Drone Laws in Washington D.C. (2023)
A list of drone regulations and links for people flying drones in Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. Drone Regulations
Federal Drone Laws in Washington D.C.
These are drone laws that apply to every state in the U.S., including Washington D.C., and were created by the federal government.
To fly a drone as a commercial pilot in Washington D.C. (i.e. for work / business purposes) you are required to follow the requirements of the FAA’s Part 107 Small UAS Rule (Part 107), which includes passing the FAA’s Aeronautical Knowledge Test to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate.
To fly a drone as a hobbyist in Washington D.C. (i.e. for fun / pleasure) you are required by the FAA to take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST). You are also required to follow the FAA’s recreational model aircraft rules. One of those rules is that if your drone weighs more than 0.55 lbs (250g), you’ll need to pay $5 to get it registered. There are additional rules when it comes to airspace and altitude, keeping your drone within line-of-sight while you’re flying, and more.
To fly a drone as a government employee in Washington D.C. (i.e., for a police or fire department) you may either operate under the FAA’s Part 107 rule or obtain a federal Certificate of Authorization (COA).
Note: The content on this page is meant for informational purposes only, and is not meant to take the place of legal counsel.
DC Area Prohibited & Restricted Airspace
The airspace around Washington, D.C. is more restricted than any other part of the country.
Since it’s nearly impossible to fly a drone in D.C. we recommend checking out our Best Places to Fly a Drone Near Washington D.C.
The National Capital Region is governed by a Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) within a 30-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which restricts all flights in the greater DC area.
The SFRA is divided into a 15-mile radius inner ring and a 30-mile radius outer ring.
- Flying an unmanned aircraft within the 15-mile radius inner ring is prohibited without specific FAA authorization.
- Experienced Part 107 and public aircraft operators with justification can file your request through the on-line Access Program (AAP)
- A TSA/FAA waiver and an SGI/COA is required
- Flying a drone for recreational or non-recreational use between 15 and 30 miles from Washington, D.C. is allowed under these operating conditions:
- Aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs. (including any attachments such as a camera)
- Aircraft must be registered and marked
- Fly below 400 ft.
- Fly within visual line-of-sight
- Fly in clear weather conditions
- Never fly near other aircraft
Know something we don’t about drone laws in Washington D.C.? Send us an email at support[at]uavcoach[dot]com. We do our best to keep this list up-to-date, but the reality is that given the pace of the small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) industry and how municipal governments are responding, drone regulations in Washington D.C. can change throughout the year, and changes can be hard to track. If we missed something, please reach out to let us know.
Take a Drone Flight Training Class near Washington D.C. in Maryland
UAV Coach offers in-person training in select cities near Washington D.C. in Maryland. The 2-hour, in-person training class provides hands-on flight time with an instructor, practice with intelligent flight modes, and education on what to do before, during, and after a flight mission to stay compliant and safe. During the class, you’ll also get a chance to ask your questions about regulations, software, flight operations management, checklists and more.
Looking to get in more practice flying your drone? In addition to taking a drone flight training class with one of our trained instructors, you can also scout out safe and legal places to fly on your own using our guide to the Best Places to Fly a Drone Near Washington D.C.