Drone Regulations: Everything you need to know (2022)

By Gavin Spoors

published

We tell you everything you need to know about drone regulations and flying legally.

Drone Regulations: Everything you need to know (1)
(Video) UK Drone Regulations (2022) in Under 8 Minutes! Geeksvana UK Drone Rules Series

Jump to:

  • Do you need a qualification to fly a drone?
  • Do you need to register your drone?
  • What rules do I need to follow when flying a drone?
  • Do drone regulations differ across different states?
  • Anything else worth knowing?

It’s an exciting moment when you unbox a shiny new drone, and of course the first thing you want to do is get it up in the air. But before you start flying and capturing stunning aerial footage, you need to make sure you’re abiding by the rules and regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Below are answers to the most common questions asked when it comes to flying a drone safely and legally.

Do you need a qualification to fly a drone?

If you’re simply using your drone for recreational use, then no. For those looking to make some money with stunning aerial footage, you’ll need to fly under Part 107 (opens in new tab) guidelines - which involves taking a test to become a certified drone pilot.

For those just wanting to have fun flying around and capturing photos and videos to show your friends, you can do so without taking any rigorous tests but you’ll still need to take a few steps before taking to the skies.

Do you need to register your drone?

Everyone needs to register their drone, whether you’re flying recreationally or for commercial use. The only exception is if your drone weighs less than 250 grams. Most drones on the market weigh more than 250 grams but there are some lighter aircraft out there, such as the Sanrock U52 (opens in new tab) and 4DRC F10 (opens in new tab) drones.

(Video) What are the rules to fly your drone in 2022?

To register your drone, you need to come prepared with the following details: personal information (home address, email address, phone number), the make and model of your drone, and a credit or debit card. Registration costs $5 but that will cover you for the next three years. The only requirements for registering is that you need to be thirteen years or older and a U.S citizen or legal resident.

Drone Regulations: Everything you need to know (2)

Once your drone is registered, you’ll receive a FAA registration certificate. You’ll need this certificate on hand with you every time you fly, and you’re required to show it to any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer if asked. You’ll also receive a registration number which needs to be clearly marked on the exterior of your drone. Engraving and permanent marker is acceptable but the best thing to do is to use printable stickers or a label maker.You can register your drone over at DroneZone (opens in new tab).

What rules do I need to follow when flying a drone?

To help familiarise yourself with the rules, it’s best to take the TRUST test (opens in new tab). One of the rules is to complete this free test and have the certificate of completion on hand when flying, but the test itself serves as a great way to learn the general rules for flying drones. A lot of it is common sense: don’t fly under the influence, keep your drone in sight at all times, don’t fly over crowds and keep out of the way of manned aircraft i.e. airplanes. Thankfully the test will only take half an hour of your time and it’s impossible to fail as you can relearn and take the test as many times as you need to.

You do, however, need to understand the differences between controlled and uncontrolled airspace and the rules that apply to flying in each area. Recreational flyers cannot fly in controlled airspace, which are usually areas near military bases, stadiums, airports and well-populated areas. You can fly freely in uncontrolled airspace but of course you still need to follow the general guidelines. To help identify what is deemed as controlled or uncontrolled airspace, you can use the B4UFLY (opens in new tab) app. It’s FAA approved and features interactive maps that can tell you whether the area you’re in is safe to fly your drone. Other restricted areas within the country to take note of are National Parks and Washington D.C.

Drone Regulations: Everything you need to know (3)

When it comes to flying at night, there aren’t any official rules for recreational flyers. Commercial drone pilots are allowed to fly at night but only after they have taken an additional test and have installed anti-collision lights onto their drone. It’s recommended that recreational flyers install lights on their drones too when flying at night, like this Strobe Anti-Collision Drone Light (opens in new tab) for example. If anything it’s to benefit you as much as other aircraft in the night sky as you’ll be able to better keep an eye on your drone when it’s off in the distance.

Other rules to take note of are that you can’t fly a drone that weighs more than 55lbs (that includes any packages or additional items attached to the drone), you must fly at or under 400ft even in uncontrolled airspace, and pilots operating a drone through a First Person View (using VR headsets) must have a visual observer beside them to keep the drone itself in their line of sight.

(Video) Drone Regs: EXPLAINED. New UK 2021 Drone Regulations changes simplified.

Do drone regulations differ across different states?

