Can I Fly Drone at 50000 Feet? A Handy Guide


Are you planning on flying a drone at 50000 feet?

Before you take off, it’s important to know whether or not it’s legal to do so. The rules and regulations regarding drone flight can vary depending on the location, so it’s important to do your research beforehand.

In this article, I’ll answer the question: can you fly a drone at 50000 feet?

In short, the answer is NO! You cannot fly drones at 50000 feet due to safety and security concerns.

The laws around drone flight can be complex. So, I’ll also let you know about FAA regulations, security concerns, permissions needed, and penalties (if any) so that you’re fully informed.

Can I Fly Drone at 50000 Feet

FAA Regulations on Flying Drones at 50000 Feet

Due to the following FAA regulations, you are not allowed to fly drones at 50000 feet:

  1. FAA regulations state that drones cannot be flown higher than 400 feet above ground level (AGL) without specific authorization, making flying at 50,000 feet a violation of these regulations.
  2. For recreational drone pilots, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 mandates flying at or below 400 feet when in uncontrolled airspace (Class G).
  3. Commercial drone pilots operating under Part 107 are also limited to 400 feet AGL, or within a 400-foot radius of a structure that extends above 400 feet, according to Section 107.51.
  4. Part 107 rules allow for flying above 400 feet if the drone is within a 400-foot radius of a structure and does not fly higher than 400 feet above the structure’s immediate uppermost limit. However, the definition of a ‘structure’ and the reference point for the 400-foot limit are not explicitly provided in the Part 107 rules.


Security Concerns

Flying a drone at 50000 feet comes with its own set of unique security concerns, which are worth considering before launching your drone. Here are some potential security concerns to keep in mind.

Security Concerns for Flying Drones at 50000 Feet

  1. Collision risk: At 50,000 feet, drones may collide with commercial aircraft, endangering passengers and crew.
  2. Loss of control: The higher altitude can lead to loss of communication and control, causing potential crashes and damage.
  3. Weather hazards: Severe weather conditions at 50,000 feet can damage the drone or make it difficult to control.
  4. Restricted airspace: Drones flying at such high altitudes may violate restricted airspace regulations, posing a security risk.
  5. Privacy invasion: Drones flying at high altitudes may unintentionally capture sensitive information or invade personal privacy.

Permissions and Permits

In compliance with current FAA regulations, flying a drone at 50,000 feet is strictly prohibited.

Both recreational and commercial drone pilots must adhere to the altitude limit of 400 feet above ground level (AGL) in uncontrolled airspace, and obtain appropriate authorization within controlled airspace.

As there are no permits or permissions that grant drone pilots the ability to fly at 50,000 feet, attempting to do so would result in a violation of FAA regulations.

Penalties for Flying a Drone without Authorization

Flying a drone at 50,000 feet is not permitted under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. The maximum altitude allowed for recreational and commercial drone flights is 400 feet above ground level. Penalties for unauthorized drone flights at such high altitudes can be severe, including substantial fines and possible imprisonment. Violators may face civil penalties of up to $27,500 per violation, criminal fines of up to $250,000, and imprisonment for up to three years, depending on the nature and severity of the offense. Additionally, unauthorized drone operations can lead to the suspension or revocation of the drone operator’s certificate. It is essential to comply with FAA regulations and airspace restrictions to ensure the safety and security of all airspace users.

Also check:


1. Can I Fly Drones at 50000 Feet if I am not a Licensed Drone Pilot?

No, you cannot fly a drone at 50,000 feet, whether you are a licensed drone pilot or not. Flying at such altitudes not only exceeds the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations for drones, which limit recreational and commercial drone flights to a maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level, but also poses significant safety risks to manned aircraft and airspace operations. Additionally, most consumer drones are not designed to operate at such high altitudes and may experience technical difficulties or malfunction.

2. Who can Authorize the Use of Drones at 50000 Feet?

The authorization to fly drones at 50,000 feet falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States, or the respective national regulatory body governing aviation in other countries. These authorities establish regulations and guidelines for drone pilots, including altitude limitations. To obtain permission to fly at such high altitudes, drone operators must apply for a waiver or special permission from the respective aviation authority, demonstrating their need for such flights and ensuring their drone’s capabilities and safety measures meet strict requirements.

3. Can the Police Fly Drones at 50000 Feet?

No, the police cannot fly a drone at 50,000 feet. Drone use by law enforcement agencies must adhere to the regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). According to the FAA guidelines, drones, also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), are limited to a maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level. Flying at 50,000 feet would violate these regulations and would not be permissible for any drone operator, including the police.


In conclusion, before flying a drone at 50000 feet, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the appropriate resources and tools. Download the B4UFLY mobile app to easily find safe and legal flying locations.

Drone laws are subject to change, and information in this blog may become outdated; always consult official sources for the latest regulations.

And if you have a related query, kindly feel free to let me know in the comments.

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Peter Karanja is a licensed drone pilot from Kenya, freelance writer and drone enthusiast. He has been using drones for land survey, GIS, and photography for the past three years. Being a drone user, he loves writing about drone applications, safety tips for using drones, and the best ways to get the most out of a drone.

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