Drone Laws in Iowa Explained (2023 Regulations)


The realm of drone laws in Iowa is a multifaceted landscape that demands the attention of both commercial operators and hobbyist flyers. With drones’ increasing popularity and diverse applications, understanding the intricate regulations governing their use in Iowa is crucial. Whether utilizing drones for commercial ventures or pursuing recreational enjoyment, staying informed about the relevant laws is essential to ensure compliance, safety, and responsible operation.

Can You Fly a Drone in Iowa?

Yes, you can fly a drone in Iowa, but it must be done in accordance with the established laws and regulations. Knowing and adhering to these rules ensures a safe and enjoyable drone-flying experience while respecting the rights and privacy of others.

Federal Drone Laws in Iowa

Federal Drone Laws in Iowa

Drone pilots in Iowa must comply with the federal regulations established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Familiarizing yourself with these federal laws is crucial to operate your drone within the legal framework.

Commercial Drone Use in Iowa

If you plan to use a drone for commercial purposes in Iowa, you must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA. This demonstrates that you have the necessary safety knowledge for drone flying. Furthermore, you must register your drone with the FAA

Recreational Drone Flying in Iowa

For recreational drone flying in Iowa, you must follow specific guidelines including:

Government Employee Drone Operation

Government employees in Iowa, including those in the fire department or police force, must adhere to the FAA’s Part 107 rule or obtain a federal Certificate of Authorization (COA) when operating drones for official duties.

Note: The information provided in this article is accurate as of its last update, but drone regulations in Iowa are subject to change over time. Consult legal counsel and refer to official government sources for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding drone laws in Iowa.

State Drone Laws in Iowa

State Drone Laws in Iowa

In addition to federal regulations, Iowa has its own specific law regarding drone operations. The Iowa Department of Transportation and Iowa General Assembly outlines one state-wide law for drone use: 

According to the law HB 2289 // 2014, state agencies may not use UAS to enforce traffic laws. Any drone use for law enforcement requires a warrant. 

For detailed information on the state drone laws in Iowa, you can refer to the official Iowa Code Chapter 336 section on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Local Drone Laws in Iowa

Local Drone Laws in Iowa

Local jurisdictions within Iowa may have additional drone regulations in place. We did not find any specific local drone laws to note, but you should always check with the local government before operating a drone in Iowa. 

Penalties for Violating Drone Laws in Iowa

Iowa Drone Law Penalties

Breaking drone laws in Iowa can result in penalties and legal consequences. The exact penalty type and extent depend on the violation. For example, flying a drone without a license is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $1000 fine and up to six months in jail. Using a UAS to invade privacy or surveillance private property can lead to an aggravated misdemeanor charge and fines up to $5000 and/or jail time up to two years. 

 The best way to avoid penalties is to adhere to all federal, state, and local drone laws in Iowa. 

FAQs About Drone Laws in Iowa

Can I fly a drone over private property in Iowa?

No, you cannot fly a drone over private property in Iowa without prior consent from the land owner. 

Are there any specific no-fly zones in Iowa?

Yes, Iowa has designated no-fly zones. Airports, government facilities, and military property are common no-fly zones. 

Do I need insurance to fly a drone in Iowa?

No, you do not need insurance to fly a drone in Iowa, though it is recommended, especially for commercial drone pilots. 

Where can I fly a drone in Iowa?

There are plenty of great places to fly a drone in Iowa including:

Big Creek Lake 
Dale Maffitt Reservoir
Paragon Prairie Tower

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I’m a huge fan of drones, cars, and anything that moves fast! Having bought, tested, and raced drones over the years, tinkering and experimenting with different parts and types, my fascination with drone technology led me to start this blog. So if you enjoy drone content covering the latest drone reviews, recommendations for the best drones for certain uses, and informative content on programming drones and other fun areas, stick around!