Can You Fly A Drone in Arlington, Virginia? (Answered)


In this blog post, we’ll explore the question, “Is drone flying allowed in Arlington, Virginia?”.

So, let’s jump in and discover everything you need to know — regulations, penalties (if any) and safety tips to keep in mind!

Can You Fly A Drone in Arlington, Virginia

Can You Fly a Drone in Arlington, Virginia?

Yes, you can fly a drone in Arlington, Virginia. However, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the local regulations and guidelines to ensure a safe and legal flying experience. Here drone flights are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has specific rules and restrictions in place to protect public safety and privacy. By adhering to these regulations and respecting the local authorities’ guidelines, drone enthusiasts can enjoy capturing stunning aerial footage while exploring Arlington, Virginia’s beautiful landscapes.

Overview of Drone Regulations

Let’s take a look at some of the key points for drone regulations:

Maximum Altitude Limits

  • Drones must not be flown above an altitude of 400 feet from the ground level to avoid interfering with manned aircraft operations.
  • For operations in the vicinity of airports, drones must not fly higher than 400 feet or within a 5-mile radius of any airport without proper clearance from the airport or control tower.

Distance Restrictions

  • Drones must remain within the visual line of sight of the operator at all times. This implies that the drone should never fly farther away so that it becomes invisible to the naked eye.
  • Drones should not fly closer than a 5-mile radius to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, without proper clearance and coordination.

Prohibited Activities and Actions

  • Flying drones within a five-mile radius of an airport, specifically the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, without prior notification and approval from the airport and air traffic control authorities, is strictly prohibited.
  • Operating a drone above 400 feet, using it to conduct surveillance or to capture any kind of visual images, sounds, or other physical impressions of privately owned or leased properties without explicit consent from the owner or occupier is strictly forbidden.

Privacy and Data Protection Considerations

  • All drone operators must adhere to the Virginia Code § 19.2-60.1, which prohibits the use of drones for secret surveillance. Operators must ensure they do not infringe on the privacy rights of individuals by capturing unauthorized photos or videos without prior written consent.
  • The data collected by drones, including photos, videos, and other types of data, should not be shared, distributed, or published without the express permission of the individuals identified or the owners of the property featured. Any breach could be seen as a violation of the Virginia Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Act and may lead to legal consequences.

Commercial Operations

  • Commercial drone operators must obtain a Part 107 certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which includes passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
  • All drones must not exceed a maximum weight of 55 lbs (25 kg), and must adhere to operational limits such as remaining within the visual line-of-sight, not exceeding an altitude of 400 feet, and only operating during daylight hours or twilight (30 minutes before sunrise or after sunset) with appropriate anti-collision lighting.

Penalties for Violating Drone Regulations

Violating drone regulations can lead to hefty penalties in Arlington, Virginia. Depending on the nature and severity of the violation, penalties can range from substantial fines to potential jail time. For instance, flying a drone over prohibited areas, not following altitude restrictions, or failing to register a drone could result in fines up to $27,500 for civil penalties and $250,000 for criminal penalties. In some cases, the federal government may also impose up to three years of imprisonment for severe violations.

While fines are the most common penalty, other consequences can have lasting impacts. Serious infractions can lead to the suspension or revocation of a drone operator’s license, limiting future opportunities to legally operate drones. Additionally, drone operators could potentially face civil liability if their actions result in property damage or personal injury. It’s crucial to understand and follow all drone regulations to avoid these penalties and potential legal complications.

Tips for Safe and Responsible Drone Flying in Arlington, Virginia

To ensure a positive drone flying experience and comply with the regulations, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  1. Follow FAA Guidelines: Familiarize yourself with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and follow them strictly to ensure safe and legal operation of your drone.
  2. Respect Airspace Restrictions: Be aware of and respect no-fly zones in Arlington, Virginia, including around airports, military bases, and certain government facilities.
  3. Stay Privacy-Conscious: Avoid flying over private properties without permission to respect individual privacy rights and avoid potential legal issues.
  4. Maintain Drone Visibility: Always keep your drone within your line of sight to prevent accidents, as per FAA guidelines.
  5. Use Drone Responsibly: Avoid flying in bad weather or high winds, and avoid flying over large crowds or highly populated areas to minimize risks.


Can I Fly My Drone at Night in Arlington, Virginia?

Yes, you can fly your drone at night in Arlington, Virginia. However, ensure to follow FAA guidelines, which state that drones must be equipped with anti-collision lights visible for up to 3 miles for safe night flight.

Can You Bring a Drone to Arlington, Virginia?

Yes, you can bring a drone to Arlington, Virginia. However, ensure you adhere to the FAA guidelines and local regulations for drone usage to maintain safety and respect privacy rights.

Do I Need a License or Permit to Fly a Drone in Arlington, Virginia?

Yes, you can fly a drone in Arlington, Virginia, but you may need a license or permit. If the drone weighs over 0.55 pounds, you must register it with the FAA. For commercial use, you’ll need a Part 107 remote pilot certificate. Always follow local regulations and FAA guidelines.


Before you launch your drone into the Arlington, Virginia skies, it’s crucial to understand the area’s drone laws and regulations.

This applies not only to Arlington, Virginia but also to other destinations around the world. For example, if you’re heading to Santorini, it’s important to know the specific rules and guidelines for drone flying there. Similarly, if you have dreams of capturing breathtaking footage of Chicago or exploring drone opportunities around Cliffs Of Moher, it’s essential to be aware of the local drone regulations in those locations as well.

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

So, whether you’re planning a leisurely flight or engaging in commercial drone operations, make sure to fly responsibly, and stay informed.

Resources and Further Information:

Photo of author
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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