Are you planning on flying a drone in a park?
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 in a park?
In short, the answer is YES! You can fly drones in a park, 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 in a Park
Even though it’s allowed to fly drones in a park, here are some FAA regulations that you need to keep in mind:
- According to Policy Memorandum 14-05, the launching, landing, or operation of unmanned aircraft is generally prohibited on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service (NPS), with few exceptions.
- While flying a drone in a public park is legal, drone operators must respect other people’s privacy and property and avoid flying over them without permission. Flying too close (within 30 feet) to people or buildings is not allowed.
- Drone users should check with local authorities for any specific restrictions or posted orders in State Parks, State Beaches, State Historic Parks, State Recreational Areas, and State Vehicular Recreation Areas before flying their drones.
- When flying a drone in a park, operators should follow these rules: do not fly higher than 400 feet, avoid flying within five miles of an airport, and do not fly at night.
Flying a drone in a park 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.
- Privacy invasion: Drones equipped with cameras can capture images and videos of individuals, potentially infringing on their privacy and personal spaces.
- Collision risks: Drones flying in parks can pose a risk of colliding with people, animals, or objects, causing potential harm or damage.
- Interference with wildlife: Drones can disturb wildlife and their habitats, affecting their natural behavior and causing stress.
- Loss of control: Inexperienced drone operators may lose control of their drones, leading to potential accidents or damage to property.
- Illegal activities: Drones can be used for illegal purposes, such as surveillance or trespassing, which can create security risks for the public and park authorities.
Permissions and Permits
Permissions and permits required for flying drones in a park vary based on the intended use.
For commercial drones, operators must obtain special authorization from the FAA, such as a Section 333 Exemption or Special Airworthiness Certificate. Additionally, they must submit a copy of their FAA authorization to the relevant State Park District and may need a Special Event permit, Right of Entry permit, or other approval. Commercial photography or filming also requires a permit from the California Film Commission.
For research drones, operators must receive approval from the FAA and provide a copy of their authorization to the appropriate State Park District. Furthermore, California State Parks require a scientific collection permit (DPR 65) for any research within a State Park.
Public agency drones require a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) from the FAA to operate public aircraft. Government drone operators must submit a copy of their COA to the relevant State Park District before flying within state parks.
- Can I Fly Drone in a No Fly Zone?
- Can I Fly Drone Over a National Wildlife Refuge?
- Can I Fly Drone on Military Bases?
1. Can I Fly Drones in a Park if I am not a Licensed Drone Pilot?
If you are not a licensed drone pilot, you can still fly a drone in a park, but you must adhere to the rules and regulations set by the local authorities and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These regulations typically include flying at a low altitude (below 400 feet), maintaining visual line of sight with the drone, avoiding populated areas and wildlife, and not flying in restricted airspace. It is important to check with the specific park’s rules and obtain any required permissions before flying a drone to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
2. Who can Authorize the Use of Drones in a Park?
The authorization for the use of drones in a park is typically granted by the local park management or governing body, such as the city parks department or a regional park authority. Additionally, drone pilots must ensure compliance with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and any local ordinances that may apply. It is essential to check with the specific park and the FAA for their rules and requirements before attempting to fly a drone in a park.
3. Can the Police Fly Drones in a Park?
Yes, the police can fly a drone in a park if it is for official law enforcement purposes, such as monitoring public events, searching for missing persons, or conducting investigations. They are subject to specific regulations and guidelines set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and local laws, which may require obtaining necessary permits and following safety protocols. Additionally, the police must adhere to privacy laws and respect citizens’ rights while using drones.
In conclusion, before flying a drone in a park, 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.