Drones are all the rage right now. You see people flying them everywhere. People have even accidentally flew them into stadiums at sporting events and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people in certain cities. As a result, many state and federal governments have taken it upon themselves to pass some pretty strict laws regarding the usage of drones.
You can fly a drone anywhere you want as long as you register it with the Federal Aviation Administration, get permission from property owners, avoid flying over prisons, schools, hospitals or disaster sites without authorization and equip it with lights if you plan to fly at night.
Flying a drone in Colorado is unlike anywhere else in United States. There are some unique laws you need to be aware of above and beyond the standard FAA guidelines for recreational drone flying. We’ll go over what those laws are and give you some tips for staying under the radar.
What are the drone laws Colorado? We are currently in what many are calling the “early days” of UAV (if you don’t already know, that is Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) operations. Drone laws in places like Colorado have been crafted ahead of time to protect people’s privacy and safety. The future for drones in the United States is looking bright, but with the unknowns, there are a lot of regulations to be followed.
Colorado Drone Laws Are Governed By The Federal Aviation Administration
As in every state, Colorado drone laws are governed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), so you must follow their guidelines in addition to any state-based rules. The FAA’s guidelines are the minimum standards for drone flight, and they’re the same for every state.
These rules include flying during the day, not flying near airports and notifying air traffic controllers if you’re flying within 5 miles of an airport.
You Cannot Fly A Drone Over People Or At Night.
You cannot fly your drone over people who are not controlling it or participating in its operation. You also cannot fly your drone at night (defined as 30 minutes after sunset and before sunrise).
Do not fly within five miles of an airport without first contacting air traffic control and the airport operator. If flying within five miles of an airport, you must contact either the airport authority or the airport operator to ask for permission.
You cannot fly above 400 feet if you are participating in a commercial operation. If you want to operate commercially, but will be flying more than 400 feet in altitude, you must obtain a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before operating under Part 107.
You should not operate your drone over sensitive infrastructure or property such as power stations, water treatment facilities, correctional facilities, heavily traveled roadways, government facilities, etc., unless given permission by the administrator of those locations.
You should not operate your drone over emergency response efforts such as fires or any other type of disaster area; this includes natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes and man-made disasters such as derailments or industrial chemical spills.
This rule also applies to situations where law enforcement or first responders are at work; do not fly near any active police activity whether it is on land or on water.
Do not operate a UAV within three nautical miles of any stadium with more than 30,000 seats during major league sporting events that start before 2:00 p.m., local time on game days (the FAA defines major league sports teams as NFL football games).
If You’re Flying For Recreational Purposes
If you’re flying for recreational purposes, you don’t have to register your drone. However, if you’re using it for commercial purposes, registration is required.
Related: Drone Laws Denver
The Faa Defines “commercial Use”
The FAA defines “commercial use” as selling footage, using drones for aerial survey, piloting drones and similar activities that benefit the operator financially. Operators of remotely piloted aircraft who want to use their drone commercially must register with the FAA and obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate before they fly outside.
Colorado Doesn’t Have Any Additional Laws
If you’re planning to fly a drone in Colorado, you’ll need to follow U.S. airspace laws and regulations as well as any additional rules set forth by the state.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is in charge of regulating all flights, both manned and unmanned, throughout the United States.
You can find specific information on the FAA’s website about what’s allowed in terms of drones, but the main thing you need to know is that drones must be registered for recreational use before they can be flown outdoors, and commercial drones must have received permission from the FAA before taking to the skies.
Colorado doesn’t have any additional laws governing where you can fly a drone, with the exception of national parks, which are covered by federal law—but if those federal standards aren’t strict enough for you, there are some other places in Colorado where flight is restricted or prohibited due to safety concerns.
Cannot Fly Within Five Miles Of An Airport
You cannot fly your drone within five miles of an airport without permission from the control tower. If you’d like to fly near an airport, you’ll need to apply for a waiver through the FAA. The application process is straightforward and can be completed online.
Once approved, you’ll receive instructions on how to get in touch with the appropriate air traffic control facility, which has final say over whether or not you can fly in that area.
The easiest way to find out how far away you are from an airport is by using B4UFLY, a smart-phone app available for both Android and iOS devices.
This free tool shows your location on an interactive map and lets you know whether or not your flight will be legal based on current regulations for drones in that area.
