Drone laws and rules in Denver are scattered across various official documents. They all have information on what is legal and illegal, but it can be difficult to find.
The rules themselves contradict each other or talk about the same thing without providing any clarification. This article will provide a clear overview of the drone laws in Denver, Colorado that may apply to you.
Drone Laws Denver
Hobby Or Recreation, Not As A Business Or To Make Money
In addition to the standard rules, make sure you follow these specific rules under this category:
- Don’t use a drone for commercial purposes. According to the FAA, hobby or recreational flyers cannot fly for hire or compensation. This means you cannot be paid to take photos or videos with your drone, nor can you sell those photos or videos later.
- Don’t use a drone for surveillance. Drones can not be used for any kind of illegal surveillance activities such as spying on neighbors, looking into other people’s backyards and windows, and so on.
- Don’t use a drone to spy on people without their permission. It should go without saying that flying over other people’s property without their permission is an invasion of privacy and strictly prohibited.
- Don’t use drones in ways that could harm someone or something else (including other aircraft). The most common way this happens is by flying recklessly which could endanger persons and/or property on the ground (or in the air). Follow your local ordinances regarding what types of areas are off limits to drones such as stadiums during sporting events, near military bases and airports, and so forth.
Fly At Or Below 400 Feet Above Ground Level (agl)
To keep Denver’s skies safe, drone owners are asked to abide by the rules of the Federal Aviation Administration. That means flying drones no higher than 400 feet above ground level (AGL) whenever possible. Why? Flying higher could cause accidents with other aircraft that share the same airspace.
But don’t worry, there are some exceptions in which hobbyist pilots can fly higher than 400 feet:
- if you’re flying at an airport and have permission from air traffic control
- if weather conditions require a change in altitude to safely navigate your drone
Give Way To Manned Aircraft
- Give Way To Manned Aircraft.
- If you see a manned aircraft, steer clear of it. The pilots can’t see you and they’ll have no idea that they need to avoid flying near you. This is especially important when the manned aircraft is below 500 feet or is operating in a congested area or near an airport. If possible, land your drone as soon as it’s safe to do so.
- Remember that aircraft always have the right of way.
Drones are neat tools, but never forget that whenever you operate one you’re flying an actual aircraft and should treat it with the respect and caution any pilot would give to their real airplane.
Keep Your Drone Within Your Sight At All Times
The first thing that you should know is not to let your drone out of your sight. It can seem easy to get distracted when operating a drone, but keeping it within your line of sight at all times is the best way to make sure that you don’t lose control.
If you do find yourself in a position where you can’t see your drone anymore, land it immediately. If the ‘return to home’ feature on your drone works properly, it will come back to the spot where you launched from and land on its own.
If you do not have a ‘return to home’ feature or choose not to use it, make sure that you are using a spotter when operating your drone. Using a spotter is especially important if there are other people around in addition to yourself and your subject as they can monitor people’s motions as well as where the drone is at any given time.
Do Not Fly Over Groups Of People, Stadiums Or Sporting Events
- Do Not Fly Over Groups Of People, Stadiums Or Sporting Events.
- Do not fly over private property or private events without permission from the owners. A drone is considered an aircraft under Federal Aviation Regulations Title 14 CFR part 101 and Colorado statutes, so it is illegal to operate a drone without explicit consent when flying over private property.
- You cannot operate your drone in controlled or restricted airspace without specific authorization from the controlling agency (most often the FAA). This includes most airports and military bases. Check this map to see if your flight area is affected by restricted airspace.
- You may not fly above 400 feet altitude.
- You may not fly near emergency response efforts such as any type of accident response, crime scene operations, firefighting efforts, search and rescue operations, disaster relief efforts, etc., unless you have received prior authorization from the controlling agency (most likely law enforcement) to do so.
Follow The Community-based Safety Guidelines
The AMA is the largest network of model aircraft enthusiasts in the US and has a membership of more than 200,000. On their website, they have released a comprehensive set of safety guidelines to help everyone stay safe while having fun flying drones.
