Drone Laws in Florida 2021: Things You Should Know Before Flying

florida

There are thousands of drones currently registered in Florida. So, today we’ll be taking a look at all the federal, state, and local drone laws in the state. After reading this post, we’re confident that you’ll be able to fly your drone legally and safely in Florida.

Where can I fly my drone in Florida?

There are a bunch of different states and local laws regarding drone flights in Florida. However, federal law takes precedence so we’ll look at these regulations first.

 

Federal drone laws in Florida

The Part 107 rules of the FAA guidelines cover all drones in the US. Essentially, drones are treated equally to other aircraft in the sky.

The law states that if you have a drone weighing between 0.55lbs and 55lbs, you’ll need to register it with the FAA before you can fly it. This rule applies to both US citizens and tourists. It also covers both recreational and commercial fliers.

In the rules, the FAA also stipulates and differentiates the types of users who operate drones. You can use their User Identification Tool to see which user you identify as so you can check which rules apply to you.

 

Flying drones commercially in Florida

To fly drones commercially in Florida you must be able to meet the following:

  • 16 years old
  • Able to read, and write in English
  • Be in good physical and mental health

Next, you need to:

  • Create an IACRA profile so you can get an FAA tracking number
  • Take the FAA Aeronautical Knowledge Test at one of their approved test centers.
  • Complete FAA form 8710-13 to get your Remote Pilot Certificate
  • Register your drone with the FAA (see more info below under recreational flying)

 

Flying drones recreationally in Florida and registering with the FAA

If you’ll just be flying your drone for fun, you can skip most of the steps above. However, you’ll still need to register with the FAA.

Registration costs $5 and lasts for three years. Once you’ve received your registration details, you need to label your drone with your registration number as shown below. If you don’t, you could be fined $27,500.

label your drone

 

How to register drones in Florida

Registering your drone in Florida is really easy. Firstly, go to the FAA’s website here. Alternatively, you can go straight to their dedicated drone page, DroneZone.

Then, follow the steps to either register as a recreational or commercial flyer under Part 107.

Drones only need to be registered if they weigh more than 250g or 0.55lbs. So, if you own a mini drone like the Mavic Mini or the Mini 2, you don’t need to register your drone.

You’ll also need to have a credit or debit card with you to process the $5 registration for the fee.

 

Florida state drone laws

Florida currently has three state-wide drone laws and two administrative codes

House Bill 1027 – Under this bill, only the Florida Legislature can make drone laws in Florida. However, it allows local governments to create ordinances (see below). These ordinances can prevent nuisance, harassment, damage to property, and reckless endangerment.

Senate Bill 92 – This law prevents drone pilots from taking pictures or videos of properties without consent. This is only if a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.

Senate Bill 766 – This bill defines exactly what a drone is and how it’s used by local law enforcement. Permission to fly drones is usually only granted to law enforcement if there’s an imminent terrorist threat, or if immediate action is needed to avoid casualties or missing person incidents.

 

Florida Administrative Codes

40C-0.320 – This code stops drones from taking off or landing on District Lands. However, Special Use Authorization can be obtained.

5I-4.003 – Under this code, you’re not allowed to fly your drone on managed lands. This includes state parks and national forests. Exceptions are made at runways and helipads if you have permission from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

 

Florida local drone laws

Alongside the above state laws, there are also some local drone laws in Florida too.

Town of Bonita Springs Municipal Law – Under this law, you’re not allowed to fly your drone in Community Park when people are in it. Additionally, you’re not allowed to fly within 25ft of individuals, buildings, power lines, or lights.

Canaveral Port Authority Drone Policy – You can’t fly your drone on any port authority-owned property unless you get prior permission. Applications can only be submitted 48 hours prior to operations commencing. You can view the application here.

Town of Defuniak Springs Municipal Law – Here, you can’t fly your drone over the private and public property without consent from the owner. Commercial pilots must also register with the local police before flying for commercial reasons.

Lake County Code of Ordinances – You can’t take off or land in any land owned by the county if it’s listed as a non-recreation area. You can apply for special permission, however, from the director or designee if necessary.

City of Miami Municipal Law – In Miami, certain drone activities require permits. Also, your drone can’t have any detachable equipment/cargo on it or weapons. You’re not allowed to fly your drone within half a mile of sporting events. This was also the case during Super bowl LV, held in Tampa Bay in 2020.

City of Orlando Municipal Law – Under this law you can’t fly your drone within 500ft of schools, large venue, ( like the Camping World Stadium), or parks owned by the city.

Pinellas County Code of Ordinances – In this county, you can’t take off or land your drone in any county-owned or county-managed land. Exceptions are only made in the interest of public safety and require written permission.

University of Tampa Policy – Drone flights are only permitted with prior authorization. Permission will only be granted, however, for the area over Plant Park.

 

Can you fly your drone in Florida State Parks?

No, under administrative code 5I-4.003, you can’t fly your drone in Florida’s State Parks and forests.

 

Can you shoot down a drone in Florida?

No, shooting down a drone in any state is illegal and against federal law. If you do shoot down a drone in Florida you could face a large fine and some jail time. Learn more about how to stop a drone from flying over your house.

 

Is it illegal to fly a drone over private property in Florida?

No. Flying a drone over a house or private property actually doesn’t break any law. The airspace above belongs to FAA. However, if you feel like someone is using a drone to spy on you, you can take some actions. Check this guide for more details.

 

Best places to fly drones in Florida

Now that all the legal stuff is covered. Here’s a roundup of the top places to fly a drone in Florida. Florida is a really beautiful and diverse state and no list will do it justice, but here’s a great start:

  • Cranes Roost Park – Altamonte Springs
  • Sugarloaf Key – Florida Keys
  • 7 Mile Bridge – Florida Keys
  • Lido Key Beach – Sarasota
  • Tangerine Field AMA – Apopka (Great open space for practicing)
  • Cherokee Point Conservation Area – St Cloud
  • Hickory Point Recreation Park – Tavares
  • Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse – Hillsboro Beach

Drone laws in Florida and across the US are always changing. So, if you see something we’ve missed, let us know in the comments below so we can keep this post accurate and up to date.

 

 


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