    • You must fly at or below 400 feet.
    • You must fly at or under 100 mph
    • You must yield the right of way to manned aircraft.
    • You cannot fly from a moving vehicle, unless in a sparsely populated area.

    What is considered as recreational drone use?

    Flying a drone for recreational purposes means you’re flying the drone just for fun/ as a hobby, which can be done either in your backyard, at a local park or anywhere else as long as it’s allowed.

    The rules of recreational drone uses are:

    • Only fly for recreational uses
    • You need to pass the Recreational UAS Safety Test or TRUST, you also have to carry proof of passage when flying.
    • Maintain a visible line of sight of your drone or use a visual observer who is co-located (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
    • Drones are not permitted to fly in specific airspace. Fly at or below 400′ in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E) only with prior authorization by using LAANC or DroneZone.
    • Give way to manned aircraft and avoid interfering with them.
    • Do not fly your drone in a risky manner. Do not, for example:
      • Obstruct emergency response or law enforcement efforts.
      • Do not fly if you are high on drugs or alcohol.

    Disclaimer: The information presented here is drawn from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) resources; nevertheless, it is not intended to be an exhaustive resource or legal advice. For the most reliable information, please visit faa.gov/UAS.

    Read up well before you fly your drone, stay safe but don’t forget to have fun!

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