There are many outdated laws and regulations in Illinois that need to be updated when it comes to the fast-growing drone industry.
Drone laws in Illinois include a provision that prohibits the use of drones to photograph or observe individuals in their private homes. A violation of this law is a misdemeanor offense. Illinois also has a law that prohibits the use of drones over prisons, schools and other public institutions.
For example, the commercial use of drones requires a licensed pilot to fly over people. I help businesses like yours avoid penalties for breaking drone laws in Illinois by giving advice on what’s legal and what’s not with your drone.
Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones are becoming more and more popular. The main advantage of owning a drone is that it can be used anywhere a quadcopter can, however there are still many city rules and state laws restricting the usage of drones depending on local laws.
We have created this article to clear some confusions regarding the rules of the sky in Illinois, US. Here you will find out what types of tricks you can do while flying a quadcopter and if they are legal or not according to the federal aviation administration.
Drone Laws In Illinois
You Must Fly Your Drone Below 400 Feet
The FAA requires that you fly your drone below 400 feet above ground level (AGL) in Illinois. You can fly higher, but you must keep it within 400 feet of the ground.
Why do we have this restriction? Well, a lot of things could happen when you fly above 400 feet — weather conditions, other aircraft and even birds could endanger your drone if they get too close to it.
The FAA also says that flying below 400 feet is safer for everyone on the ground. If you want to fly higher than 400 AGL, check out how high up buildings are so that you know if it’s legal or not.
You Must Maintain Visual Contact With Your Aircraft
The FAA is very clear that a drone operator must maintain visual contact with their aircraft at all times while operating in the national airspace system.
This means that you need to see and avoid other aircraft, obstacles in your path, and more importantly, your own drone.
You may be wondering how exactly you are supposed to do this. The FAA has given some helpful suggestions for safe flying:
- Use binoculars or a camera with high magnification lens
- Fly in good weather conditions
- Fly during daylight hours only
If you lose visual contact with your drone for any reason (and this can happen even if it’s cloudy), you must abort flight immediately and land safely before continuing with another attempt at flight.
You Must Not Interfere With Manned Aircraft.
In Illinois, you cannot fly your drone directly over a manned aircraft, or within five miles of the center of an airport. If you see a manned aircraft, you must land your drone immediately and wait until it has passed to resume flying.
If a manned aircraft is coming towards you, or has already passed overhead, but is still within sight and line-of-sight (you can see them), then you must move away from them as soon as possible.
Your Drone Must Weigh Less Than 55 Lbs
A drone must weigh less than 55 lbs unless specifically certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by the FAA.
Drones over 55 lbs may not be flown in civilian airspace unless they are operated by a certified operator (i.e., someone with an FAA pilot’s license).
Drone pilots who operate drones for commercial purposes are required to have an FAA remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating. If you’re flying for fun or personal use—and your drone weighs less than 55 lbs—you don’t need any special certification or training to fly it legally.
You Cannot Fly Over People.
In Illinois, it is illegal to fly a drone over people. In other words, you cannot use your drone to take photos of people from above without their permission. While this law may seem obvious to some, it’s important that you’re aware of its implications before taking off into the sky with your new flying machine.
The law also prohibits flying drones over groups of people and moving vehicles such as buses, boats or trains. You can’t fly directly above stadiums or sports events either (think about how annoying it would be for spectators).
You Cannot Fly Near Emergency Response Efforts Such As Fires Or Hurricanes.
- You cannot fly over or near emergency response efforts such as fires or hurricanes.
- You can’t fly over people—keep your drone at least 30 feet away from any person at all times.
- You may not fly within 5 miles of a stadium during a sporting event, concert, or other public event with more than 30,000 attendees without first obtaining written permission from the facility owner and local law enforcement.
- The same applies to public transportation facilities like airports: you must obtain written permission before flying within 5 miles of them unless granted an exemption by the FAA (this is very rare).
Recreational Users May Not Operate In Controlled Airspace
You may not operate in controlled airspace without air traffic control permission. Controlled airspace is typically near major airports. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has designated three types of controlled airspace:
This type of airspace extends from 18,000 feet above sea level to FL 600 (between 18,000 and 60,000 feet MSL) and is subject to positive control by an air traffic controller (ATC). The FAA divides commercial airspace into 5 different regions based on geographic location.
The Chicago Flight Information Region covers all of Illinois except for Chicago’s Lake Michigan coastline. It also includes Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan as well as parts of Canada.
You May Not Operate A Drone From A Moving Vehicle
You May Not Operate A Drone From A Moving Vehicle on the road or from another moving vehicle other than an aircraft.
There are exceptions to this rule, such as aircraft that are being used for transportation purposes, but it is always best to check with local law enforcement before flying your drone in Illinois.
It Is Important To Follow All Laws
It Is Important To Follow All Laws when flying a drone in Illinois. If you do not, you could face fines or penalties up to $25,000.
The following are some of the most important rules that drone pilots should know before flying their aircraft:
- Do not fly over people or near airports.
- Do not fly above 400 feet unless you have permission from an airport manager or air traffic control tower (ATCT).
- Ensure that you have line of sight at all times with your aircraft and that it is out of range of any airports or heliports nearby.
How To Register Drone In Illinois
What Is The Uas Registration?
You may have heard the term “UAS” (unmanned aircraft system) thrown around, but what does it actually mean? A UAS is a drone or other type of unmanned aircraft.
The registration requirement applies to all hobbyists and commercial users who operate, own or otherwise control any type of UAS in Illinois.
The registration is required for recreational and commercial use of all drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds up to 55 pounds. Registration also applies to model aircraft if they meet the weight criteria listed above
Are There Any Exceptions To The Uas Registration?
- Model aircraft or UAS operated by government agencies.
- All UAS less than 0.55 pounds are exempt from the registration requirement, including drones used for racing, agriculture and more.
- UAS operated exclusively as a model aircraft in compliance with the AMA safety guidelines.
When Must My Uas Be Registered?
In Illinois, you must register your drone before flight. This includes all drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds.
You must also register your drone within 30 days of the effective date of a new rule issued by the Federal Aviation Administration to regulate drones in U.S airspace (that is, sometime after February 19th).
If you own a drone that weighs over 0.55 lbs but under 55 lbs on February 19th and plan on having it fly in UAS air space (the sky) at any time after that date, then you must register it with the FAA prior to its first flight post-February 19th!
How Do I Register My Uas?
To register your UAS, you must visit the FAA’s website and follow these three steps:
- Click on the “Registration” link at www.faa.gov/
- Once you have completed this step and submitted it successfully to the FAA, they will send you an email confirmation of your submission within 24 hours; print out this email and keep it with other important documents related to drone ownership (license plate number for example).
- Now that we’ve registered our UAS with the government agency responsible for its safety regulations—and received confirmation from them via email—we’re ready fly!
How Much Does It Cost To Register My Uas?
The registration cost for UAS is $5, which is the same whether you register one or more than one. The cost is also the same whether you choose to register online or by paper.
The registration fee is non-refundable, so make sure you have all your paperwork in order before going through with it!
Is There A Renewal Fee For My Certificate Of Registration?
The fee for the certificate of registration is $5. This fee is waived for hobbyists who apply for their certificate using the online process. The certificate is valid for three years, or until it expires or is suspended. You can renew your certificate in one of the following ways:
- Online at https://www.illinoisfishingregistration.com/droner_renewal/
- In person at any Illinois Conservation Police office
- By mail
Where Should I Keep My Registration Certificate?
If you have decided to register your drone in Illinois, the next step is to find a safe place for your new registration certificate.
You should keep the certificate with you at all times, but it’s also a good idea to have a backup location in case something happens to your drone or pilot license.
Keep your certificate locked up somewhere safe where nobody else will be able to find it if they go looking for it, but also easy enough that you can easily access if needed.
What Happens If I Don’t Register Or Renew My Registration On Time?
If you don’t register or renew your registration on time, you could be fined up to $1,250 and face criminal liability. Additionally, you risk losing the drone in question due to forfeiture.
If You Live In Illinois, You Can Register Your Drone.
- If You Live In Illinois, You Can Register Your Drone.
- Registration is a requirement for all drones in Illinois.
- There are many places to register your drone: online or at a store.
- It’s $5 per drone, and the money goes toward public safety initiatives such as firefighting equipment and search-and-rescue operations.
- The benefits of registering include ensuring that your information is available if an incident occurs with your aircraft (such as being lost) or if an issue arises with another person’s aircraft (such as a collision).
Also Read: Drone Laws Iowa
Are Drones Allowed In Illinois?
They May Not Be Used To Deliver Contraband
You may not use a drone to deliver contraband, including illegal drugs and cell phones, into prisons or jails.
In Illinois, there are specific laws that prohibit the use of drones to deliver contrabands into correctional facilities. Specifically, drones cannot be used for such purposes as follows:
- To deliver illegal drugs into any prison or jail facility in Illinois;
- To deliver illegal cell phones into any prison or jail facility in Illinois;
They Must Yield The Right-of-way To All Manned Aircraft.
- You must yield the right-of-way to all manned aircraft.
- The operator of a drone must avoid manned aircraft.
They May Not Interfere With Efforts To Fight Outdoor Fires.
If you’re a drone pilot, it’s important to consider the safety of the people around you. If drones are flying near fires, they could interfere with efforts to fight outdoor fires and put lives at risk.
