Welcome to an in-depth exploration of the drone laws in West Virginia, where we soar into the regulatory skies governing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
Responsible and lawful flying hinges on understanding and complying with the intricate web of federal, state, and local laws. Whether you’re a hobbyist capturing stunning aerial footage or a professional pilot utilizing drones for diverse applications, familiarity with West Virginia’s specific regulations is essential.
Can You Fly a Drone in West Virginia?
Yes, you can fly a drone in West Virginia for both recreational and commercial use. However, all operators must follow federal, state, and local drone laws.
- Can You Fly a Drone in West Virginia?
- Federal Drone Laws in West Virginia
- State Drone Laws in West Virginia
- Local Drone Laws in West Virginia
- Penalties for Violating Drone Laws in West Virginia
- FAQs About Drone Laws in West Virginia
Federal Drone Laws in West Virginia
Drone pilots in West Virginia must follow federal regulations set by the FAA, including Part 107 rules for agency pilots and recreational drone registration requirements.
Commercial Drone Use
Commercial drone operators fly a drone for business activities. To fly a drone commercially in West Virginia, you must.
Recreational Drone Flying
Hobbyist drone operators fly a drone for fun or pleasure. To fly a drone as a hobbyist in West Virginia, you must:
- Pass The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST)
- Follow CBO safety guidelines for drone operation, including flying under 400 feet
- Do not fly in restricted areas, including near airports or prisons
Government Employee Drone Operation
Note: This content is accurate up to the date it was last updated, and drone regulations in West Virginia can change over time. This is not meant to take the place of legal counsel.
State Drone Laws in West Virginia
The West Virginia Legislature created state drone laws that apply to the entire state, in addition to the federal ones. Outlined by the legislature and West Virginia Department of Transportation, state drone laws include:
- HB 2515 // 2015 bans hunting with a UAS in West Virginia.
- HB 4607 //2018 states that drone operators must get permission to fly in West Virginia State Park.
- The Superintendent grants permission
- The operator must also register with the superintendent
- HB 3005 // 2018 defines prohibited drone use in West Virginia including
- Intentionally capturing images, video, or audio or someone or their private property without permission
- Following, viewing, or contacting another person in a way that violates their expectation of privacy
- Operating a drone in a way that disregard’s others’ safety or property.
Local Drone Laws in West Virginia
In addition to state drone laws, some jurisdictions within West Virginia may have local drone laws. Local drone laws apply to specific regions, counties, or cities within a state. We did not uncover any specific local drone laws in West Virginia. Always check with your local municipality before taking a flight.
Penalties for Violating Drone Laws in West Virginia
Violating drone laws in West Virginia may lead to serious consequences. Examples of the penalties include:
- Violating the rules outlined in HB 3005 // 2018 is a misdemeanor.
- It’s punishable by a fine of between $100 and $1000 and/or one year in jail.
- Adding a deadly weapon to a UAS or operating a UAS with a deadly weapon is a felony.
- The penalty is a fine between $1000 and $5000 and/or between one and five years in jail.
- Operating a UAS to intentionally damage or disrupt is a felony
- Punishable by a fine of between $1000 and $5000 and/or between one and five years in jail.
FAQs About Drone Laws in West Virginia
Can you fly a drone over private property in West Virginia?
Yes, you may fly a drone over private property in West Virginia, but only in a way that does not violate an expectation for privacy. You should not capture images, videos, and/or audio of a person without their permission.
Can you fly a drone in a West Virginia state park?
No, you cannot fly a drone in a West Virginia state park without prior permission from the superintendent. You must then also register with the superintendent.
Can you fly a drone in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia?
No, you cannot operate, land, or launch a drone in Harpers Ferry National Historic Park without proper approval from the Superintendent.
Where can I fly a drone in West Virginia?
There are plenty of scenic places to fly a drone in West Virginia, a few ideas include:
Caperton Trail Park
Mountaineer Heritage Park