Upgrade_your_drone.png

The Ultimate Guide to the United States of America (New York & Washington) Drone Laws & Rules 2020

Updated: Jan 2

🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all drone law links & known rules about recreational & commercial drone use in the USA (New York & Washington). Give a 👍 at the end of this post if you enjoyed it & feel free to ask any questions or share your experience in the USA Drone Discussion Group. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our ability & does not replace official sources & your own research.


Recreational vs Commercial drone use in the USA


The United States differentiates commercial and recreational drone uses. Both are subject to restrictions, registrations & a strict code of conduct. Additionally, depending on your drone's weight & the state you wish to fly within, different rules may apply.


✅ The United States requires a systematic registration of your drone. Drone use matters are under the responsibility of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in America & can be reached via email UAShelp@faa.gov or a simple phone call (+1) 866 835-5322


Can I bring my drone to the United States of America?


✅ Currently, there doesn't seem to be any restrictions on bringing drones within The USA as long as your import is considered as legitimate (generally one drone per person).



🚨 Be aware of the airline you purchase to travel as some main ones will only accept your drone on-board if its batteries are detached & placed in a firecase during travel time. Most airlines will have a battery voltage limit based on the recommendation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You can find more info about a specific airline here.

🚨 Be aware of the airline you purchase to travel as some main ones will only accept your drone on-board if its batteries are detached & placed in a firecase during travel time. Most airlines will have a battery voltage limit based on the recommendation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You can find more info about a specific airline here.

💡 Smart! Get your drone batteries' firecase today and make sure you're complying with aviation safety rules.

NEW! Airlines & Drones' Best Practices!


Where can I fly my drone in the United States of America?


The US is a big piece land with a ton of airspace regulations.. thankfully, app.airmap.io has listed all flight zones in a convenient way based on your flight intentions organised in a 3 color legend:

Source: app.airmap.io

🚨 In any case, you can be sure that's its illegal to fly without authorisation:

  • in National Parks (including marine sanctuaries).

  • closer than 8.1 km from any airport.

  • military installations & sensitive areas.

  • the White House, Washington, D.C. and New York City.

  • near a wildfire firefighting operation.

  • 5 km near to stadiums (only 1H before/after games or events).

✅ We are aware knowbeforeyoufly.org provides great maps including temporary airspace closures due to events or other temporary activities.


🦅 National Park flights are controlled independently and you will need to find the local authority's approval for all kind of flights in these areas - More info.


💡 Smart! Pack some spare drone batteries, you never know how close is the next power plug overseas. Also make sure you have a travel adaptor for the US.

Recreational Drone use in the United States of America


✅You do not need a permission or a license for drone recreational use in the US (unless you fly within 8.1 km close to an airport). However, you will need to register your drone if it weights more than 250 g before flying it. This said, you must follow some rules when up there including:

  • mark your drone with your identification obtained after registering your drone (on the outside of the drone).

  • fly your drone at a maximum altitude of 121 m above the ground.

  • fly your drone at least 8.1 km away from airports (any airport, seaplane base or area where aircraft or helicopter take off & land) & give way to all other type of aircraft.

  • only fly your drone during permitting weather, within your sight at all times.

  • fly away from areas where its use could interfere with police or first responders.

  • avoiding sensitive areas including government or military facilities.

  • fly your drone away from National Parks without authorisation.


How to register my drone for recreational use in The USA?


If your drone weights between 250 g and 25 kg, you have to register under the sUAS Part 107 by clicking here (most open use for your drone); It will cost you US$5 and a few minutes of your time. By the end of the process, you will receive an identification number that will need to be clearly visible on your UAV before taking off.


✅ A second option actually exists as you can also register under the Model Aircraft Section 336 by clicking here; It will cost you US$5 and a few minutes of your time. By the end of the process, you will receive an identification number that will need to be clearly visible on your UAV before taking off. Note that the rules of flying are a little different; you can only fly with an aero-modeling club following these instructions only.


To register online, you'll need:

  • Email address

  • Credit or debit card

  • Physical address & mailing address.

  • Make and model of your unmanned aircraft.


If your drone weights more than 25 kg, you will need to complete a paper form available here. By the end of the process, you will receive an identification number that will need to be clearly visible on your UAV before taking off.