If you operate your drone in a manner that violates these restrictions, as determined by local law enforcement officials, you may face fines up to $20,000 or even imprisonment.
In addition to flying too close to airports without permission, it’s important that recreational drone users avoid interfering with manned aircraft while flying their drones—this includes hovering around airplanes at airports as well as buzzing helicopters while they’re flying!
Cannot Fly Your Drone Higher Than 400 Feet In Altitude
The FAA mandates that you cannot fly your drone higher than 400 feet above ground level (AGL). That’s a little higher than the height at which John Denver’s plane crashed in October 1997.
To reiterate, this is not measured from sea level—it’s measured from the highest point of your terrain, plus 400 feet. So if you’re standing on top of a mountain and want to fly down to a valley beneath it, your drone would be allowed to do so as long as it doesn’t go more than 400 feet below the mountaintop.
Your best bet is to avoid flying your drone over bodies of water or any other area where the ground below might be difficult for first responders to locate if something goes wrong.
There are exceptions to this rule: if you’re within a controlled airspace (like an airport), then you must obtain permission from Air Traffic Control prior to flying.
Additionally, if shipping boats or planes happen to be in your area and going through their normal routine, it may be necessary for them to temporarily increase their altitude beyond 400 feet AGL—so again, it’s important that you don’t fly up there with them.
A quick note about how altitude is usually measured: the FAA has an app called B4UFly that can show you not only whether there are any restrictions in place at your location (for example, near an airport or U.S.-Mexico border), but also how high up your drone actually is while in flight.
You could use this app on a smart phone or tablet as another way of verifying just how high up you really are when flying drones near airports in Colorado Springs or elsewhere in that state!
Only Follow Faa Guidelines
Flying a drone in Colorado can be a little tricky, since state and federal laws often differ—and even if they do, there are different sets of guidelines for which you have to follow.
For example, it’s illegal to fly drones near stadiums or people, so definitely make sure that you know the location of the event you plan on shooting from before taking off.
You also shouldn’t fly near other aircraft or airports; likewise, don’t fly around restricted airspace like Air Force bases. Furthermore, it’s considered illegal to drink or take drugs while flying your drone; next time you get bored waiting for an Uber on your way home from a night out in Denver, don’t order a new drink for the road.
Before Flying Your New Drone, You Must First Register It
Before flying your new drone, you must first register it with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Registration is mandatory for all drones that weigh more than .55 pounds.
Failure to register can result in penalties as high as $27,500 and up to three years of jail time. Here’s what else you need to know about the rules surrounding Colorado drone registration:
- You are responsible for registering each individual drone. If you own multiple drones, you must register each one individually.
- You may not fly a drone after dark or before sunrise. Doing so will result in penalties from the FAA or even local law enforcement, who are often on the lookout for unregistered drones being operated at odd hours.
- You may not fly above 400 feet or within five miles of an airport without prior approval from air traffic control tower staff. Doing so can cause problems with other aircraft and/or land you in legal trouble if they report it to law enforcement officers nearby.
Registration Is A Simple Process
Registration is a simple process, requiring only your name and address, as well as basic information about the drone.
- Your name and address
- The make, model, and serial number of your drone (usually located on the bottom)
- The weight of your drone
- Your email address
- Your credit card number
Registration Costs About $5
If you’re a hobbyist flying your drone in the state of Colorado, chances are you already understand that it’s important to fly safely. The state has a few laws in place to make sure recreational UAVs—or “unmanned aerial vehicles”—aren’t putting public safety at risk or interfering with emergency operations like natural disaster responses.
You can read about the specifics here, but one of the key requirements for recreational drones is to register them with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Thankfully, this process isn’t difficult and only takes a few minutes—and although there is a fee associated with registration, it’s minor and good for three years.
