Living in Texas, you have the best of both worlds. There’s the city life and access to some beautiful beaches on the coast. This makes owning a drone very exciting because you are able to capture these views. However, Texas drone laws have changed over time due to the rise in popularity of flying. Maybe you’re wondering where are the best places to fly a drone in Texas since there seem to be many no fly zones. Understanding the regulations set in place can help make flying an easy task when deciding a location.
Many laws by state can different. For instance, regulations in California may seem more relaxed than Texas drone laws. It’s important to conduct research that is specific to where you are interested in flying.
So, let’s talk about Texas. First thing you need to take care of is registering your drone if you haven’t already. The FAA, Federal Aviation Administration, has a requirement that all drone owners must file their name, home address, and email. Once this is completed, a certificate of aircraft registration will be sent. This will also include a proof of ownership which has a unique identification number for your drone. It is crucial to display this number on your drone at all times. During the registration process, do not fly your drone until you receive these documents. It is illegal to fly until this is completed. You must also be at least 13 years of age to register.
The tough part about owning a drone is that you are restricted from flying if your only purpose to take photos. However, what’s odd about this is the difference between drones and remote helicopters. Drone laws in Texas are strict, yet you are allowed to attached a camera to a helicopter and take photos.
Don’t let this stop you from flying your drone though! There are some exemptions for drones to allow photo capturing. Students, professors, and administration of a school are allowed as long as they have permission from the institution. There are also places that the FAA has approved a safe fly zone.
Using drones for photo usage seems to be the primary concern in Texas. If you happen to capture a photo with people in it, they must have given to permission beforehand. This is to prevent spying on people without them knowing. And to clarify any rumors, it is illegal to shoot a drone down. There is this assumption that because Texas is a state of guns they are allowed to shoot a drone out of the sky. This is not true!
Drone laws in Houston are bit more strict, mainly because they have a large airport. You need to be highly aware of your surroundings when flying in this city. Keep in mind the FAA regulations about airspace. This means not flying within a 5 mile radius of any airports and not interfering with any manned aircrafts. This can be difficult with many airplanes flying in and out of Houston on the daily. Flying drones in Dallas also follow the same regulations due to the increased flights through the city.
A lot of people in seem to have a hard time finding a place to fly, while also getting a nice view. More often, you get country roads or abandoned buildings that are starting to crumble. However, there are many resources to determine safe fly zones. Some can track your location or you can enter coordinates of where you want to fly. And sometimes, all you need to do is ask permission if you find yourself in a beautiful location. Capturing the skyline of Houston and Dallas is possible!
If you’re looking to fly in a city park, you will be happy to know that there is currently no ordinance in Austin. Feel free to fly at your own leisure in any of its parks as long as you are flying non-commercially.
Being a drone owner comes with a lot of responsibility. As long as you know the Texas drone laws and are aware of your surroundings, this includes people, buildings, airports, and so on, then you will have no troubles flying. As always, fly safe and enjoy!