✅ The registration in all cases is valid for 3 years.


NEW! Travel Guides from our experiences around the world!


How to apply for a permit to fly within 8.1 km of an airport?


Prior needing permission, you could simply contact the air control traffic tower to inform them of your intentions. But recently the FAA asked them to not give permission and you now have to ask them directly. The FAA created an interactive map to help know when this permission is required.


For the moment, the FAA will only authorize requests from "fixed spots" which are represented in Blue on their map. Any request outside these dots for recreational use within a restricted airport space will be denied until further notice.

Commercial Drone use in the United States of America

✅ You will need a Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the FAA for any drone commercial use in the US. Moreover, you will need to register your drone following the sUAS Part 107 process. When flying a drone for commercial use in The United States of America, you must fly;

  • at a maximum altitude of 121 m above the ground.

  • at least 8.1 km away from airports (any airport, seaplane base or area where aircraft or helicopter take off & land) & give way to all other type of aircraft.

  • only during permitting weather, within your sight at all times.

  • away from areas where its use could interfere with police or first responders.

  • avoiding sensitive areas including government or military facilities.

  • away from national parks without authorisation.

  • within the class 'G' at all times unless you obtain a specific authorisation


💡 Smart! Heading to one of the coasts? Water glare is a killer when flying above the US's coastal waters, make sure you have a lens filter before heading there.

How to register my drone for commercial use in The USA?


If your drone weights less than 25 kg, you have to register under the sUAS Part 107 by clicking here; It will cost you US$5 and a few minutes of your time. By the end of the process, you will receive an identification number that will need to be clearly visible on your UAV before taking off.


To register online, you'll need:

  • Email address

  • Credit or debit card

  • Physical address & mailing address.

  • Make and model of your unmanned aircraft.


If your drone weights more than 25 kg, you will need to complete a paper form available here. By the end of the process, you will receive an identification number that will need to be clearly visible on your UAV before taking off.


✅ The registration is valid for 3 years.


How to obtain my drone pilot's license for commercial use in The USA?


To obtain it, you first must fit a few eligibility criteria such as;

  • being able to read, speak, write, and understand English (exceptions made for a medical reason, such as hearing impairment).

  • be in a physical & mental condition to safely operate.

  • be at least 16 years old.

  • pass an Aeronautical Knowledge Test—also known as the Part 107 test—at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.

  • undergo Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) security screening.

If you tick all these boxes, then you can:

  1. Book a date with an accredited knowledge center & pass the test - see here full list (don't forget your ID)

  2. Complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate via this link.

  3. A confirmation of your details and temporary license will be sent to your email.

✅ The license is valid for 2 years (you can pass a knowledge test to renew every 2 years).


NEW! Drone Reviews!


What do I risk for flying a drone illegally in the United States?


The amount & scope of the fine will depend on the nature & severity of your infraction. The judges will also evaluate if you intentionally committed the infraction and/or if you had any commercial purposes to do such.


Once you got everything in order, you can start flying above the United States of America's awesome landscapes & create videos like this one:


🎬 INSPIRING! Follow our aerial videos around the world on Youtube!


🌍 TRAVELLING FURTHER? Check out our Drone Rules World Map; country by country!

✅Please leave a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your drone in the United States of America! Have fun & safe flight! #us #usa #america #unitedstates #unitedstatesofamerica #regulation #laws #legislation


💡 You're a local, have a question or want to share a travel experience? Head to our USA Drone Discussion Group


Disclaimer: Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information researched, we take no responsibility for any loss, harm or damage caused as a direct or indirect consequence of relying on this information. It is your responsibility to seek advice from qualified local & relevant authorities for needed information about local drone rules and regulations.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links meaning we will get a commission if you decide to purchase via them. This has no costs for you but helps Dronemade stay free for all. If you need to buy anything on Amazon or DJI stores, think of us.


Sources

FAA Website

FAA Maps


Other resources

Register a small drone (less than 25 kg) for recreational use (Part 107)

Register a big drone (more than 25 kg) for recreational use (AC8050-1)

App.airmap.io (useful where can I fly map)

knowbeforeyoufly.org (useful where can I fly map)

626 views