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Drone Laws in New York

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New York is one of the best-known states in the world let alone on the east coast, mostly for New York City. You doubt you can fly your drone there, but you’re wondering where in New York you can legally fly?

New York enforces drone laws federally, statewide, and locally. Drone pilots must always follow Part 107 rules under federal law. In New York City as well as in state parks, drones are banned.

There’s lots more to elaborate on, of course, and we plan on doing that ahead. Keep reading to learn all of New York’s drone laws so you can fly on the right side of the law when visiting or living in this incredible state.

Federal Drone Laws in New York #

Let’s get underway with New York federal drone laws, which are instituted by the United States government.

These laws are designed for hobbyists, government employees who fly drones, and commercial pilots.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Recreational Drone Pilots #

Starting with hobbyists, even if you only ever fly your drone for your own entertainment, New York federal drone law mandates that you always follow the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 rules.

The Part 107 rules outline all the ins and outs of flying a drone, including where you’re permitted to fly and where you should not.

Keep those rules in the back of your mind, as the FAA also has a test you’ll have to take.

The Recreational UAS Safety Test or TRUST test is a short, multiple-choice online quiz.

You don’t have to have memorized the Part 107 rules inside and out. If you answer questions incorrectly while taking the TRUST exam, the answers are marked as such. You can also go back and change them.

Passing the TRUST exam earns you a TRUST certificate, a recreational drone pilot cert that’s good for life. Keep this handy when flying.

You may also have to register your drone with the FAA, but that depends on what it weighs.

If the drone is under 0.55 pounds, then you don’t have to get it registered.

Any drone(s) you own that are 0.55 pounds or heavier do require registration. You’ll pay the FAA $5 for the registration, which lasts for three years.

Commercial Drone Pilots #

New York federal drone law requires commercial drone pilots to also follow Part 107 rules when operating their UAVs.

Under federal law, you must also have a Remote Pilot Certificate when operating your drone commercially.

You must take an FAA-issued test to get the license, but it’s not nearly as easy as the TRUST exam. Yours is called the Part 107 exam.

» MORE: FAA Part 107 for Commercial Drone Pilots

This exam plumbs the depths of your knowledge on Part 107 rules and includes 60+ multiple-choice questions.

You have to pay to take the exam at a testing center on the FAA’s approved list.

If you’re feeling stressed about passing the test, worry not. You can always enroll in an online drone school’s Part 107 prep course, many of which offer money-back guarantees if you don’t pass.

We’ve rounded up all the best drone courses online, so check that out below.

» MORE: Best Drone Courses

If you scored at least 70 percent on your Part 107 exam, then congrats, you passed. You’ll receive your Remote Pilot Certificate in the mail.

When two years have elapsed and your certificate is about to expire, the FAA now allows commercial drone pilots to take a simple online exam to recertify.

» MORE: Renewal of Your Part 107 Certificate

You must score 100 percent on the exam, but all incorrect answers display that way when you take the test. You have the chance to change any answers you wish.

Don’t forget to register your drone with the FAA!

Agency Drone Pilots #

Government or agency drone pilots include New York law enforcement and fire departments that use drones professionally.

You should follow Part 107 rules as well or obtain a Certificate of Authorization or COA.

State Drone Laws in New York #

Next, let’s review New York’s state drone laws, of which there is one.

OPR-PCD-018 – New York Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation // 2015 #

This 2015 drone law known as OPR-PCD-018 has a procedure title of Regulating Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

The law was put into place by the New York Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The organization was concerned about the effects of drones on wildlife, natural resources, buildings, and park visitors.

Thus, now drones can only launch, land, or fly in historic sites and state parks “with prior written approval by the agency through a permit authorizing the specific time, location, and type of use.”

If you want to fly recreationally at a New York historic site or state park, you need a permit, and that’s true as well of any commercial drone use.

You also must have a film permit if you plan on using your drone for photography and/or videography.

Local Drone Laws in New York #

New York has a smattering of local drone laws, especially in New York City, so let’s go over these laws now.

City of Syracuse – Municipal Law // 2016 #

In Syracuse, the municipal law adds safeguards to prevent drones from infringing “with the civil liberties and civil rights of all people in Syracuse, New York.”