To register your drone in Colorado:
- Go to (https://faadronezone.faa.gov)
- Click ‘Register Now’ under ‘I need to Register’ and then click ‘Continue’ on the next screen
- Read through the information on this page, then click ‘Register Your Drone Here’ at the bottom left of your screen
- On this page, check all three boxes under ‘Acknowledgement’ (to acknowledge your understanding of regulations), then select ‘Next’ at top right of screen
- Enter your email address twice (for confirmation), check both boxes below that (to agree to notifications), then select ‘Next’ again at top right of screen
- Review all information on this page and enter any necessary details not auto-populated by system, then select ‘Next’ again at top right of screen
- Choose an option for registering multiple drones; if you only want to register one drone at this time, click on radio button labeled ‘Process registration’; if you want to file an application for more than one small UAS at once ($5 per drone), click the radio button labeled “Request batch processing” and select ‘Next’ again at top right of screen
You Can Register Through The Faa’s Website
To register your drone, you’ll need to use the FAA’s web-based registration application. If you have a smartphone or tablet, you can also download and use the B4UFLY app instead.
To avoid any potential issues with your registration application, make sure that any pop-up blockers are turned off before filling it out.
If for some reason you don’t want to register online, you can fill out a paper form and mail it in instead. You can do this by following these steps:
- Print and fill out an FAA aircraft registration form (Form 8050-1).
- Use Form 8130-13A (for exclusively recreational use) or Form 8130-6 (for non-recreational use) to certify the make and model of each drone that is being registered using this method.
- The previous owner of a secondhand drone might have certificates like these already filled out—ask them before purchasing a used drone if they still have those on hand.
- Mail your completed forms along with proof of U.S. citizenship and any applicable fees to the mailing address listed on page 3 of Form 8050-1.
Once Registered, You Will Receive A Number
Registration with the FAA is required for your drone. The federal government will then send you a unique number that you must place on your drone before launching it for the first time.
This number remains valid for three years, so if you have multiple drones, they must each be registered separately and receive their own numbers. They should be clearly marked so there’s no confusion about which one is which in case of damage or theft.
You’ll Have To Keep This Number On All Of Your Drones
You’ll have to keep this number on all of your drones and will need to re-register after three years.
When the FAA registration is active, your registration number needs to be written on the outside of the drone so that it’s easily visible. (The FAA recommends writing your registration number in permanent marker.)
This must be kept on the drone for the entire 3-year registration period; if you get a new drone, you must transfer this number. When your registration expires after three years, you’ll need to register again with an updated application and pay another $5 application fee.
It Can Take Up To 30 Days
You must register your drone with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) if it is heavier than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds. Registration costs $5 per aircraft, but you do not have to pay a new fee if the same drone stays registered for more than three years.
The first step to registering is creating an FAA account online. If you already have an account, then you will just need to look up your login information.
You can use your credit card or PayPal account to pay for registration and will receive a temporary certificate immediately after completing payment online, but it may take up to 30 days for the FAA to send you your permanent certificate by email or mail.
Each drone that belongs to you must be registered separately, so keep in mind that this process may take some time if you own multiple drones at once.
Once you register your drone, there are certain steps that must be taken each time before flying it outdoors:
- verify that your UAV is marked with its registration number (typically on the outside of the craft)
- inspect it before each flight and make sure all parts are functional
- communicate clearly with everyone around where and when you plan on flying UAV
Registration Became Mandatory
If you purchased your drone after this date, there was a provision for registering at the point of sale or within 30 days of purchase.
Why should you take the time to register with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)? For one thing, without registration, if something bad happens and there is an accident involving your drone, “you” may be held accountable instead of having it placed on someone else’s shoulders.
If a person is injured or property is damaged as a result of an accident with your drone, proper registration helps ensure that you are not liable.
Registration also opens up communications between the FAA and you regarding any incidents that may occur as a result of irresponsible flying and may help prevent future accidents from happening again — especially if others are involved in these accidents or near-miss events.
The State Of Colorado Says No To Drones.
The state of Colorado has strict regulations for drones. If you are a drone operator, you must be registered with the state of Colorado, and any use of your drone must be supervised by a licensed pilot.
The state of Colorado does not allow any commercial use of drones. This is because they believe that using drones in public areas can cause legal issues and damage to infrastructure.
Still, This Is A Tourist Town.
Breckenridge, Colorado is a town with a lot to offer tourists: beautiful scenery, friendly people, and relaxing activities. While the area gives visitors a wealth of opportunities for enjoyment, recreational drone flying is not one of them.
The town’s topography and scenic beauty make it a tempting place to fly drones. Still, this is a tourist town. Many of those who visit Breckenridge are unaware that drone use is prohibited in the area—almost as unaware as they are of how much they have to lose if they violate the ban.
