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According to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (link), in 2019 the city of Miami attracted 24.2 million visitors. That was an increase from 2018’s 23.3 million tourists that flooded the city. Perhaps you’re ready to count yourself among those numbers, but you want to bring your drone. Can you fly a drone legally in Miami?
You can fly a drone in Miami provided you have completed your TRUST test (recreational) or your Part 107 license (commercial) and you stick within five miles of an airport and one mile of Miami-Dade County Airport. Failing to follow air traffic rules can lead to a civic penalty of up to $500.
In this article, we’ll discuss in far more detail the legalities of flying a drone in Miami so you can know before you go. Once you get the rules down pat, we’ll talk about 8 great places in the Miami area to fly your drone.
Is it legal to fly a drone in Miami? #
From the famed Miami Beach to the Art Deco Historic District, South Beach, Everglades National Park, and Coral Castle, there are plenty of sights throughout the gorgeous city of Miami that are calling your name.
You booked your flight, packed your bags, and you’re ready to bring your drone on another adventure. Before you pass the TSA security checkpoint, is it even legal to fly a drone in Miami?
Yes, it is, which will be music to your ears, we’re sure. That being said, it’s not a free-for-all. You will be expected to have taken certain precautions. You’ll also have to follow the legal rules that we’ll outline in the next section.
What kind of precautions are we talking about? You need certification, of course. The kind of certification required varies depending on the nature of drone flight you’re interested in doing in Miami.
Here’s an overview of the type of certification you may need.
TRUST Certification #
Are you just going to take photos and videos for fun and maybe to post to social media? In that case, you need to only pass The Recreational UAS Safety Test or TRUST (link), which is issued through the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA.
The TRUST test is impossible to fail, as during the first part of your test, you’re prepped on what you’re quizzed on. If you get a question wrong during the second half, you can re-answer the question until you get it right.
To take the TRUST test, you must select an FAA-approved Test Administrator, such as the Chippewa Valley Technical College, Pilot Institute, the Lake Area Technical College, or Proctorio Incorporated.
If you have more questions about the TRUST test and what’s involved, you can read our article about it here »
No matter where in the country you call home, there should be a Test Administrator near you. Once you pass your test, you get a completion certificate that never expires. If you already have a TRUST certificate, there’s no need to obtain one specific to Florida. Just bring your certificate with you on your trip.
Part 107 License #
If your drone flight will involve monetary gains, such as commercial drone piloting, then you need your Part 107 license (link) through the FAA. You can test for this license as soon as you turn 16 years old. Unlike the TRUST test, you don’t get the answers beforehand. You can also fail the Part 107 test.
That’s why we’ll again recommend our posts on online Part 107 crash courses, they will certainly come in handy »
Your Part 107 license is good for two years. Then you have to take the test again to stay current on your drone flight knowledge.
As with the TRUST license, you don’t have to get a new Part 107 license for your trip to Miami unless yours is going to expire. You can carry your current license on your travels.
Finally, don’t forget to register your drone! Whether for recreational or commercial flight, all drones that weigh more than 0.55 pounds (which will be most of them) must be registered through the FAA.
What are the local drone flight laws and regulations in Miami? #
You’ve just touched down in Miami and you’re so excited. After a bit of relaxing and eating, you want to fly your drone, hopefully before the sun goes down. You were careful to bring your license, so you have everything you need, right?
Not so fast. Miami drone use is regulated by the City of Miami Municipal Law (link), which went into effect in 2016. Let’s take a closer look at the provisions of this law so you’re in the clear.
No flying near big events #
If you were hoping to capture footage at Bayfront Park or during a festival with your drone while visiting Miami, you’re going to have to do so from at least half a mile away.
That’s true of the Miami Marine Stadium, Marlins Ballpark, and Bayfront Park as well as Calle Ocho Festival “when it is in use during a large venue special event, and over public parks and public facilities during large venue special events.”
Your drone must weigh under five pounds #
During a city drone flight, Miami mandates that any drone that weighs more than five pounds “must be operated only by a registered member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA).”
