The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the regulatory US-government agency tasked to implement rules and regulations specific to flying drones or UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) in all states of America including Pennsylvania. This guide covers drone laws in every city in Pennsylvania including: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie and more.
Federal Rules and Regulations for Drone Use in Pennsylvania:
Drones/UAS for Work or Business Use. Drone use is allowed in compliance with the FAA Part 107 guidelines.
Drones/UAS is prohibited in its unlawful use that invades another person’s privacy.
Title 18 Section 3505 (2018). It is against the law to use unmanned aircraft if:
- The person knowingly or intentionally used drones in surveillance of other person’s private property.
- drones/UAS is used to operate in a manner that places another person in reasonable fear of bodily injury.
- But is not limited to those performing their official duties – firefighters, police officers, employees of the Department of Corrections or from any local correctional facilities, prison or jail, employees from gas, electric or utility sector.
- Drone/UAS use is restricted in all other Pennsylvania state parks.
- Title 53 Section 305 (2018). State Parks Rules and Restrictions. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources had restricted the flying of drones in all other parks except in the designated flying zones only in these 6 parks. Contacting them is advisable before flying your drones.
- Beltzville State Park
- Benjamin Rush State Park
- Hillman State Park
- Lackawanna State Park
- Prompton State Park
- Tuscarora State Park
Ordinances issued in some Pennsylvanian municipalities:
Drone operators must know and follow the guidelines provided by the FAA if operating for recreational, work/business purposes, passed the knowledge test, and must check if the city has temporary flight restrictions.
Recreational drone operators are not allowed to fly their drones at a certain event declared as “No Drone Zone”. But, commercial drones are allowed by securing an FAA waiver and must notify the City prior to launch through the Philadelphia UAS Notification Form.
The state park with fly zones is Benjamin Rush, State Park. Contact the park administration prior to operating your UAS.
Pittsburgh parks are off-limits to recreational drone users. According to Pennsylvania state law, [Title 8, Sec. 305, 2018], drones can only be used at fly zones within a designated park.
Ordinances issued in some Pennsylvanian towns:
- Township of Moon, PA
Operation of Drones/UAS for recreational purposes (unmanned aircrafts systems) is restricted within Township boundaries indicated in PIT UAS maps designated as “safety critical lands”. For other specific matters, drone operators must secure approval from Airport Authority. Penalties for violations is indicated under §6-405 [Ord. 666, 10/04/2017].
- Willistown, PA (Chester Country)
No flying of drones/UAS less than 200 feet over a property not owned by the drone operator. If property is not owned, drone operators must secure written permission from the property owner. Written permission must indicate the name of the operator, the address of the property where the drone is to be used, and the hours and time of operation (sunset and sunrise not included).