Are you planning on flying a drone at night?
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 night?
In short, the answer is YES! You can fly drones at night, but there are some important considerations and regulations to keep in mind.
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.
FAA Regulations on Flying Drones at Night
Even though it’s allowed to fly drones at night, here are some FAA regulations that you need to keep in mind:
- The Operations Over People rule, effective April 21, 2021, allows drone pilots operating under Part 107 to fly at night, over people, and moving vehicles without a waiver, provided they meet the rule’s requirements.
- Airspace authorizations are still necessary for night operations in controlled airspace under 400 feet.
- Drone pilots licensed under Part 107 may operate at night if they complete an online recurrent training or an updated initial knowledge test.
- Drones must be equipped with anti-collision lighting visible for at least three (3) statute miles, flashing at a sufficient rate to avoid collisions.
Flying a drone at night 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.
- Reduced Visibility: Flying a drone at night can lead to poor visibility, making it difficult to see obstacles and increasing the risk of collisions.
- Privacy Invasion: Drones equipped with cameras may inadvertently capture private moments or invade personal spaces, especially at night when people expect privacy.
- Disorientation: Piloting a drone at night can cause disorientation, making it challenging to maintain control and increasing the potential for accidents.
- Malfunctioning Lights: If a drone’s navigation lights malfunction or are not visible, it becomes nearly impossible to locate and retrieve the drone.
- Wildlife Disturbance: Nighttime drone flights can disrupt local wildlife, causing unnecessary stress and potentially leading to negative ecological impacts.
Permissions and Permits
- Licensing and registration: Ensure you have the necessary licenses or registrations required for drone operation.
- Night flying permissions: Some jurisdictions may require specific permissions or waivers for flying drones at night.
- Lighting requirements: Equip your drone with appropriate lighting for enhanced visibility, such as anti-collision lights and position lights.
- Visual line of sight: Maintain a clear line of sight with your drone during nighttime operations.
- Training and knowledge: Nighttime drone operations may require additional training and knowledge due to increased risks and challenges.
- Can I Fly Drone in a Public Park?
- Can I Fly Drone in a National Forest?
- Can I Fly Drone in Central Park?
1. Can I Fly Drones at Night if I am not a Licensed Drone Pilot?
No, if you are not a licensed drone pilot, you cannot fly a drone at night. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, unlicensed recreational drone pilots must adhere to the guidelines outlined in the FAA’s recreational flyer rules, which includes flying only during daylight hours or civil twilight (30 minutes before official sunrise or after official sunset). To fly at night, you must obtain a Part 107 license and follow the necessary safety requirements, such as using anti-collision lighting on your drone.
2. Who can Authorize the Use of Drones at Night?
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the governing body responsible for authorizing the use of drones at night in the United States. Drone operators must obtain a Part 107 waiver, specifically requesting a waiver for night operations (107.29 – Daylight Operation), through the FAA’s online portal. This waiver allows remote pilots to fly drones legally during nighttime hours, providing they adhere to specified operational and safety guidelines outlined by the FAA.
3. Can the Police Fly Drones at Night?
Yes, the police can fly drones at night, as they often utilize them for surveillance, search and rescue, and monitoring criminal activities during nighttime hours. However, they must adhere to specific regulations and guidelines, such as acquiring a Part 107 waiver from the FAA to operate beyond standard daylight hours, using appropriate lighting to make the drone visible, and ensuring the drone operator is well-trained for nighttime flight.
In conclusion, before flying a drone at night, 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.