Can you fly drone in New York city? Read on to know more about whether you can fly a drone in the city, and if so, under what conditions.
In 2021, World Population Review reported New York City’s population to be around 19,095,300. This figure is enough to tell us that NYC is a bit crowded.
If you are a drone owner in NYC or would like to take one to the city, you might be wondering if it is fine to fly a drone in the city.
Drones flying in New York City have more risks of crashing into someone or some architecture. Here I have discussed in detail, the rules for using drones in NYC.
FAA laws mandate drone pilots to have passed 107 licenses to be able to fly a drone in the city commercially. To fly a drone in NYC recreationally, you must have passed TRUST.
Flying a drone in state parks or historical sites in New York City is prohibited without written approval. Locally, you are not allowed to fly a drone in New York City.
Before you give vent to your dream of flying your drone in New York State, you must read this article to get a few user inputs to guide you. In this write-up, I have covered the drone flight laws under federal laws, state laws, and local laws.
Whether you are a resident of New York or make frequent travels to this destination, this article is something you will not want to miss out on.
- Related: Drone Laws in New York
Can You Fly Drone In New York City?
Federal drone laws applicable in New York City
The drone flight laws enacted by the federal government apply not only to the residents of New York or the visitors to this state, they are applicable throughout the United States.
Drone regulations for commercial pilots
According to federal law, you must have a Part 107 (link) drone license to fly a drone as a commercial pilot in New York, or in any other state in the US. The Part 107 license is issued by the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA.
To qualify for your FAA license, you must be 16 years old or older than that. You are expected to be fluent in writing, speaking and reading the English language. The process will also test your mental health.
The application process to take the FAA drone knowledge test is very simple. Sign up for free on FAA’s official website for the Rating Application System or IACRA or the FAA Integrated Airman Certificate. Upon registration, you will get FTN or FAA Tracking Number.
After registration, you need to find a testing center in New York or in your local area where you can take your exam. On the day of the examination, you will be given the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam.
There will be a quiz involving topics such as flying a drone at the night, judging the flight, conducting a pre-flight inspection, emergency procedures, and the effect of weather on drones, Classification of the airspace, radio communications, and others.
Once you pass the exam, you will have to visit the IACRA website and apply for a remote pilot certificate by filling out the FAA Form 8710-13. While applying for the certificate, you will be asked to provide the details of the Knowledge test Exam ID. This is a 17-digit number.
The remote pilot certificate is valid for two years. To renew the license, you must follow the same steps once again before the expiry date. This will mean that you have to take the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam once again.
There are talks that this procedure might change in the future asking the candidates to update the license by applying for an online course and training without having the retake the exam once again.
To use a drone for governmental purposes, you will need a COA (Certificate of Authorization) in addition to passing the Part 107 license.
To this end, you need to submit an application to the Air Traffic organization. Further to this, FAA will conduct a technical and operational review to determine if you are thorough with drone flight rules.
Drone regulations for recreational flying
If you want to fly a drone in New York or any other state in the US only for recreational purposes and not for any profitable activity, you still have to take a test.
This test is known as TRUST or The Recreational UAS Safety Test. However, drone pilots who wish to operate smaller drones that weigh up to .55 pounds do not need to take this test.
There are two sections in the TRUST test has two sections. In the second section, there are multiple choice questions. FAA says, “You cannot fail the test.
If you answer a question incorrectly you will be provided with information on why the answer you chose was incorrect and prompted to try again.”
After completing the TRUST test, you will be issued a text completion certificate. Unlike the Part 107 license, there is no expiry period for the TRUST certificate. However, FAA says, you must not lose your certificate. If you lose it, you will be asked to take the test once again.
Whenever you are flying your drone, you are required to have your certificate in hand. Upon request by the FAA agent or a law enforcement officer, you are required to produce the certificate.
Drone laws in New York State
It is not enough to adhere to the federal drone laws alone. You must also be aware of the drone laws enacted by the New York State to be able to fly a drone in New York. There is only one law in this regard. However, it is a very important rule you must know.
The OPR-PCD-018–New York Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has mandated that you must have a permit to use your drone to take pictures or videos at the historical sites and state parks in New York.
OPRHP or New York State Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation says this rule must have complied with irrespective of whether your drone can be used for photographs and videos or not.
