Drone Laws in Massachusetts (2021)
A list of drone regulations and links for people flying drones in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Drone Regulations
Federal Drone Laws in Massachusetts
These are drone laws that apply to every state in the U.S., including Massachusetts, and were created by the federal government.
To fly a drone as a commercial pilot in the state of Massachusetts (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 the state of Massachusetts (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 the state of Massachusetts (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.
State Drone Laws in Massachusetts
These are drone laws that apply to the entire state of Massachusetts, and were created by the Massachusetts General Court.
Without a permit, this law prohibits:
- Taking-off or landing a drone within DCR properties unless it is an emergency.
- Operating a drone over any land or waterways managed by the DCR.
All drone pilots operating commercially in the state of Massachusetts are subject to the FAA’s Part 107 rules. Learn more about the FAA’s certification process to obtain a commercial drone license in this free guide.
Know something we don’t about drone laws in Massachusetts? 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 Massachusetts can change throughout the year, and changes can be hard to track. If we missed something, please reach out to let us know.
Why fly a drone in Massachusetts? To get great shots like these!
Local Drone Laws in Massachusetts
These are drone laws that apply only to certain regions, cities, or counties within the state of Massachusetts, and were created by various authorities within the state.
According to a story on telegram.com “drone use will be allowed [on the Quabbin watershed] only by written permit specifying a date and time, designated location and purpose, and only by FAA-registered UAVs operating under FAA rules.” It appears that this restriction is not a local law, but a policy created by the Division of Water Supply Protection—the only documentation we could find to confirm its existence was this draft plan. Regardless of whether the plan was actually confirmed, if you want to fly on the Quabbin watershed we suggest doing some research and contacting the Division of Water Supply Protection to learn more.
This city ordinance states that a drone and/or aircraft shall only take off and land on private property owned by the operator or where written permission is granted by the landowner. Said written permission shall include the name and signature of the land owner, the address of the property and the permissible dates and hours of operations. There are a number of other rules for hobbyist (non-Part 107) operators.
This city ordinance makes it illegal to fly UAS over privately-owned or city-owned property without consent.
Drone operation for hobby, recreational, and/or commercial purposes at USACE water resources development projects is prohibited unless authorized by the District Commander. This regulation applies to individuals operating any drone over USACE water resources development projects regardless of the location of the operator, including over outgranted Corps property under a lease agreement with a third party.
Take a Drone Flight Training Class in Massachusetts
UAV Coach offers in-person training in select cities in Massachusetts. 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 in Boston.
Want to get a feel for the kind of footage you could get flying a drone in Massachusetts? Here you go: