Drone Laws & Regulations in Maryland
Drones are all the rage right now. You likely know someone who recently acquired one as a gift or as a business venture and are thinking to yourself “maybe I should get me one those…”
Before you do, give this blog post a cursory glance as it contains some very important information regarding federal and state laws and regulations for owning and operating a drone. Yes, we have laws and regulations governing what used to just be something a 10-year-old goofed around with in his backyard. This is why we can’t have nice things.
In seriousness, these laws and regulations were developed as a way to guarantee that drone owners were aware of certain safety precautions to consider, and what and where restricted air spaces are in their area. You don’t want to be the hobbyist or business owner of a drone who accidentally wandered into a restricted air space. Yikes!
Federal Drone Laws
These laws were developed by the federal government. They apply to every state in the U.S., including Maryland:
- To fly a drone as a hobbyist: If you’re just looking for grins and a new way to play with the family dog, pay attention here. To legally play a round of drone-fetch with Fido, you’ll need to register your drone with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and be sure to familiarize yourself with their Special Rule for Model Aircraft.
- To fly a drone as a commercial pilot: If you purchased your drone so that you could get in on the drone photography bubble before it bursts, this one is for you. You will need to familiarize yourself with and make sure you are in compliance with the requirements of the FAA’s Part 107 Small UAS (unmanned aircraft system) Rule, which includes passing the FAA’s Aeronautical Knowledge Test to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate. Yes, you read that right. You’ll essentially need a form of a Pilot’s license to commercially fly a drone.
- To fly a drone for a government agency: We’re hearing more and more about police and fire departments using drone technology to assist them with their work, which is a really cool way to use this new technology. If you’re wanting to bring drones into your police or fire department, you have a couple of options: (1) operate under FAA’s Part 107 rule; or (2) obtain a federal Certificate of Authorization (COA).
Maryland State Drone Laws
Maryland really only has one state-wide law concerning drone use within the state. This law was developed by the Maryland General Assembly and is applicable only to drone owners within the state of Maryland, in conjunction of course with the federal laws listed above.
Senate Bill (SB) 370 went into effect on July 1, 2015. This law was passed as a preemptive response to future county or municipal laws and regulations, stating that only the state can enact laws to prohibit, restrict and/or regulate the use of drones. The Department of Business and Economic Development in conjunction with any other necessary institutions, will need to study any proposed benefits or concerns regarding the use of all unmanned aircrafts.
This one is important. Even a small aircraft like a drone is subject to restricted airspace guidelines. For a list of areas where that are restricted airspaces, you can check out this helpful article from the FAA. There a ton of sites and apps out there that will show you on a map which areas around you are “No Drone Zones”.
We Can Help
If you have questions about what you need to do to ensure you’re flying your drone safely- and legally, or need help because y0u’ve gotten in trouble for flying your drone in the wrong place at the wrong time, give us a call. The attorneys at Ferrante, Dill & Hisle LLC are ready to help! Give us a call at (410) 535-6100 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org