Drone laws in Alabama dictate that unless you’re flying for recreational purposes, you’re going to need to register your UAV/drone with the FAA. Failure to do so is a federal crime. It’s applicable across the US, and all 50 states have similar legislation. But don’t worry, this simply requires you to get in touch with your respective state government.
You must register your drone with the FAA and follow all federal flight rules. You can’t fly over 400 feet, or within 5 miles of an airport unless you have permission from that airport. You also can’t fly within 3 miles of a prison, or over any other protected airspace.
Learn more about the laws and regulations in the following article.
Drone Laws In Alabama
Alabama’s drone laws are quite comprehensive and include both state and federal laws.
If you are flying a drone in Alabama for recreational purposes, it is important to know that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires you to follow all of their safety guidelines.
Even if state law does not require you to register or obtain a license, if you are flying your drone for any reason other than recreation, you must also follow FAA guidelines.
Rules For Drones In Alabama
In Alabama, drone laws fall under the jurisdiction of the Alabama state legislature. Under the Alabama state legal code, drones are defined as “unmanned aircraft,” and specific rules apply to their use. The Alabama state law goes on to define drones as any aircraft that does not have a human pilot in it, and specifically outlines what you can’t do with a drone, which includes:
- Operating an unmanned aircraft with reckless disregard for the safety of others or their property
- Using an unmanned aircraft to commit a crime or assist in some way in committing a crime
- Using an unmanned aircraft to carry contraband such as drugs or weapons
These are just some of the ways that you might be breaking Alabama state code by operating your drone within this particular U.S. state.
All drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds need to be registered with the FAA before their first outdoor flight. You’ll then receive a certificate of registration showing your name and email address as well as your UAS ID number that has to be displayed on all of your drones.
If you don’t register your drone, you could face civil penalties up to $27,500 or even criminal prosecution if you were to ignore warning letters from the FAA prior to taking legal action against you. The maximum penalty for an individual is $250,000 and/or 3 years in prison. In addition, any person who operates a UAS without registering it could be denied future benefit of registration.
If your drone is already registered in another state but you moved recently to Alabama, there is no need to re-register it in this state as well and vice versa if you fly outside of Alabama with a drone that has been registered in this state only – the certificate doesn’t have an expiration date so feel free to take it with you on all upcoming flights!
There Are Several Laws In Alabama That Deal With Drones
There Are Several Laws In Alabama That Deal With Drones.
- Law about drone flying over prisons: It’s illegal for drones to fly over correctional facilities, and you can be prosecuted for doing so. (Section 14-275-4)
- Law about weaponizing drones: You’re not allowed to add weapons to your drone. If you do, you’re committing a Class B felony and may go to prison for two years. (Section 13A-10-91(a))
- Law about not flying above private property: You’re not allowed to fly your drone above private property higher than 400 feet above ground level without the owner’s permission. (Section 13A-7-2)
They’re enforced by the Alabama State Police. These laws apply to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are sometimes called “drones” but also mean any type of remote aircraft flown via joystick or other controller, as well as RC planes and model helicopters.
Are Drones Allowed In Alabama?
The two most important things you need to know before flying your drone in Alabama is that drones must always give way to manned aircraft and they can’t fly over certain sensitive locations like power stations, military bases, etc. Make sure to read our article on federal drone laws before taking off!
What Are The Best Places To Fly A Drone In Alabama?
Here are some of the best places to fly your drone in Alabama.
- Cheaha State Park
Located in Talladega County, Cheaha State Park is home to Mount Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama. It features a 1,000-foot mountain cliff that offers scenic views of the Appalachian foothills and a 24-mile hiking trail. The park borders Talladega National Forest and has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. A camping area is available on site for those who wish to stay overnight or longer.
- Lake Guntersville
Lake Guntersville is a 69,100-acre reservoir with over 950 miles of shoreline located along the Tennessee River in northeast Alabama. The lake was created by flooding lands for hydroelectric power generation by TVA in 1939 and has since become a popular recreation spot for boating, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities.
What Are The Rules For Flying A Drone In Alabama?