In fact, bans on drones in Breckenridge are nothing new. The city has prohibited drones since 2015, under municipal ordinance section 4-1-12(i), which prohibits “the launching or landing of UAS within the Town,” except for “authorized use by law enforcement.”
The ordinance also prohibits flying drones in such a manner as to create noise or distraction, cause damage to property or persons, or impede emergency operations.
A violation can result in fines up to $1,000 per day and up to 90 days imprisonment (section 1-7-2).
Under federal regulations covering airspace over national parks (36 C.F.R.), it is illegal to launch and operate unmanned aircraft from or while located on lands administered by the National Park Service unless approved by NPS management (section 1.5).
You Want To Fly It In Breckenridge, So You Need To Follow Some Rules.
While the idea of flying a drone around Breckenridge, Colorado sounds like a lot of fun, it’s important to remember some rules and regulations that you must follow when doing so.
- You are not allowed to fly your drone over people. While drones are a lot of fun, and can be used for photography or leisure activities, they aren’t allowed to be flown over people.
- It may seem like an interesting experience to observe the town from above in your drone, but you’ll want to make sure nobody is below you when flying one in Breckenridge.
- Your drone needs to be registered with the FAA if it weighs more than 0.55 pounds (8.8 ounces). In addition, you need to have knowledge of how certain features on your drone work before operating it – this includes understanding how the camera functions, if there is one on board your aircraft.
- If you don’t follow this rule, then there could be fines imposed by local authorities which might add up quickly!
- You can only fly during the day and within sight of yourself or someone who has been designated as an observer specifically for operating purposes only (like another family member). This means that no matter what time of day or night it is outside while driving through Breckenridge with your friends at night-time hours would not allow them access into town limits where these types of recreational uses would otherwise take place under normal circumstances; just keep following those road signs!
Only Fly Your Drone For Recreational Use.
- If you’ve decided to fly a drone in Colorado, you’ll need to do so under the rules of recreational use. Flying your drone for any commercial purposes is not allowed at this time. This means:
- No flights for compensation or hire.
- No flights for business purposes.
- No flights for commercial purposes.
- No flights for any kind of compensation or hire, including cash, barter, service, favor, product trade or anything else of value; a “night out” doesn’t count as a favor!
- No flights for any kind of business or commercial purpose whatsoever—not even if your company is non-profit!
The Federal Aviation Administration (faa) Requires Owners
You are totally allowed to fly drones in Colorado. The State of Colorado, under the Department of Transportation, has jurisdiction over state laws relating to drones.
All drones must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) if they weigh more than 0.55 lbs. Registration costs $5 and can be done online at www.faa.gov/uas/registration/. You should register your drone before your flight—do not leave it until after you’re airborne!
Many people believe that flying their drones is a fun way to pass time, but the FAA says that drone pilots are responsible for knowing about regulations and laws related to drone operations before flying them in public areas or in ways that could disturb others.
You Can Only Fly In Daylight.
To avoid flying near an airport, you can check for the location of airports and heliports on this interactive map. The map also shows areas that are restricted for flight due to military activities or other national security concerns.
Flying at night is more complicated; a drone operator must have a certificate of waiver or authorization (COA) to fly at night. If your COA has expired, it’s not legal to operate your drone at night in Colorado until you get the COA renewed. Some other restrictions apply as well; read more about them here.
Keep Your Drone In Sight At All Times.
- Keep your drone in sight at all times.
- Don’t fly your drone higher than 400 feet.
- Don’t fly near airports.
- Don’t fly over people or moving vehicles.
- Don’t fly near emergency response efforts, such as fires.
- Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and follow all national, state and local laws and regulations.
- Never fly at night unless your drone has lighting that allows you to know its location and orientation at all times.
Don’t Fly Your Drone Over Moving Vehicles.
Don’t fly your drone over people or moving vehicles. Think about it: if something goes wrong and your drone falls from the sky, you don’t want it to hit someone.
The FAA sets this rule for the same reason: safety. Drones can be unpredictable. The aircraft could get caught in a sudden gust of wind or malfunction, which could lead to injury or property damage. You could also face fines from the FAA if you break this rule.
The aircraft could get caught in a sudden gust of wind or malfunction, which could lead to injury or property damage. You could also face fines from the FAA if you break this rule.