The general rules explained previously apply to flying your drone no matter what state you’re in. Drones are quite new in the grand scheme of things, so different states are still enacting new laws and legislations as time goes on. None of these should affect you, unless you plan on delivering medical majurana in New Jersey or are wanting to equip your drone with deadly payloads in Kentucky. You can find up to date state laws and bills for drones here (opens in new tab).

Anything else worth knowing?

The FAA (opens in new tab) has just introduced a new rule coming into effect from September 23rd 2023. All drones will be required from that date to have Remote ID, which will notify authorities and other parties of your drone’s identification and location details whilst in flight. The 2023 deadline is to give manufacturers, such as DJI, time to implement this new feature into their drones. The FAA is proposing a plan to make Remote ID broadcast modules available, so you can simply attach it to your current drone without having to buy a new one that has Remote ID natively built-in.

If you stick to the rules and guidelines, you’ll be sure to have a lot of fun flying your drone without causing any trouble. Use common sense and don’t go flying near airports or over your neighbour’s garden. Think about the time of day when flying too: go out during sunrise or sunset when there are less people about and you’re able to capture footage of gloriously golden environments. It’ll make things safer for you and your drone, and you’ll have some incredible images to show off to your friends too.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Gavin is a Freelance Writer and Gaming Editor for Filmhounds Magazine. With a particular interest in film, TV and gaming, his work can be found within outlets such as Flip Screen, New Game+ and JumpCut PLAY. On top of that, Gavin is an aspiring screenwriter and is currently taking part in a Games Writing Mentorship based in East Anglia. If he’s not writing about queer people in horror stories, he’ll be writing about sad people facing existential dilemmas in space.

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FAQs

What are the regulations regarding drones? ›

Always keep your drone in sight – you must stay below 400ft. Don't fly your drone over a congested area. Never fly within 50 metres of a person, vehicle or building not under your control. Ensure any images you obtain using the drone do not break privacy laws.

Can my Neighbour fly a drone over my garden? ›

If you fly your drone low over someone's land without their permission, you could be liable in trespass or nuisance, even if you do not personally go onto the land (although this is generally a civil rather than a criminal matter).

What drones can I fly without a license? ›

Any type of drone you intend to use for fun can be flown without a license! But, this doesn't mean that you are exempt from following the FAA's rules. All the rules stated in Part 107 are there to ensure the safety of all aircraft that can be found in the air space.

Can you fly a drone under 250 grams anywhere UK? ›

You can fly small drones and model aircraft that are lighter than 250g, or C0 or C1 class, in residential, recreational, commercial and industrial areas. Remember, you must always fly safely.

Is it illegal to fly drones over houses? ›

Flying drones in London is perfectly legal.

It is important to remember that you must have a drone license to fly in London. You can apply for this license through the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Can you fly a drone under 250 grams anywhere? ›

All drones must be registered, except those that weigh 0.55 pounds or less (less than 250 grams) and are flown exclusively under the Exception for Recreational Flyers. Drones registered under part 107 may be flown for recreational purposes as well as under part 107.

Can a laser pointer take down a drone? ›

A laser pointer can bring a drone down, especially the high-powered ones. They heat the drone, damage its wiring system, and interfere with the pilot's field of view. However, using a laser pointer to interfere with a drone is illegal, and you can be imprisoned or pay a hefty penalty for the crime.

Can you jam a drone signal? ›

If you need a method that's even more subtle than physical interception, then there are ways to jam a drone signal. The Anti-UAV Defense System (AUDS) is one such solution. It scans the skies for drones and jams their control signals using its own high-powered radio signal.

What can I do if my neighbor has a drone? ›

Contact the Police.

Commercial drone pilots will normally have informed authorities of their flights especially in sensitive areas such as near airports or other protected public buildings, so there is a good chance that the police will already have the details and be able to reassure you.

Is it worth getting a drone license? ›

Aside from being required, it gets you up to speed on all the safety requirements of being a drone pilot, and offers you a few advantages in terms of where and how you are able to fly. Having a license allows you to legally profit from flying a drone.

How high can a drone fly? ›

The maximum altitude that a drone can fly is 10 kilometres (33,000 feet), as evidenced by both military drones and youtube videos of adventurers. Drones with rotating rotors get a physical limit of roughly 10 kilometres (33.000ft).

Does DJI mini 2 require flyer ID? ›

You should also get a Flyer ID from the CAA which is free to get. Here are the responsibilities (copied from the Drone Code) for you as the remote Pilot of a Mavic Mini, Mini 2 and Mini 3 Pro.

