Can I Fly Drone Over Public Property? A Handy Guide


Are you planning on flying a drone over public property?

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 over public property?

In short, the answer is YES! You can fly drones over public property, 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.

Can I Fly Drone Over Public Property

FAA Regulations on Flying Drones Over Public Property

Even though it’s allowed to fly drones over public property, here are some FAA regulations that you need to keep in mind:

  1. Drones are prohibited from flying over designated national security sensitive facilities, including military bases, national landmarks, and critical infrastructure sites. Operations must be within 400 feet above ground level.
  2. Drone operators must avoid flying near airports, as manned aircraft have difficulty seeing and avoiding drones. For flights near airports in controlled airspace, drone operators must receive an airspace authorization prior to operation, which may come with altitude limitations and other operational provisions.
  3. Automated authorizations through the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system are available for Part 107 remote pilots and recreational flyers for flights below posted UAS Facility Map grid altitudes. For areas not serviced by LAANC or for flights above UAS Facility Map grid values, operators should use the FAADroneZone to request authorization.
  4. Recreational flyers must follow specific rules when flying in public parks, such as checking with local authorities for any restrictions, maintaining a distance of at least 30 feet from people and buildings, and flying only during daylight hours and below 400 feet.


Security Concerns

Flying a drone over public property 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 Over Public Property

  1. Privacy Invasion: Drones equipped with cameras can capture images and videos of people without their consent, leading to potential privacy violations.
  2. Collisions: Inexperienced operators or technical malfunctions can cause drones to collide with buildings, vehicles, or even people, resulting in damage or injuries.
  3. Interference: Drones can disrupt emergency services like firefighting or law enforcement, hindering their ability to perform crucial tasks.
  4. Terrorism Threat: Drones can be used to deliver harmful substances or carry out attacks, posing a significant risk to public safety.
  5. Signal Jamming: Drones operating near sensitive areas may interfere with communication signals, affecting the performance of other devices or systems nearby.

Permissions and Permits

To fly a drone over public property, you need to adhere to specific federal, state, and local regulations.

At the federal level, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires drone operators to register their drones, pass an aeronautical knowledge test, and obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate. Additionally, you must follow operational guidelines such as altitude limits, maintaining the line of sight, and avoiding interfering with manned aircraft. State and local regulations may vary, so it’s crucial to research and obtain necessary permits where applicable. Some public spaces may have designated areas for drone use or require additional authorization from the property’s governing body.

Always check for any restrictions before operating a drone over public property to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

Also check:


1. Can I Fly Drones Over Public Property if I am not a Licensed Drone Pilot?

If you are not a licensed drone pilot, flying a drone over public property is generally allowed as long as you comply with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations for recreational drone use. You must register your drone with the FAA, fly only for recreational purposes, keep the drone within your visual line of sight, and follow safety guidelines, such as staying below 400 feet and avoiding flying near other aircraft or over groups of people. However, certain public spaces, such as national parks and sensitive government facilities, have restricted airspace, so it is crucial to research the specific rules for the area where you plan to fly your drone.

2. Who can Authorize the Use of Drones Over Public Property?

The authorization for the use of drones over public property typically falls under the jurisdiction of local or federal government agencies, depending on the specific location and its regulations. In the United States, for example, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for managing drone operations in the national airspace, and drone pilots must adhere to their guidelines and requirements. Additionally, certain public properties such as national parks or local government-owned areas may have their own rules and restrictions, necessitating permission from respective authorities before flying a drone.

3. Can the Police Fly Drones Over Public Property?

Yes, the police can fly drones over public property for various purposes such as surveillance, traffic monitoring, crowd control, and emergency response. However, their drone use is typically subject to specific regulations, guidelines, and privacy laws, which vary depending on the jurisdiction and the purpose of the drone flight. It is essential for law enforcement agencies to follow these regulations and obtain necessary permissions to ensure responsible and lawful drone use.


In conclusion, before flying a drone over public property, 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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