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Flying Drones in Florida

What to Know Before You Fly in Florida

Criminal Code Section 934.50 forbids the use of drones for surveillance that violates another person’s reasonable expectation of privacy. This includes law enforcement; however, police can use drones with a valid search warrant.

In Florida, all small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), (those weighing more than 0.55 pounds but less than 55 pounds, including all attachments and payload, such as cameras) must be registered with the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA). Any unmanned fling system (UAS) weighing 55 pounds or more must be registered through a paper system. Flying unregistered drones could lead to up to three years in prison, $250,000 in fines and $27,000 in civil penalties.

Recreational Drone Use vs. Commercial Drone Use

Pilot Requirements – While there are no pilot requirements for recreational use drones, there are a few requirements for commercial use drones. For commercial drones, pilots must have Remote Pilot Airman Certification, must be at least 16 years of age and must pass the Transportation security administration (TSA) vetting process.

Aircraft Requirements – For recreational use, drones and other UAS must be registered if it weighs more than .055 lbs., unless it is exclusively operated in compliance with section 336 of Public Law 112-95 (Special Rule for Model Aircraft). Regarding commercial use, if they and other UAS weigh more than .55 lbs. and less than 55 lbs., the must be registered with the FAA, and must undergo pre-flight check for safe operating conditions.

Location Requirements –  Recreational use of UAS and drones must be flown five miles away from airport unless you provide advanced notice to the airport and the air traffic control tower. Commercial use pilots must fly drones and other UAS in Class G airspace, which can be found here.

Operating Rules

Flying Drones in Florida
The beach is a potential good location for flying a drone, as it is away from buildings and people.

Recreational use

  • Always yield right of way to manned aircraft always
  • Always keep drone in line of sight
  • Drone must be under 55 lbs.
  • Always follow community based guidelines
  • Must provide advanced notification to airports and air traffic control to fly drones within five miles of an airport

Commercial use

  • Always keep drone in line of sight
  • remain under 400 ft. while flying
  • fly at or below 100 MPH
  • Only fly during the daytime
  • Always yield right of way to manned aircraft
  • Do not fly over humans
  • Do not fly from a moving vehicle

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