You may need an application to fly your drone #
The municipal law states that “an application is required for certain activities so that city officials can regulate activities which would tend to damage private/public property, endanger the public or event attendees, or which are likely to create an atmosphere which would discourage use of city-owned properties, other locations or venues for their intended purpose.”
You’ll have to request an application for drone use, fill it out, and then wait for local city officials to approve the application. You must send in your application two weeks before you need to use your drone. You might have to pay processing fees as part of submitting your application.
You can’t fly your drone near an airport #
In any airspace across the country, getting too close to an airport as a drone pilot is ill-advised. It’s no different in Miami.
You cannot be within a mile of the Miami-Dade County Airport when flying your UAV. If you’ll fly within five miles of an airport, Miami-Dade County Airport or otherwise, you need to contact the FAA control tower and the airport in question to obtain flight permission.
If you break these rules, you could face a civil penalty of up to $500. That’s not a horrible fine, per se, but it’s still more money than you’ll want to pay if you don’t have to, especially when traveling. You could use that $500 for food or lodging.
As a reminder, you’re still subjected to all of Florida’s drone flight laws during your time in Miami. We just wrote a very detailed post on those laws, so be sure to check it out if you missed it »
The best 8 places to fly a drone in Miami #
To avoid civil penalties and ensure you’re on the right side of the law, we thought we’d take this section to showcase 8 awesome and varied spots in the Miami area that welcome licensed and registered UAV pilots.
Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse #
Here’s a gorgeous sight in Miami that’s a little off the beaten path, the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse. This Class D controlled airspace is drone-friendly. If you’re eager to capture footage of historic sights, the lighthouse will satisfy. It’s currently on the National Register of Historic Places, as the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse was erected in 1907.
The beach area that surrounds the lighthouse will captivate your imagination as well. You can easily spend an entire afternoon here drinking in the history.
Pier Park #
In nearby Sunny Isles Beach, you’ll find Pier Park. It’s a four-acre expanse of land with a music stage and a playground, among other features. Due to the music stage, you’ll be limited in where and when you can fly at this park, so pay attention to what’s going on!
Markham Park Airfield #
The Class G uncontrolled airspace at Markham Park Airfield may be right up your alley. The airfield is an enormous 50 acres and includes a windsock and a runway that’s a generous 755 feet. You can’t use the runway as a drone pilot, but you are free to fly nearby and get some great pictures of the area.
You might also wish to capture the Everglades water conservation area nearby. This is about as close to the Everglades as your drone can get.
Before you visit, you’ll have to join the AMA, but being a member could open your drone flight possibilities all over the country, so it’s worth strongly considering.
South Pointe Beach #
Another spot in Miami that’s Class G uncontrolled airspace is South Pointe Beach in South Pointe Park. A 17-acre park, you can view cruise ships as they enter and exit the pier as well as enjoy beautiful views of the ocean.
Virginia Key Beach Park #
A Miami barrier island, Virginia Key is home to Virginia Key Beach Park. The island itself is 863 acres and near Key Biscayne, Brickell, and the Biscayne Bay. Some drone pilots even rent or bring their kayak and then fly their drone from their boats!
Crandon Park #
Speaking of Key Biscayne, in that area is another great place to fly your drone, Crandon Park. This park can get quite crowded, so plan to arrive either very early in the day or later towards the evening. The sights of the beaches are worth it, and Crandon Park has palm trees nearly as far as the eye can see.
Bayfront Park #
Here’s a Biscayne Bay drone flight spot, Bayfront Park. The park is classified as Glass B or G airspace, so it’s controlled or uncontrolled respectively. A small but modest park of 32 acres, Bayfront Park features an open-air pavilion and an amphitheater.
You know the drill by now; avoid crowds and stay away from the above structures to avoid legal snafus.
Last but certainly not least, we like Brickell near Miami for flying your drone. It’s a city that’s laden with skyscrapers, so you will have to be a more experienced drone pilot to navigate. You’re also subject to more rules than flying at an airfield or a park.
You’re allowed to fly a drone in Miami if you’re licensed, registered, and ready to follow all the rules. With so many great places to explore throughout this beautiful Floridian city, get ready to pack your bags and go!