Many firefighting methods include airtankers, helicopters and spotter aircraft. These aerial vehicles use cameras to find hot spots on the ground—and they may not be able to see drones that are interfering with their work.
The Operator Is At Least 13 Years Old.
Before you fly, make sure that the operator is at least 13 years old. If an adult is operating a drone for a child, the adult is responsible for making sure that the child follows all laws and regulations.
If you are caught flying in Illinois without proper training or following any other requirements specified by law, you could be fined up to $1,000 per violation. This includes flying without proper registration or certification!
A Certified Instructor Is Operating The Drone For Recreational Use.
You can fly your drone in Illinois if you are the owner of the drone and flying it for recreational purposes. You must be at least 16 years old to be certified to fly a drone in Illinois.
- For example, if you want to fly drones for entertainment or fun (but not commercial use), then you need to get certified by an instructor.
- In order to get certified, you must complete a training course that includes classroom instruction and hands-on flight time with an instructor. A list of available courses is maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The Remote Pilot Has Obtained An Faa Exemption
You can use a small drone for commercial purposes only if the remote pilot has obtained an FAA exemption to use the drone for commercial purposes.
The FAA has granted exemptions to use drones for commercial purposes, but it is reviewing a proposed rule to allow more widespread commercial use of drones. In the meantime, it is in the process of establishing more rules for drones.
Illinois Has Several Restrictions On Drones.
For those who want to fly their drones in Illinois, the state has several restrictions. Here are a few you should know about:
- You must be at least 16 years old to purchase a drone.
- Drones cannot be flown over many state parks or over private property without permission from the owner.
- Drone pilots may need to register their drones with the FAA if it weighs more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds. Registering your drone can help authorities identify you in case something goes wrong during flight (such as crashing into another aircraft).
It’s illegal in Illinois for anyone other than authorized government agent or public safety officer to fly over a prison, correctional facility, or wildlife refuge. It’s also illegal to use unmanned aircraft system or other remote control device to assist in taking wildlife by any means other than by hand.
The drone laws in Illinois are complicated and can change without notice. It is important to check the latest regulations before flying your drone near an airport, as it is illegal to fly within five miles of an airport without permission.
If you have any questions about drone regulations in Illinois or want more information on how you can make a difference by speaking out against unjust laws, please contact us today!
Frequently Asked Questions (drone Laws In Illinois)
What Are The Illinois Drone License Requirements?
You must be at least 16 years old to apply for a drone license.
In addition to your age, you must have a current driver’s license or state-issued ID. You will also need to pass a written exam on drone laws and regulations. Finally, you will need to pass an actual flight test with an FAA examiner in order to get your Certificate of Authorization (COA).
What Are The Rules For Flying A Drone Over People In Illinois?
You can fly your drone over people in Illinois, but there are a few rules you’ll need to follow.
- Your drone must be flying at least 100 feet above the people it’s over
- You must always keep your drone within sight at all times (this means no flying the drone out of sight)
- Never fly your drone over groups of people or crowds
What Are The Rules For Flying A Drone Near Aircrafts In Illinois?
If you’re flying a drone that weighs more than 0.55 pounds, you must follow the rules in the FAA’s B4UFLY app to make sure you stay out of restricted airspace. These are the restrictions for Illinois:
- Stay at least 5 miles away from airports, heliports, and emergency landing sites (but not International Airports)
- Stay at least 3 miles away from National Parks and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) no-fly zones like military bases or nuclear facilities
- Stay at least 1 mile away from other aircraft that aren’t already demonstrating “due regard” for each other
- Stay at least 2,000 feet away from blimps and balloons—and if they’re flying less than 500 feet off the ground, keep an eye on them as well!
What Are The Rules For Flying A Drone At Night In Illinois?
Flying a drone at night in Illinois is legal, as long as you can see your drone and the lights on it. This means that if you’re flying your drone at night, you must be able to see the drone itself with the naked eye (and not through binoculars or other optical devices).
Also, if you are flying your drone at night, then it must have its own lights activated so that other people can see it when they look up into the sky.
Can I Fly My Drone Over Private Property In Illinois?
The answer to this question is yes. Any private property is not public property and the owners have the right to set rules for flying drones on their property. However, you should always check with the owner first before launching your drone in case there are any restrictions in place that you must comply with before flying over someone’s land.
If you are unsure of whether or not you are trespassing onto private property while flying a drone, it’s best to err on the side of caution and ask permission from the owner beforehand.
Can I Fly My Drone Over Public Property In Illinois?
You can fly your drone over public property in Illinois if you have permission from the property owner. If you fly over public property without permission, you could be charged with a misdemeanor and face heavy fines.
If you’re found guilty of flying over public property without permission, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to three months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000