The FAA has issued rules for recreational drone users. When you follow these rules, called Part 107, you don’t need to get special permission from the FAA to fly drones. You must:
- Fly your drone at or below 400 feet when in uncontrolled airspace
- Keep your drone within your visual line of sight
- Never fly near other aircraft
- Never fly over groups of people, public events or stadiums full of people
- Never fly near emergency response efforts like fires
- Never fly near airports without contacting air traffic control and airport management
If you want to do any flight that does not follow the rules above (for instance, flying at night or flying a drone that weighs over 55 pounds), you will need to apply for a waiver from the FAA.
When Can’t You Fly A Drone In Alabama?
What’s more, flying a drone for fun doesn’t always require it to be operated by a pilot. Drones can be used as tools for work, from aerial photography to surveying agricultural land. In 2011, the massive I-65 bridge spanning Birmingham was photographed from the air by UAV photographer Drake Smith.
The shot shows how the weight of the heavy structures of concrete and steel is supported by an equally sturdy support system in the form of two steel cables; this great aerial view also takes in other sightseeing areas such as downtown Birmingham and Pebble Beach in Alabama
Is Drone Insurance Required In Alabama?
Yes, the state of Alabama requires drone insurance. If you’re looking to fly within the state, you’ll need to carry at least liability insurance. Most drone pilots opt for comprehensive coverage since it includes liability and hull insurance.
Drone insurance is required by the federal government under FAA regulations, but the ultimate decision on how much coverage to require rests with each individual state.
In recent years, most states have decided that basic liability coverage is sufficient for recreational drone pilots (which is more than enough for most flyers). For commercial pilots who are flying as part of a business or earning income from their flights, however, Alabama has decided that comprehensive coverage is required.
Follow The Faa And Local Laws
Drones are legal to fly in Alabama, but it’s important to follow the rules and regulations set by the FAA so you don’t get fined for not doing so.
If you’ve purchased a drone, keep in mind that Alabama does have some limitations on where and how you can fly your new drone. With that said, we have done the research for you and outlined all of the current laws below to help you plan your next flight safely.
Alabama state parks are available to be flown over as they do not fall under FAA jurisdiction and do not require prior permission from anyone (unless otherwise noted).
How To Register Drone In Alabama
Register Your Drone With The Faa
In the United States, all drones that weigh between 0.55 lbs and 55 lbs must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
You Need To Know The Following Information
You’ll need to gather a few pieces of information before you can register your drone with the FAA. You should have the following ready:
- The serial number of your drone
- Your mailing address and email address
- Your credit card number
Must Be At Least 13 Years Old
Residents of Alabama who are at least 13 years old are able to register their drone online or by mail.
Those who opt to mail in their registration must submit the following information:
- A completed FAA form, including the applicant’s name, address, and contact info
- Proof that you are at least 13 years old (a birth certificate or driver’s license)
- Proof that you are an Alabama resident (a driver’s license or voter registration card)
- The make, model, and serial number of your drone
Drone owners will only be required to register once. Once this is done, they can fly their drones anywhere within the state of Alabama. If a registered drone owner loses their registration number or needs a replacement number for some reason, they can obtain one by contacting the FAA.
You Don’t Have To Register A Drone If It Weighs Less Than 0.55 Lbs
On the FAA’s website they state that any drone over 0.55 pounds needs to be registered. If you purchased a small drone, it may not weigh enough to require registration, but if you plan on flying it outdoors, it is best to register anyway. Better safe than sorry!
The legal age to fly a drone in Alabama is 16. You must register your drone if it weighs more than 0.55 lbs. You are not allowed to fly a drone over any public or private property where you don’t have permission from the land owner or tenant.
If you are looking to buy a drone or have purchased a drone, it is important to know the drone laws in Alabama. Knowing what the laws are and what they mean can make flying your drone much easier, more convenient and safer.
For example, if you are following the laws and guidelines that are set out by the Federal Aviation Administration and your state’s local governing body, you will be less likely to receive a citation or penalty for flying within parameters. This article provides the necessary information that you need to know before purchasing a drone as well as how to fly your drone safely in Alabama.