They also offer insurance protection and educational programs for hobbyist flyers.
Follow These Rules When Flying Drones In Denver
Now that you’ve decided to start flying drones in Denver, it’s important to remember that these machines aren’t toys. They’re vehicles with the potential to cause harm and damage, so always be aware of your surroundings.
To ensure you don’t get into any trouble and have a fun time flying drones in Denver, the city recommends following these rules:
- Don’t fly over people or moving vehicles.
- Don’t fly more than 400 feet above the ground. Anything higher is considered “restricted airspace” and is illegal for non-commercial drone pilots to enter.
- Don’t fly within five miles of an airport or helipad without contacting air traffic control first. There are several airports within five miles of downtown Denver, including Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, Centennial Airport, and Buckley Air Force Base.* If you see a manned aircraft while flying (biplanes aren’t uncommon at air shows), give way and land immediately if necessary.
- When it comes to where you can actually take off and land your drone (takeoff/landing zones), most parks are fair game—but make sure not to fly near playgrounds or other areas where children are playing for obvious safety reasons.* Remember: Just because you can operate your drone in certain areas doesn’t mean all park rules do not apply—so keep dogs on leashes and clean up after yourself!
If you follow these simple rules when flying drones in Denver, everyone around you will be safe and happy! The last thing anyone wants is for a child or pet to get injured because they got too close while an inexperienced drone pilot was testing out their new toy — something we’ve definitely seen before!
Are Drones Allowed In Denver
Recreational Vs. Commercial, Model Aircraft And Public Aircraft?
When you’re flying drones in Denver, you need to understand the difference between recreational vs. commercial, model aircraft and public aircraft.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) considers a drone an unmanned aircraft system (UAS). They classify UAS into three categories:
- Public: Drones operated by government entities for non-commercial purposes.
- Model Aircraft: UAS flown for hobby or recreation. These drones must be registered if they weigh more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams). Registration costs $5 and is valid for three years—click here to register your drone with the FAA today!
- Civil/Commercial: Any drone that’s not subject to one of the other two categories. This includes both commercial drones and personal/civilian drones that are not model aircraft; i.e., any drone that’s used for non-recreational purposes and any drone that weighs more than 55 lbs..
What Are The Faa Rules?
If you’re looking to fly a drone in the Denver area, it’s best to get a sense of what rules apply. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has strict guidelines for drone usage that all pilots must follow. If you’re found to be in violation of any of these rules, you can face serious fines.
The most basic rule is that the FAA requires all drone pilots to be at least 16 years old and pass an aeronautical knowledge test at one of their approved testing centers. Make sure a friend or family member does not take this test for you—if caught, you could lose your pilot license and face expensive legal fees.
To make sure your piloting isn’t deemed unsafe by the FAA, your unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 pounds—including any payloads such as on-board cameras—and must be registered with the FAA. Registration costs just $5 and must be renewed every three years, so this is a relatively inexpensive requirement.
Once you’ve checked off these boxes, it’s time to familiarize yourself with local laws regarding drones and air space!
Where Can You Fly In Denver?
Here are the places where you can fly:
- 400 feet above ground level
- 5 miles from an airport
- A safe distance away from people and their stuff
- Not over or near emergency response efforts such as any type of accident response, law enforcement activities, firefighting, or hurricane recovery efforts.
- Not over groups of people, public events, or stadiums full of people.
- At least 25 feet away from other people and vulnerable property.
What Other Laws Apply To Drones In Denver?
In addition to being aware of the legal restrictions on drone flight in Denver, you’ll want to be cognizant of other laws that may apply to your flying. Many privacy and trespassing laws are relevant, as well as safe driving laws.
Privacy laws for drones vary by state, but many of them have passed legislation protecting people from surveillance by drone.