Do I need drone insurance UK? ›

Do I need insurance to fly a drone? If you are a commercial drone operator in the UK, you are legally required to hold public liability insurance. It is highly recommended that hobby pilots also hold 3rd party public liability insurance for recreational drone flying.

Can I fly my drone at the beach UK? ›

Drones are becoming popular, and more people are wondering if they can fly them at the beach. It's perfectly legal to fly your drone at the beach in the UK.

Can I fly my drone around my neighborhood? ›

TLDR – There are no federal laws against flying a drone over private property as the FAA only regulates airspace above 400 feet. However, some areas have passed local or state laws to prohibit drones over private properties. Before navigating a drone over a residence, pilots should check local laws and regulations.

Can a drone look in my window? ›

Drones can see through house windows if they are close enough or have an advanced zoom camera. However, before they get in a proper range, most drones make noticeable noise and are easy to spot.

Is there a drone detector app? ›

Aerial Armor is proud to offer the first drone detection app that is available on both Apple and Android mobile devices.

Are drones an invasion of privacy? ›

Fourth, California AB 856 (2015) expands individuals right to privacy noting that if an individual is using a drone over someone's home and has the intent to knowingly capture video, pictures or sound from the person or persons at the home then that may be considered an invasion of privacy.

What happens if I fly my drone over 400 feet? ›

If you dive deep into its settings, you will see that the maximum altitude is set by default to 120 meters or 400 feet. If you attempt to fly beyond this limit, the drone will simply stop gaining any more altitude and just hover in place.

Is the DJI mini considered a drone? ›

Capture your world with DJI mini drones, which are palm-sized and easy to bring along anywhere. These compact but powerful drones offer ultra-clear image transmission, extended flight time, high-quality photos and videos, and countless intelligent features that make flying effortless and fun.

Can I fly my drone without remote ID? ›

The final rule on remote ID will require most drones operating in US airspace to have remote ID capability. Remote ID will provide information about drones in flight, such as the identity, location, and altitude of the drone and its control station or take-off location.

Can you shoot down a drone over your garden? ›

Using any kind of firearms, particularly in a built-up area, is likely to land you on the wrong side of the law. Destruction of another person's property is also an action likely to lead to prosecution, so even if you believe your privacy rights are being breached it's unreasonable to shoot at a drone.

Do drones show up on radar? ›

Yes, radar can detect all types of drones regardless of whether it uses RF communication, GPS preprogramming or Wifi/Cellular communication. The only limit to radar detection is the size of the drone.

How do I disable a drone on my property? ›

Six ways to disable a drone
  1. Guns. Shooting a drone out of the sky may be effective, but it's also extremely dangerous. ...
  2. Nets. Nets are a much safer alternative to capturing drones than shooting them with guns. ...
  3. Radio waves. ...
  4. Hacking. ...
  5. Eagles. ...
  6. Jet Skis.
16 Mar 2016

How do police detect drones? ›

The major thing that differentiates police drones from other drones is their strobe light. Police strobe lights have blue and red colors. If you are a few meters away from a police drone at night, one side of the drone will have a red light and the other side will have a blue light.

What can a police drone see? ›

Rapid Aerial Surveillance -Drones allow police departments to survey crime scenes and search grids within moments of arriving on scene, and to do so much more comprehensively from the air.

How do I know if a drone is watching me? ›

The best way to tell if a drone is watching you at night is to detect if the red lights of the drone are facing your direction and the green lights away from you. This means that the drone has the camera oriented towards your general direction.

Can a BB gun take down a drone? ›

Even lowly pellet guns—some of which have muzzle velocities on order with that of a . 22 caliber rifle—stand a good chance at doing fatal harm. "If you were to hit a drone with [a BB], that pellet would penetrate and certainly cause some damage," Cornblatt told me.

How do I report drone activity? ›

Who do I report this to? If you believe a drone is flying over 400ft, or flying in violation of FAA restrictions, you can report unsafe operations to the FAA at https://hotline.faa.gov/.

How far away can you fly a drone DJI quiz? ›

DJI Knowledge Quiz | How To PASS in under 3 minutes | DJI Go 4 App

How hard is drone pilot test? ›

The FAA Part 107 drone pilot license test is quite challenging. Attempting to pass the exam without studying will almost certainly provide less than stellar results. That said, it's not rocket science, and 15 to 20 hours of dedicated study time should help you prepare well enough to pass the test on the first try.

How much do drone pilots get paid? ›

“Flying drones part-time can earn you $500 or $600 a week, and by flying full-time, you can make six-figures annually. Flying for big name companies can net you $3,500 a day.”

