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Kansas is calling your name, and you want to bring your drone with you. That’d be the best way to explore Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Shawnee Mission Park, and Mushroom Rock State Park.
What are the drone laws in Kansas?
Kansas permits drone pilots, but they must follow all federal, state, and local laws. You cannot use drones for stalking in Kansas, as it violates the Protection from Stalking Act. You also can’t use your drone near a Wichita airport or in most state parks.
That’s not all, as we’re only scratching the surface when it comes to pertinent drone laws in this state.
Keep reading for all the Kanas drone laws that apply federally, statewide, and locally!
Federal Drone Laws in Kansas #
We’ll begin as we always do with the federal drone laws. These United States-mandated laws were created by the country’s government and apply to Kansas and other states within the US.
Here’s who’s affected by the federal drone laws.
Commercial Drone Pilots #
As a commercial drone pilot, you have the freedom to fly your drone, capture aerial footage, and make money doing so. Those freedoms hinge on obeying Kansas federal drone laws.
The federal law in this state requires that every commercial drone pilot must have their Remote Pilot Certificate whenever they fly.
If you don’t already have a Remote Pilot Certificate, commonly referred to as the Part 107 license, then you’ll have to apply for one through the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA.
We wrote a handy post explaining the entire process below.
» MORE: FAA Part 107 for Commercial Drone Pilots
To take the Part 107 exam for the first time, you must be at least 16 years old and be fully proficient in the English language, including reading, writing, and comprehending it.
You’ll have to sign up through the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application or IACRA website to register for the exam.
The FAA Part 107 exam costs a fee to take and must be taken at an approved testing center.
The test takes a little over two hours to complete and requires a score of 70 percent or higher to pass.
We have an awesome resource here on the blog that will help you study up so you can hopefully pass the Part 107 exam the first time.
» MORE: Top 10 Best Part 107 Online Test Prep Courses
When you pass, you apply for your license through IACRA. Once it’s sent to you, it’s good for two years, and then you’re required to take the Part 107 exam again.
In the interim, make sure you always follow FAA drone rules when flying commercially. You’ll have to register your drone as well, which costs $5 and lasts for three years.
Recreational Drone Pilots #
Recreational or hobbyist drone pilots are also subject to Kansas federal drone laws.
As is true for commercial drone pilots, you must always obey Part 107 rules when operating your drone.
You’ll more than likely have to pay to register your drone as well, even if only for hobbyist fun. The only exception is if the drone weighs 0.55 or fewer pounds, such as a toy drone.
While registering your drone (or before, your choice!), you should also sign up for The Recreational UAS Safety Test or TRUST, the exam that all recreational drone pilots must pass.
The TRUST test is free to take, and you can do it online instead of at a testing center.
You can also guarantee a score of 100 percent, as every question you answer wrong will display the correct answer and give you a chance to change your answer.
Your TRUST certificate never expires.
Agency Drone Pilots #
Government or agency drone pilots also have a few federal drone laws to abide by. Kansas law dictates that you follow Part 107 rules and apply for a Certificate of Authorization or COA as needed.
State Drone Laws in Kansas #
The next level of Kansas drone law applies throughout the state. There’s only one of these laws, so let’s take a closer look.
SB 319 // 2016 #
According to Section 3 of SB 319 (b), “’Harassment’ means a knowing and intentional course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes a person, and that serves no legitimate purpose.
‘Harassment’ shall include any course of conduct carried out through the use of an unmanned aerial system over or near any dwelling, occupied vehicle, or other place where one may reasonably expect to be safe from uninvited intrusion or surveillance.”
This is, as mentioned in the intro, an addition to the state’s Protection from Stalking Act.
Stalking in Kansas can carry some serious criminal penalties.
Depending on the severity of the stalking, it could be classified as a level five felony. You might have to pay a fine of up to $300,000 and could face significant jail time, anywhere from 2.5 years to 11 years.
Local Drone Laws in Kansas #
Kansas has two applicable local drone laws in Prairie Village and Wichita. Here’s what you need to know.
City of Prairie Village // 2019 #
Since 2019, Prairie Village has enforced legislation on drone use in specific circumstances.
According to the Kansas City Star, you can now no longer use your UAV around other people unless you have their consent.
Further, you cannot fly your drone over any “large events” without prior permission, nor can you fly a drone on private property unless you have authorization.
The legislation makes it illegal to use your drone for the purpose of weaponry, surveillance, or recklessly or when under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
As was the case with Kansas state drone laws, this legislation has a very stiff penalty. Failing to obey could result in a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a month in jail or a $500 fine.
City of Wichita – Municipal Law // 2016 #
Wichita has its own municipal law about drone use as well.
According to Section 9.35.210. – Operation of gliders, glider towing, remote control, and other aeronautical devices., “The release, launch, or operation of remote radio controlled aircraft, balloons, hot air balloons, kites, rockets, gliders/sailplanes, unmanned aerial vehicles, and the towing of banners at or from any Airport, Airport property, or property immediately adjacent to and bordering Airport property shall not be permitted without the prior written consent of the Director.”
To simplify that big paragraph, you cannot operate your drone near any airport in Wichita unless you have express permission to do so.
As for the penalties, that’s also detailed in the municipal law.
Disobeying the law counts as a misdemeanor and could lead to a six-month prison sentence and/or a fine of $500 (that’s right, you could possibly have to deal with both the fine and the jail time).
Kansas Drone Law FAQs #
Since Kansas is so strict on drone laws, we thought it’d be helpful to include this FAQs section here.
Can You Fly a Drone in a Public Park in Kansas? #
Public parks abound throughout Kansas, so naturally, you’ll want to fly your drone through at least some of them.
We couldn’t find any Kansas state or local drone law that outright prohibits drone pilots from operating their UAVs in a Kansas public park.
However, that doesn’t mean those bans don’t exist. As we always advise you to do, contact the parks and rec association for the park you want to visit and ask about the drone policy.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, as you don’t want to get slapped with a misdemeanor!
Can You Fly a Drone in a State Park in Kansas? #
The prairie reserves and wildlife preserves throughout Kansas are beloved across the world, as are its state parks. Parks such as Milford State Park, Crawford State Park, Perry State Park, Clinton State Park, and Eisenhower State Park are rated very highly.
Although the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks does not have any ordinance or legislation in place per the sections above, the KDWPT does still have a say about whether drones can fly in a Kansas state park.
According to the website, “UAS use is only permitted within specified UAS operating located at some state parks. The use of a UAS is not permitted outside of these areas unless authorized by the KDWPT Secretary…Within the operating areas, flying over people, structures, campgrounds, or beaches is prohibited.”
Disobeying the rules will result in a class C misdemeanor.
There you have it, the federal, state, and local drone laws throughout Kansas.
Although there aren’t many laws compared to some other states we’ve looked at, the penalties are so severe that you’ll want to learn the rules well before flying your drone!