For example, Colorado has passed a law making it illegal for a person or government agency to use a drone to photograph an individual or their property without consent in areas where they have an expectation of privacy (such as within the walls of their home).
In addition, Colorado’s existing trespass laws include protections against anyone who enters private property without permission. These protections extend even further when an individual enters a property with the intention of damaging or stealing property on the land. These trespassing and privacy laws can absolutely apply to drones when they are used improperly.
Safe Driving Laws
It may seem obvious, but while you don’t need any special license or permit in order to fly a drone recreationally over private land in Denver, it’s important that before you go flying your drone at home or out in public places like parks and neighborhoods that you read through all FAA regulations regarding safe piloting practices.
As tempting as it is to just take your new gadget out for a spin right away, spending some time learning about best safe practices for recreational pilots will help keep both you and your neighbors safe from accidents and crashes!
Rules And Laws For Commercial Drone Use
As you might have guessed, rules and laws for commercial drone use are different from those for recreational drone use.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates the airspace, while local municipalities regulate the land. This means that if you’re flying a drone commercially, your local city and county laws will apply to your usage, in addition to federal laws. There’s an important distinction between the two:
While the FAA imposes restrictions on how high and where one can fly their drone (and can levy fines if you violate those regulations), they don’t dictate how close a drone can fly to someone else’s house or property—that’s up to local authorities. It is important to get the right permits if you want to operate a commercial drone in Denver.
The FAA requires commercial drone users to register their drones with them before taking them out into public airspace—you can find instructions for doing so here.
It is illegal for any person or business entity operating a commercial drone in Denver without first registering it with the FAA, so be sure not to skip this step!
If you do end up using your drones commercially without registering them first, the penalties issued by both state and federal authorities may be severe enough that it doesn’t pay off monetarily on any job done beforehand.
Federal And Local Laws
There are many federal and local laws you need to be aware of before flying a drone in or around Metro Denver.
Drone use is regulated by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), but there are also local laws that may apply. The FAA requires drones to be registered, which can be done on their website.
Drones are not allowed in National Parks, near airports, in Denver Parks and Recreation areas, or in Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Related: Drone Laws Naperville
How To Register Drone In Denver
Drone Registration Is A Simple Process
First, you must complete the registration process if your drone is between 0.55 and 55 pounds, regardless of whether or not it will be used across state lines. If you are using the drone for business purposes and fly in interstate commerce, you also need to register your drone (this includes if you’re taking photos or videos).
The site will ask for some basic information about yourself as well as a few details about the aircraft—but don’t worry! You can have all this information ready before visiting the website by following these tips:
- Make sure that your name and physical address are handy, as well as a valid email address and phone number that can receive text messages. While an email isn’t required for registration, it will come in handy later when renewing your license or submitting an update to your information.
- Additionally, registering with a phone number lets you take advantage of a faster and easier registration process than would otherwise be available to those who only registered with an email address.
- If you haven’t already set up an account, please do so now; this will allow you to easily transfer some of this information into parts of the form where it’s needed most (like country code). This way, you’ll save yourself time during initial registration!
- It’s also important to have your drone details at hand: model name / manufacturer name / serial number / weight class category and subcategory / propulsion type & fuel type (if powered)
Register By Following The Steps Below
So you’ve already chosen a drone and you’re ready to fly it. But before you get too excited, there’s one important step left: registering your aircraft with the FAA. Luckily, this is pretty simple, and can be done online in a matter of minutes as long as you have all the necessary information handy. What do you need?
- A government-issued photo ID (like a driver’s license) to prove your identity
- If you’re not a US citizen, documentation proving that you are either a permanent resident or legal visitor
- To be at least 13 years old (if not, ask an adult to help you register your drone)
Registering Drones In Denver Is Now Simple And Easy
The process of registering your drone is now simple and painless. You only need to register your drone if you are going to use it for commercial purposes. In the event that you are planning to use your drone for personal or recreational purposes, no registration is required.