Do drone pilots make good money? ›

Freelance drone pilot salaries range from $35 to $150 per hour with a median wage of $85 per hour. On the other hand, full-time employed drone pilots make an average of $80-$120 per hour with a median hourly rate of $95.

How far can a drone camera see? ›

A high-quality drone camera can see 1,500-2,000 feet away during the day. At night, drone cameras can pick up an image about 165 feet away before it becomes blurry. The distance a drone camera can see depends on the terrain, nearby obstacles, quality of the drone camera, and air conditions.

Can I fly my drone up a mountain? ›

It is certainly possible to fly a drone in the mountains, although you might have some degree of difficulty if you are in very high mountains, due to lower air density at higher altitudes. You may also see some shorter flight times due to a greater drain on your batteries from altitude as well as cold.

Can a drone fly over Everest? ›

Drones are designed with a maximum ceiling capacity. So, can a drone fly over Everest? No, not really. The most commercially bought drones have an average maximum ceiling height of 4000 m-6000 m, which is still about 4000 m short from the summit of Everest.

Can you fly a 249 gram drone anywhere? ›

No, you still cannot fly a drone under 250g anywhere you want. The only drone rule where a sub-250g drone is exempted is registration. However, you will still need to comply with all of the other rules and regulations regarding drone flying.

Can I fly my DJI Mini 2 anywhere? ›

DJI Mavic Mini & Mini 2: Can You Still Fly in Towns & Cities after 2022?

Do I need a license to fly a drone less than 250g? ›

Drones under 250g can be flown in the A1 sub category (there are also some exceptions for drones up to 500g too). Drones less than 2kg can be flown in A2 sub category, but you must keep at least 50 meters away from people and pass the A2 theory exam (A2 Certificate of Competency or 'A2 CofC').

Is my drone covered on my house insurance? ›

Your home insurance policy may include gadget cover or personal possessions cover, both of which could protect your drone at home or when taking to the skies. However, not all such policies cover drones, so it may be worth investing in a specific drone insurance policy.

What is the law on flying drones UK? ›

You must have two IDs in place before flying most drones or model aircraft outdoors in the UK: anyone who will fly must pass a theory test to get a flyer ID. the person or organisation that owns or is responsible for the drone or model aircraft must register for an operator ID.

How can I make money with a drone? ›

How to Make Money with a Drone: 10 Ways That Will Surprise You
  1. Real estate photos and video. Ruslan Ivantsov/Adobe. ...
  2. Hotel and resort ads. Fokke/Adobe. ...
  3. Wedding photos and video. manifeesto/Adobe. ...
  4. Structural or building inspection. ...
  5. Selling stock photos or videos. ...
  6. Drone deliveries. ...
  7. Filmmaking. ...
  8. Search and rescue training.
25 Aug 2022

Can my Neighbour fly a drone over my garden? ›

If you fly your drone low over someone's land without their permission, you could be liable in trespass or nuisance, even if you do not personally go onto the land (although this is generally a civil rather than a criminal matter).

Can I shoot down a drone over my property UK? ›

Though it could be frustrating to some people if you're flying your drone over their property, legally, in the UK they are not allowed to shoot it down – even if you were breaking the law in terms of the privacy issues and flying the drone too close to the property.

Can you fly a drone under 250 grams anywhere UK? ›

You can fly small drones and model aircraft that are lighter than 250g, or C0 or C1 class, in residential, recreational, commercial and industrial areas. Remember, you must always fly safely.

How much airspace do I own? ›

Airspace ownership is usually considered to extend to between 500-1,000 feet above a property. This allows aircraft to fly over your property at a reasonable height, in accordance with the 1949 Civil Aviation Act. What all this means is that the immediate space above your property is available for you to develop.

Can you fly a drone without a license? ›

Any type of drone you intend to use for fun can be flown without a license! But, this doesn't mean that you are exempt from following the FAA's rules. All the rules stated in Part 107 are there to ensure the safety of all aircraft that can be found in the air space.

Where are no-fly zones? ›

No-fly zones exist in two Disney theme parks, Walt Disney World in Florida, and Disneyland in California. The no-fly zones in the area extend to a height of approximately 3,000 feet with planes being allowed to fly at a higher altitude. The no-fly zone extends for an area of about three miles around the theme parks.

