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Florida Drone Laws in 2019 (Updated)

Introduction

A member of parliament in Australia spoke publicly saying all drone pilots are “clueless, careless, and criminal.” I couldn’t disagree more and if you’re here reading this article then you have already proven the first description wrong. Drone flying is fun, and I fly nearly everyday around my house. I live in the state and wanted to be up to date with all the Florida drone laws. 

The Drones Laws in Florida are a bit different from other states. It’s imperative that you know your laws.

I’ll give you a breakdown of everything important, so you can stay in the skies and fly your drone legally without getting fined!!

The content on this page is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to take the place of legal counsel. Read your area-specific laws carefully and seek legal advice if needed.

Registering your Drone in Florida

registermyuas.faa.gov

Before you embark on your journey to take over the skies, you have to register your drone with the FAA. When you register it you pay for a specific registration number and you MUST place it on your drone.

Personally, I haven’t heard of any friends getting caught not registering their drones. But, with a consequence of up to 3 years in prison, $250,000 in fines, and up to $27,000 in civil penalties, I wouldn’t take the risk my friends!

  • Hobbyists are required to register your drone with the FAA.
  • Commercial pilots (If you make any kind of money by flying your drone) are required to follow the requirements of the FAA’s Part 107 Small UAS Rule (Part 107), which includes obtaining a Remote Pilot Certificate.
  • Government employees in Florida (Example: Police) you can operate under the FAA’s Part 107 rule or obtain a federal Certificate of Authorization (COA).

It’s a very simple process and takes barely any time to complete. All you have to do is go to registermyuas.faa.gov and follow their easy directions to register.

I can’t stress this part enough, go register your dang drone!

The Best State to Fly a Drone!

I can’t think of any place better to live than Florida. IF you can survive the humidity and the heat of course!! I was born and raised here but I still love my AC indoors!

Our beautiful state is filled with amazing beaches (crowded most of the time) that have TONS of people doing a number of activities. There’s room for fishing down the St. Johns River. Whipping out the water tube or wakeboard in the fresh water. Or even surfing out in the ocean on virtually all sides of the state!!

Florida is the perfect state for the Drone hobbyist to enjoy!

Whether you’re flying for fun, or business, Florida has it all with High-Dollar Real Estate to photograph, open fields to fly, and many large cities to capture the awesome shot!

Last but not least, the SUNRISE and SUNSET are to die for!!! I can’t tell you how man shots I have that I’m still amazed with during that golden hour!

Florida, specifically, has a few more laws that you NEED to be aware of to stay within regulations and fly legally.

Like with any hobby, the objective is to have long lasting fun, not get fined or arrested! Once you read this article you should feel confident in taking over the skies and know you’re following all the Florida Drone Laws!

Airports: Keep it legal, Keep it SAFE.

If you live within five miles of an airport or you want to fly your drone within five miles of an airport, this applies to you!! Per the state of Florida, if you fly within that distance, you must notify the airport BEFORE you start flying!

Now, there are certain cities and counties that require more things to be done if you want to fly. For example, if you are in Hillsborough County, you have to fill out an online form to fly within the five-mile radius of Tampa Executive, Tampa International, Peter O. Knight Airport, or the Plant City Airport.

To fill this form out, just go to www.tampa airport.com/UAS and follow the steps. At the bottom of the page you’ll see the form link.

Macdill Air Force Base (and pretty much any other military installation) is something you REALLY need to be careful with and follow the law! If you plan on flying anywhere near the base, you should contact their Public Affairs Office to request permission to fly in the region. The number to that office is: 813-828-2215.

I won’t go through every airport in Florida, but I’ll leave a list below for your reference.

Florida is very strict on their line of sight laws. A Drone pilot must always have a clear line of sight to their aircraft.

Florida Drone Laws

Laws that were created by the Florida Legislature and apply to the whole state.

The Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Legislature, Florida has three state-wide laws regarding the use of drones in the state. These apply to everyone who flies in Florida, tourists included.

I will list the three and give you a brief description of what they mean for you.

HB 1027 // 2017

Basically, means that local governments can use laws pertaining to nuisances, voyeurism, harassment, reckless endangerment, property damage or other illegal acts towards a drone user. Meaning, if you do those illegal acts with your drone, then they reflect to you.

SB 766 // 2015

This law prohibits the use of a drone to capture images of privately-owned property or the owner, tenant, or occupant of such property without consent if a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.

SB 92 // 2013

This law basically states what a drone is and limits the use of drones by law enforcement. Law enforcement may use a drone if they obtain a warrant, there is a terrorist threat, or “swift action” is needed to prevent loss of life or to search for a missing person. This law also lets someone harmed by an inappropriate use of drones to pursue civil action against the operator.

I really enjoyed reading about this law, it is, from what I understand, like a police officer stealing your car for “official police business.”

Local Drone Laws in Florida:

I know it can be a bit confusing trying to understand which laws pertain to you and exactly what they mean. When in doubt, I always try to fly away from people and in a secluded area. I’m more of a landscape scene kind of pilot anyway.

Florida has many laws that govern specific regions or areas so I’m going to leave a list of links down below. If you live or plan on flying in any of those areas make sure you click the links and read up on the city ordinances!

City of Miami—Municipal Law // 2016

City of Orlando—Municipal Law // 2016

Town of Bonita Springs—Municipal Law // 2016

Town of Defuniak Springs—Municipal Law // 2016

Pinellas County—Code of Ordinances // 2018

Summary:

To finish this article up I just have to say thanks, thank you for being responsible and learning how to fly safely and legally so all drone pilots can enjoy the freedom we have to explore the skies. Times are changing, and they’re changing fast, so make sure you keep up to date with the laws as they change.

If there are any changes to the Florida Drone laws that aren’t mentioned in this article please shoot me an email at Admin@DroneOpinion.com. I really want to keep as many people updated as possible.

The few people that give Drone Pilots a bad image affect us all and as a community we need to educate!

DISCLAIMER: I am very much not a lawyer, not an expert on state drone laws and not responsible for your compliance with state and federal law. This article is provided for informational purposes and to raise awareness of laws that might affect you. It is ultimately up to you to ensure you’re using your drone legally. If you question anything seek professional legal advice or contact local law enforcement for correct and up to date information.