For commercial purposes, it is recommended that you first obtain a pilot’s license. However, getting a license is not mandatory to register your drone in Denver. The registration process can be completed online by filling out the form below:
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Steps To Register A Drone In Denver
- Go to FAA website and create a free account.
- Enter your personal details including your name, email, address and phone number into the forms provided by the website.
- Pay a $5 registration fee by clicking on the “Pay Now” link on the FAA website (this will link you to a secure server)
- After paying this fee, you will be redirected to a page where you can download your FAA certificate as well as review your FAA registration number
Step One – Create Your Faa Account
- Create an account on the FAA’s website
- Provide your email address, and a password
- Fill out a form with your name, address, credit card information, and drone information
- Follow the prompts to pay the registration fee of $5 per drone
Step Two: Enter All Required Information
- Go to the home page of Colorado’s Department of Transportation website.
- Scroll down to the section titled “Register Your Drone”
- Click on the “Start Here” option.
- Enter all required information, including: name and address, drone serial number, registration number, birthdate, contact information, and credit card information.“`
Step Three – Get Your Id Number
After you have filled in all the relevant information, you will be sent a confirmation email once your registration is complete. You must present this ID number to fly your drone within city limits. Please make sure to keep it in a safe place; we suggest keeping it in your wallet or another spot that is easy for you to get to. This ID number is valid for three years, after which you will need to apply for a new one.
You Can Register Your Drone Quickly And Easily
The FAA has you covered, with an easy online registration form that only takes a few minutes to complete. In order to register your drone, you’ll need a credit or debit card and an email address.
The free option is fine for recreational use of your drone, but there’s also the option to pay $5 annually to streamline future renewals.
If you have more than one drone, you can register all of them at once in a single transaction by selecting the “Register multiple UAS (in one transaction)” option when beginning the registration process.
You can also register your drone by mail using this PDF form, which must be printed out and physically mailed in along with a check or money order for $5 annually per drone.
Frequently Asked Question (drone Laws Denver)
Can I Fly My Drone For Commercial Purposes In Denver?
Yes, you can fly a drone for commercial purposes in Denver. The only restrictions are that you must be sure that you are not flying over people and that you are not flying over private property or restricted airspace (for example, near the airport).
Do I Have To Register My Drone Before Flying It?
You do not have to register your drone with the FAA if it weighs less than 0.55 pounds. However, if your drone weighs more than this amount—and you plan on flying it in Denver—it is mandatory that you do so.
Can I Fly My Drone Near Airports In Denver And Colorado?
You should avoid flying near airports and around airplanes. If you live in the Denver area, you are likely to have planes flying overhead on a daily basis. In order to stay safe, it is important that you follow the rules for flying your drone as outlined by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).
Below 400 feet: You must remain below 400 feet when flying your drone outside an airport’s control zone. This is because airports are at higher elevations than surrounding areas and there may be other aircraft using their runways at this time. If you fly over 400 feet above ground level (AGL), then there is more chance of colliding with another object in flight or being hit by lightning!
Over people: You cannot fly within 500 feet of any person who is not directly participating in controlling/operating your UAS system (unmanned aerial system). This means that if someone else wants to use their own UAS system in an area where yours has been launched, then they will need permission from you first before doing so!
Also keep away from crowds when possible but do keep yourself aware of where people might be located nearby so as not to accidentally collide with anyone else
Do I Need A License To Fly A Drone?
Yes, you need a license to fly a drone in Denver. You can get your license by passing a knowledge test and a practical test. The license is called a remote pilot certificate, and it enables you to fly drones commercially as long as you follow all other rules for flying drones (e.g., keeping them in line of sight at all times).
This article is an introduction to some of the general drone rules and regulations in Denver. Many rules are still in the process of being adopted and set, but this article provides a general overview of some of the information you should be aware about if operating a drone in Denver.
This includes basic guidelines for flying, information about limits on where you can fly your device, as well as restrictions in terms of flight time.