Drone Laws in New York

If you want to fly a drone in New York City, it is important to stay informed about the drone laws in New York. Read below to find out what the drone restrictions and drone laws in New York are.

Drones have several applications both commercially and recreationally. Hence the number of drones are quickly on the rise.

If you want to fly a drone in the state of New York, it is important that you educate yourself about the drone laws, rules, and regulations in New York.  

New York is a crowded city with a population of 19,095,300 in 2021and flying drones in the city also involves the safety concern of not bumping into architecture or passersby. Several cities in the state of New York have banned flying drones.

However, there are some places where you are allowed to fly drones legally as well.  

This article will educate you on the drone laws in New York State breaking down the topic under federal, state and local laws.

By reading this article, you will also understand what it means to fly a drone commercially and recreationally. You will also get to know the list of places where flying drones is allowed in NYC.  

FAA has mandated that you have a Part 107 license to be able to fly a drone commercially. To fly a drone for recreational purposes, you must have passed the TRUST test.

Pilots are banned from flying drones in state parks and historical sites in New York without written approval. Flying drones in NYC locally is not allowed. 

Drone Laws in New York

Federal drone laws

The drone laws enforced by the federal government apply to anyone who works lives and plays in the whole of the U.S. and so they bind all those in New York as well. 

As per federal drone laws, commercial pilots who want to fly a drone in New York or anywhere else in the U.S. must have a Part 107 drone license. FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is the authority issuing the Part 107 License. 

For the award of an FAA license, the applicant must be 16 years or older. The subjects must also be proficient in reading, speaking and writing in the English language. The procedures test the physical and mental health of the applicants as well. 

Drone Laws in New York

You can take the FAA drone knowledge test by signing up on the FAA Integrated Airman Certificate. Alternatively, you can also do it on IACRA or Rating Application System. The registration is free to do and upon registration, you will get an FTN also known as FAA Tracking Number.

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After registering, you must find a testing center located in New York or anywhere else in your region and take the designated exam. On the day of the test, you will be given the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam.

There will also be a quiz covering topics like flying drones at night, inspection before the flight, radio communications, flight judgment, emergency protocols, the effects of weather on drones, and classification of airspace.

After passing the exam, you must get back on the IACRA website to fill out FAA Form 8710-13 for getting your remote pilot certificate. You will require your 17 digits Knowledge Test Exam ID for applying for your certificate. 

The validity period of the certificate is two years. Before the expiry of the drone license, you need to follow the same process discussed above once again, which also involves passing the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam.

Some changes are anticipated in this process and you may not need to take the exam once again. However, you may have to update your license by taking an online training or course. 

To fly a drone for government purposes, you will have to obtain your COA (Certificate of Authorization) in addition to passing the part 107 license.

You need to submit an application to get the Air Traffic Organization authorization. Following this, the FAA will conduct an operational and technical review to check your drone flight rules. 

Flying a drone for recreational purposes

If you look forward to fly a drone in New York or any other state in the U.S. not for profit and only for recreation, you are required to take the test. The TRUST test requirement was introduced in June 2021. 

This test is called as the Recreational UAS Safety Test. Pilots owning drones that weigh lesser than .55 pounds are exempted from taking this test. 

You can take this test in any one of the following online or physical venues (List of Test Administrators approved by FAA):

  • CrossFlight Sky Solutions
  • Community College of Allegheny County – West Hills Center
  • Chippewa Valley Technical College 
  • Drone U
  • Drone Trust
  • Drone Launch Academy LLC
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University or ERAU
  • HSU Educational Foundation
  • Lake Area Technical College
  • New College Institute or NCI
  • Proctorio Incorporated
  • Pilot Institute
  • The Boy Scouts of America
  • The Academy of Model Aeronautics or AMA
  • Tactical Aviation
  • University of Arizona Global Campus
  • UAV Coach
  • Volatus Aerospace Corp

The TRUST test comprises of two sections and the second section has multiple-choice questions. Describing how easy it is to take the test, FAA remarks, “You cannot fail the test.

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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.”

Upon finishing the testy, you are given the completion certificate. While the Part 107 license expires in two years, a TRUST certificate does not. However, the FAA advises you against losing the certificate as it will mean you will have to take the test once again. 

Whenever you fly, you are expected to have the certificate with you. Upon request, you must be able to produce the certificate a FAA law enforcement officer. 

State Drone Laws for New York

Compliance with the federal drone laws alone will not suffice to meet the legal expectations to fly a drone. To fly a drone in New York, you must also satisfy the NYC state drone laws.

However, in this regard, you need to know only one law which is very important. 

Taking effect in January 2015, the OPR-PCD-018–New York Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation mandates that you must obtain permits to take photographs or videos in historical sites and state parks located in the New York state including filming or photographing using a drone. 

New York State OPRHP (Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation) has issued the rules that define if your drone can be used for photography or filming.

  • The drone must not violate privacy rights of any individuals
  • The gadget must neither scare or annoy the general public with its noise nor “create a hazardous or physically dangerous condition for members of the public”
  • Local wildlife must not be disturbed
  • The drone’s flight must not “result in significant conflict with other existing uses”
  • The activities of the drone must not hinder the duties of OPRHP contractors, administrators or concessioners, which also includes visitor services.
  • The drone must not cause any kind of damage to the resources in the park
  • The flying machine must not be flown in any kind of restricted airspace 

Therefore, when you plan to fly your drone in any historic site or state park in New York, you must first get permission from OPRHP.

New York City Drone Laws

New York City Local Drone Laws are regulated by the FAA and the New York State Assembly. 

In case of commercial drone pilots, the administrative code mandates that the takeoff and landing within New York City must happen only in a few designated points that the State’s Department of Transportation and the Port of New York Authority have approved.  

For commercial drone pilots, the administrative code mandates landing and taking off only in certain locations that the Port of New York Authority and the state’s Department of Transportation have approved.  

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The implication is that you are prohibited to fly a drone in New York City both for commercial and recreational purposes, even if you have obtained your FAA Part 107 license or your TRUST certificate.

Standing instructions issued by the authorities ask anyone seeing a drone flying inside the city limits to call 911. New York City has a population of millions. The city spans over an area of 302.6 square miles or 193,664 acres. 

The city presents a highly constricted layout and inhabitation. New York City has prohibited flying drones within city limits in order to preserve its architecture and ensure people’s convenience. 

Places in New York where flying drones is allowed

In around six locations situated very close to New York City, flying drones is permitted legally including Tanner Park in Copiague, LaTourette Park Model Airfield, New Rochelle, Senator Speno National Park, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Flying Field, and Staten Island Boat Graveyard. So, in these places, you can give vent to your passion of flying drones for recreation.


If you want to fly a drone in New York, you must first know all the drone flight rules issued by the federal government, state administration and local authorities.

Federal laws require that commercial drone pilots have their FAA Part 107 license. It is mandatory for recreational drone users to have taken the TRUST test. 

The NY state laws require that you get written permission to fly your drone in historical sites and state parks for any purpose.

The local laws in NYC completely prohibit flying drones within the city limits. However, you have around six locations situated very close to the city where you are allowed to fly a drone for recreation.  

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