Thus, drones are banned in city airspace “until federal and state laws, rules and regulations regarding the use of Drones are adopted that adequately protects the privacy of the population as guaranteed by the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.”

Further, the Syracuse Common Council, when this law was initially passed in 2016, requested that state and federal officials “create and adopt such laws, rules and regulations regarding the use of Drones which ensures Constitutional protections of individuals.”

However, it’s unclear if that’s happened.

The municipal law also adds that “it is the policy of this Common Council that no Drones will be purchased, leased, borrowed, tested or otherwise utilized by the City of Syracuse or its agencies, directly or through contract, until such Constitutional safeguards are in place, the appropriate personnel are trained and fully authorized by the FAA to safely operate Drones and that the Corporation Counsel of the City of Syracuse certifies that all City of Syracuse personnel engaged in the use of Drones have been trained in federal, state and local privacy laws, regulations, and enforcement mechanisms affecting drone operations and any data collected by drone operations.”

New York City – City Restriction // 2017 #

Now here’s what we know you’ve been waiting for, the drone rules for flying in New York City.

According to the 2017 city restriction, it’s illegal to fly drones in NYC.

More so, if a civilian sees a drone pilot disobeying the city restriction, they’re supposed to call 911 and report the incident.

Considering how densely populated and closely packed New York City is, it makes sense that drones would be completely outlawed.

New York City – Administrative Code §10-126(c) // 2017 #

There’s yet another New York City drone law known as the Administrative Code §10-126(c), which was passed in 2017.

In the law, it’s mentioned that “It shall be unlawful for any person navigating an aircraft to take off or land, except in an emergency, at any place within the limits of the city other than places of landing designated by the department of transportation or the port of New York authority.”

This is yet another law that makes it quite clear that flying a drone in New York City is off-limits.

While you can land in an emergency such as a dead battery or a drone crash, otherwise, you could only land in designated places.

New York Drone Law FAQs #

Are you still unclear on where in New York’s parks you can fly your drone? This section will clear up any lingering doubts.

Can You Fly a Drone in a Public Park in New York? #

New York might be known as a concrete jungle, but within and especially outside of the city, you’ll find lush public parks galore.

Some public parks in this great state include Tompkins Square Park, Carl Schurz Park, Silver Towers Public Park, Fort Tryon Park, Thomas Jefferson Park, City Hall Park, Morningside Park, and Fort Washington Park.

You’ll recall from earlier that the New York Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation’s state drone law called OPR-PCD-018 bans the use of drones on historic sites unless you have a permit.

That’s the case for both recreational and commercial drone pilots.

If a public park you wanted to visit was a historic site, then you’d have to go through the necessary channels to obtain your permit.

The Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation does mention in its state law that it can turn down any drone flight request it wishes.

Thus, there are no guarantees that you’d be permitted to fly in the first place.

For all other New York public parks that are not deemed historic sites, we couldn’t find any drone laws statewide or locally that prohibited drone flight.

That said, it’s always best to call or visit the local parks and rec association and ask about any existing drone policies. You don’t want to get in trouble after flying!

Can You Fly a Drone in a State Park in New York? #

Scattered throughout New York are gorgeous state parks that let you experience the wooded forestry, majestic waters, and rocky cliffsides of this state.

From Bayswater Point State Park in Far Rockaway to Valley Stream State Park in Valley Stream, Tallman Mountain State Park in Sparkill, Bear Mountain State Park in Bear Mountain, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island, you can take your pick.

That same drone law as mentioned before, OPR-PCD-018, outlaws drone flights in state parks unless you have a written permit allowing you to fly.

You are free to visit any of the above state parks as well as New York’s many others without your drone.

Conclusion #

New York is a beloved state known for its sprawling cityscapes and picturesque sights beyond the city limits.

The state has federal, state, and local drone laws that prohibit drone pilots from accessing state and historic parks without a permit.

Flying around New York City is also barred, and Syracuse has strict drone laws as well.

With this information fresh in your mind, you’re ready to embark on a New York drone adventure.

References:OPR-PCD-018 (link)Syracuse municipal law (link)Administrative Code §10-126(c) (link)


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