Drone Laws in Michigan (2023)

A list of drone regulations and links for people flying drones in Michigan.

drone laws in MichiganMichigan Drone Regulations


Federal Drone Laws in Michigan

These are drone laws that apply to every state in the U.S., including Michigan, and were created by the federal government.

To fly a drone as a commercial pilot in the state of Michigan (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 Michigan (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 Michigan (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 Michigan

These are drone laws that apply to the entire state of Michigan, and were created by the Michigan Legislature.

According to the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan Legislature, Michigan has two state-wide laws concerning the use of drones in the state.

SB 992 // 2016

This law:

  • Prohibits local governments from regulating UAS, except when the regulated drone belongs to the locality.
  • Specifically allows commercial drone operation in the state if the operator is authorized by the FAA to operate commercially, and permits hobby operation so long as the operator complies with federal law.
  • Prohibits using a drone in a way that interferes with emergency personnel and prohibits the use of a drone to harass an individual, to violate a restraining order, or to capture images in a way that invades an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy.
  • Prohibits sex offenders from using a drone to follow, contact, or photograph a person that they are prohibited from contacting.

Anyone who uses a drone in a manner prohibited by this law is guilty of a misdemeanor.

SB 54 // 2015

This law prohibits using UAS to interfere with or harass an individual who is hunting.

Order 5.1 State Parks and Recreation Areas // 2019

This law Prohibits:

  • The operation of an unmanned aircraft that knowingly and intentionally interferes with department employees and their designees performing official duties.
  • The operation of an unmanned aircraft that interferes with search and rescue operations.
  • Flying within 100 yards of a cultural or historical site/structure.
  • Flying over an occupied beach area, equestrian facility, restroom, open-changing court, or an area subject to an aerial right-of-way.
  • Commercial operations that have not been authorized ahead of time through written permission from an authorized representative of the department.

All drone pilots operating commercially in the state of Michigan 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 Michigan? 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 Michigan can change throughout the year, and changes can be hard to track. If we missed something, please reach out to let us know.

flying a drone in Michigan
Why fly a drone in Michigan? To get great shots like these!

Local Drone Laws in Michigan

These are drone laws that apply only to certain regions, cities, or counties within the state of Michigan, and were created by various authorities within the state.

Town of West Bloomfield—Municipal Ordinance // 2016

This city ordinance establishes all town parks as no-fly zones.

The Univerity of Michigan—University Policy  // 2017

This University ordiance prohibits the operation of drones over any University of Michigan campus of property, except when prior authorization as been granted through an application process which is reviewed by the IASC and sent for final approval to the Executive Vice President and Chief Fiancial Officer.

Mt. Brighton Ski Resort—Vail Properties Policy // 2020

This property policy prohibits the use of recreational/commercial drones by any guest or member of the public, for any reason, on Vail Resorts’ property, except in limited circumstances when an approved operator has obtained an FAA exemption and received written permission from the resort. This includes use associated with special events, marketing, and film/photo applications.

Note: We were unable to find the actual ordinance on the West Bloomfield official government website—the link provided above is to an article covering the town ban on drones in parks.

Looking to get in more practice flying your drone? You can scout out safe and legal places to fly using our guide to the Best Places to Fly a Drone in Detroit.

Want to get a feel for the kind of footage you could get flying a drone in Michigan? Here you go:

Epic 4K Michigan Drone edit