Florida is a state in the USA that has some of the best and most conducive characteristics when it comes to drone flying. It has some of the best beaches that are alive to numerous human activities including but not limited to surfing, boating and fishing. As is with other states, drone laws in Florida are different owing to the environment in which you operate. So if you are one of the many drone enthusiasts and you find yourself in Florida, there are several legalities that you will need to be aware of. Here are some of the laws that govern drones in this beautiful state. Remember, ignorance is no defense.
Drone Registration Process in Florida
Before you can fly your drone in Florida, you are required to register the drone with the FAA using the registration number that was given to you when you first purchased it. Flying an unregistered drone here will attract penalties that include but are not limited to a 3 year prison term, fines of up to $250,000 and other civil penalties in excess of $27,000. The best thing is that the registration process can be completed online so there is no much activity related to it.
Proximity to Airports in Florida
You will be required to check your proximity to any of the airports in Florida. If you intend to fly your drone in an area that is within 5 miles of any of the airports, you will be required to notify the airport authorities of your intentions. If you are operating around Hillsborough County for instance, you will need to fill out an online form that is found on www.tampaairport.com/UAS to notify them of your flight. Likewise, if you find yourself within 5 miles of St. Peteclearwater International Airport, you will need to notify the authorities at the FAA towers and you will be cleared to fly.
You are also required to ensure that you fly your drone within 400 feet above the ground level. Your drone should always be within sight whenever you are flying in Florida. Being that Florida is a highly populated state, you must not fly your drone above people or even moving cars as this may pose a great danger to the population.
Some Laws that are Unique to Florida
Florida has a law that states that it is not legal for someone to take pictures from the air of a person or their property without permission. This has created a murky area as far as enforcement is concerned. For instance, it is increasingly difficult to ensure that such crimes are not committed. Additionally, it has become difficult to regulate this in terms of why people use drones in the first place.
However, of importance to note is that if you are using drones for commercial purposes in Florida, there are stricter rules that apply and you need to be conversant with these laws in order to avoid any pitfalls.
Flying During Public Events
The city of Miami prohibits the use of drones within a half a mile radius of any sporting events or large venue events. This law applies to all public parks and stadiums during any official public event. The law also requires that any drone that weighs more than 5 pounds should not be operated by anyone unless they are members of Academy of Model Aeronautics. The drones being operated at such times should also not have any form of detachable cargo and should also not carry any form of weapons during flight.
Most of the rules and regulations regarding drone flying in Florida are mainly geared towards ensuring the safety of everyone involved. While some rules may appear stricter than others, the bottom line is that all rules must be adhered to in order to be on the safe side of the law. Next time you intend to fly your drone in Florida, make sure you have all the laws and regulations at your fingertips to avoid a run-in with the authorities and also for everyone’s safety.