Do I need a drone license UK 2022? ›

To be able to fly your drone (of up to 2kg) within 150m of people and built-up areas then you will need at least an A2 CofC (Certificate of Competency) licence, even if you only fly your drone as a hobby.

What are the rules for drones in UK? ›

You must have two IDs in place before flying most drones or model aircraft outdoors in the UK: anyone who will fly must pass a theory test to get a flyer ID. the person or organisation that owns or is responsible for the drone or model aircraft must register for an operator ID.

Do I need a license to fly a drone less than 250g? ›

Toys, small drones and small model aircraft

You do not need to register if the drone or model aircraft you'll fly is one of the following: a toy below 250g or in C0 class. C0 class with no camera, whether it's a toy or not. below 250g with no camera and no class mark, whether it's a toy or not.

Can I fly my drone higher than 400 feet? ›

The maximum allowable altitude is 400 feet above the ground, and higher if your drone remains within 400 feet of a structure. The maximum speed is 100 mph (87 knots).

Can I shoot down a drone UK? ›

Shooting Down of Drones

Though it could be frustrating to some people if you're flying your drone over their property, legally, in the UK they are not allowed to shoot it down – even if you were breaking the law in terms of the privacy issues and flying the drone too close to the property.

What if my drone is over 250g? ›

If your drone weighs more than 250g (and most consumer drones do), then you'll have to register for an FAA registration number. You can check the registration procedure here from the FAA themselves.

Do I need drone insurance UK? ›

Do I need insurance to fly a drone? If you are a commercial drone operator in the UK, you are legally required to hold public liability insurance. It is highly recommended that hobby pilots also hold 3rd party public liability insurance for recreational drone flying.

Can I fly my drone at the beach UK? ›

Drones are becoming popular, and more people are wondering if they can fly them at the beach. It's perfectly legal to fly your drone at the beach in the UK.

Does DJI mini 2 require flyer ID? ›

You should also get a Flyer ID from the CAA which is free to get. Here are the responsibilities (copied from the Drone Code) for you as the remote Pilot of a Mavic Mini, Mini 2 and Mini 3 Pro.

Can I fly my drone at night UK? ›

The CAA document “CAP722 – Unmanned Aircraft System Operations in UK Airspace – Guidance” states that 'There are no specific prohibitions to VLOS operations during nighttime'. The basic VLOS principles still apply (i.e., you must be able to see the aircraft and the surrounding airspace).

Does DJI mini 2 need license? ›

Not every quadcopter on the market needs to be registered. The DJI Mavic Mini and Mini 2 have a 249g takeoff weight, so they're exempted. You'll still need to obey the rules of the air, and you'll still need a Part 107 certificate to fly the a lightweight drone for commercial purposes.

What is A1 and A3 drone license? ›

The types of flying you do with your drone or model aircraft are known as operations.
...
Categories of drone and model aircraft operations.
CategoriesType of flying
Open A1 and A3Basic, low-risk flying
Open A2More risk than A1 and A3
SpecificModerate-risk flying
CertifiedHigh-risk, complex flying

How high can a drone fly? ›

The maximum altitude that a drone can fly is 10 kilometres (33,000 feet), as evidenced by both military drones and youtube videos of adventurers. Drones with rotating rotors get a physical limit of roughly 10 kilometres (33.000ft).

Do drones show up on radar? ›

Yes, radar can detect all types of drones regardless of whether it uses RF communication, GPS preprogramming or Wifi/Cellular communication. The only limit to radar detection is the size of the drone.

What happens if you fly drone over 400ft? ›

When you fly a drone above 400 feet, you risk a dangerous in-flight collision that can damage equipment and lead to unwanted consequences. Most near-miss events between aircraft occur above 400 feet. You may risk losing your drone at great heights.

Can FAA track your drone? ›

Remote ID helps the FAA, law enforcement, and other federal agencies find the control station when a drone appears to be flying in an unsafe manner or where it is not allowed to fly.

Videos

1. Drone Registration Guidelines | Everything You Need to Know!
(51 Drones)
2. New UK Drone Rules – 5 Things You Need To Know – UK EASA Regulations Series - Geeksvana
(Geeksvana)
3. UK Drone Regulations 2022 Explained
(Coptrz)
4. 2021 EU DRONE LAWS - EASY GUIDE
(iCeline)
5. What You Need to Know About Drones and Current Regulations
(B&H Photo Video)
6. UK DRONE LAWS - THINKING OF A2 CofC? WATCH THIS FIRST! MORE FREEDOM WITH ARTICLE 16
(GAVINHR)

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