Factors that are punishable according to the OPRHP file:
- Privacy rights violations like capturing the likeness of someone
- The noise of the drone scares or annoys the general public or creates a physically dangerous or hazardous condition for the public.
- Any kind of disturbance caused by your drone to the local wildlife
- The drone’s flight causes conflict with the flight of other drone users.
- Your drone causing any damage to the resources at the park
- Drone flying in any restricted airspace
Therefore, it is important to get OPRHP permission before thinking of flying your drone in any historic site or state park in New York State.
Drone Laws in New York City
After knowing the drone laws of the federal government and the New York State, we must now turn our attention to understanding the local drone laws applicable specifically to flying drones in New York City. NYC local drone laws are regulated by FAA and the New York State Assembly.
The administrative code asks the commercial drone pilots to take off and land only in some locations that are approved by the state’s Department of Transportation and the Port of New York Authority.
The fact surfacing from this rule is that it is not possible to fly a drone in New York City both for commercial and recreational purposes. The rules ban flying drones in the N|YC irrespective of whether you have got your TRUST certificate or FAA Part 107 License.
Anyone seeing a drone flying around NYC, can call 911.
New York City is one of the most crowded places on the earth. The city has millions of people living and working here. New York City spans an area of 302.6 square miles or 193,664 acres.
Though New York City is large enough for its population, the biggest constraint here for flying drones in the city are its tall multistoried buildings. Flying drones is prohibited in the city only to avoid disturbances to the general public and to preserve the buildings.
Safe places in New York City to fly your drone
Though you are not allowed to fly your drone in NYC, it is still possible to fly one around NYC. Located close to the city limits, here are a few places where flying your drone is possible and is not banned by the local drone laws.
Tanner Park is a scenic beachfront park near the Great South Bay in Long Island. The Town Of Babylon needs you to have a license to access some areas of the beach.
Therefore, you cannot fly your drone in all areas of the beach. To be able to capture some amazing videos or pictures at the seaside, you must first ensure that the space is enough.
LaTourette Park Model Airfield
LaTourette Park of State Island is another great area to fly your drone. Especially the Model Airfield is a place where you will love to fly your drone.
This region does not fall within the city limits of NYC but lies very close to the city borders. The factors that prove great for drone pictures and videos here are the marshy environment, abundant greenery, a variety of trees, and the open sky.
While flying your drone in this region, you must exercise caution to avoid flying it over the different kinds of sports courts here and there are plenty of them in this area.
The city of New Rochelle is a scenic location of historical importance which offers cityscape locations and waterfronts that prove worthy of drone photography and videography.
Especially the two popular parks in this region are Hudson Park and Davenport, which provide breathtaking sceneries and a lot of open space to fly your drone.
Senator Speno National Park
Senator Speno Natural Park in East Meadow is not only a park, but also provides play equipment for kids. There is a large lake here and its surroundings provide lush green landscapes and open spaces free from crowds.
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Flying Field
Now renamed as Model Airplane Field, the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Flying Field is located in Forest Hills. This is a favorite place for drone enthusiasts and also those owning different kinds of UAVs. It is most likely that you will make new friends here.
Staten Island Boat Graveyard
The Staten Island Boat Graveyard houses a lot of abandoned boats that wear creepy-cool looks. If you have some specific kinds of footage to try here, this is a never to miss out destination close to NYC.
Before embarking on the idea of flying your drone in New York City, you must become familiar with the drone laws from the federal, state, and local governments.
While recreational drone pilots need to have cleared a TRUST test, commercial drone pilots are required to have their FAA Part 107 license.
The state drone laws prohibit flying a drone over state parks and historical sites without getting written permission. New York City local laws completely ban flying drones within city limits. However, there are a number of places close to the city where you can fly your drone.
Jon is a passionate photographer and videographer who has been flying DJI drones for over 5 years. He loves the freedom and creativity that comes with capturing aerial footage and the unique perspective it provides. Jon is always on the lookout for new locations to explore and capture with his DJI drones. His favorite DJI drone is the Mavic 2 Pro, which he uses to capture stunning 4K footage with its Hasselblad camera. Jon is always eager to share his knowledge and experience with other drone enthusiasts and is a member of several online drone communities. When he’s not flying his DJI drone, Jon enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with his family.