Be Aware Of The Rules And Laws Surrounding Drones
Whether you’re a tourist on a ski trip or just passing through the area, it’s important that you know the rules and regulations pertaining to drone use in Breckenridge.
There are lots of things to keep in mind. It is illegal to fly drones over anyone without their express permission, and anyone who does so may be subject to both civil action and criminal prosecution.
Drones cannot be flown too close to airports or airports anywhere else for that matter—you should stay at least five miles away from all airports, hospitals, police stations and other types of emergency facilities.
Finally, if your drone is being used commercially, it’s absolutely vital that you are licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
If you’re planning to visit Breckenridge this winter on a trip with your friends or family, we also want you to know what’s legal when it comes to flying drones around town.
While there aren’t any specific laws regarding drones in our part of Colorado right now (we’re working on creating one), we encourage our visitors to follow these guidelines:
- Before flying near homes or businesses be sure they don’t have signs posted saying “No Drones Here!”;
- Remember that flying over people can be very dangerous; never do so without permission from everyone involved first! When operating your UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) within 10 feet of another person who isn’t under direct supervision by someone responsible for controlling his or her movements at all times as well-like say if they’re riding an ATV nearby), keep altitude below 400 feet above ground level unless approved otherwise by air traffic control (ATC).
Pilots must fly below 400 feet when within a mile of an airport. Not flying within five miles of an airport without contacting the airport first with your intentions and location. Drone pilots must maintain visual line of sight at all times.
Overall, though, most purchasers in Colorado will find reasonable restrictions on their drone use. New laws have been put into effect to protect property owners and the general public alike. As long as these guidelines are followed, you can still enjoy your drone without fear of legal consequences.
Frequently Asked Questions (drone Laws Colorado)
Can I Fly My Drone In Colorado?
Yes, but you must follow the rules.
- You must be at least 16 years old to fly a drone in Colorado.
- You must register your drone with the FAA. The registration is free and takes less than five minutes online at www.faa.gov/uas/registration/.
- You must fly your drone during daylight hours (one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset).
- You must keep your drone in sight at all times — unless you’re flying it over open water or sparsely populated areas away from people, structures and vehicles that are clearly visible from the air (more than 400 feet away).
What Are The Requirements To Fly A Drone In Colorado?
- You must be at least 16 years old to fly a drone in Colorado.
- You must have a valid driver’s license or state ID to fly a drone in Colorado.
- All drones that weigh more than 250 grams must be registered with the FAA, even if they’re used for recreational purposes only.
- You may not fly your drone higher than 400 feet above ground level, though there is no set maximum distance within which you can fly your aircraft (this is known as “line of sight”).
Where Can I Fly My Drone In Colorado?
If you’re new to flying drones, here are some of the most important rules and regulations that apply in Colorado:
- Always stay below 400 feet. You can fly higher if you have permission from the FAA or if you’re over a sparsely populated area.
- Stay away from airports, stadiums and other large gatherings of people (such as concerts) when flying your drone.
- Don’t fly near power lines, towers or other things that could interfere with your drone’s flight path.
- Avoid flying over private property without permission unless it’s an emergency situation (like a fire). If you do have permission to fly over someone’s land, always give them notice before doing so so they can make sure nobody will be hurt during the flight!
Which Drones Are Legal To Fly In Colorado?
If you’re wondering what types of drones are legal in Colorado, there’s a lot to consider.
- First, you’ll want to check the FAA’s website for their laws on flying drones. You can find all the information on this page .
- Next, contact your local airport and drone clubs to ask them what the rules are in your area. In Colorado Springs, for example, it’s illegal for people under 18 years old fly drones there .
- Look up state or local laws online and see if there are restrictions about where or when you can fly drones as well as how high they need to be above ground level (AGL). In some areas like Denver International Airport (DIA), it’s illegal for anyone without certification from FAA Part 107- Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Remote Pilot Certification Course  and/or who have not been issued by an airport authority permit issued no later than December 31st 2017 .
Do I Need Permission To Fly My Drone Commercially In Colorado?
You do not need permission to fly your drone for recreational purposes in Colorado.
If you are planning on flying a drone as part of your commercial business operations in Colorado, you must register your drone with the FAA (which we have covered above) and obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate as well.