Drone Laws in Pennsylvania (2020)
A list of drone regulations and links for people flying drones in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Drone Regulations
Federal Drone Laws in Pennsylvania
These are drone laws that apply to every state in the U.S., including Pennsylvania, and were created by the federal government.
To fly a drone as a commercial pilot in the state of Pennsylvania (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 Pennsylvania (i.e. for fun / pleasure) you are 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 over here. And 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 Pennsylvania (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 Pennsylvania
These are drone laws that apply to the entire state of Pennsylvania, and were created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Makes it unlawful to operate a drone to intentionally or knowingly conduct surveillance of another person in a private place, operate in a manner that places another person in reasonable fear of bodily injury, or to deliver, provide, transmit or furnish contraband.
Establishes a preemption policy that the provisions of Title 18 Sec. 3505 discussed above shall preempt and supersede any ordinance, resolution, rule or other enactment of a municipality regulating the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft. As of 12 October 2018, a municipality shall not regulate the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft unless expressly authorized by statute.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, drones can only be flown at “designated flying sites” within the following state parks: Beltzville State Park, Benjamin Rush State Park, Hillman State Park, Lackawanna State Park, Prompton State Park, and Tuscarora State Park. Drone use is prohibited at all other state parks.
All drone pilots operating commercially in the state of Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania? 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania? To get great shots like these!
Local Drone Laws in Pennsylvania
These are drone laws that apply only to certain regions, cities, or counties within the state of Pennsylvania and were created by various authorities within the state.
As of October 12, 2018, according to Title 53 Sec. 305, no Pennsylvania county, city, borough, incorporated township, or municipality is allowed to regulate the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft. All municipal rules are preempted by Pennsylvania state code Title 18 Sec. 3505 and by the FAA’s rules for flying a drone.
Take a Drone Flight Training Class in Pennsylvania
UAV Coach offers in-person training in select cities in Pennsylvania. 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 Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Want to get a feel for the kind of footage you could get flying a drone in Pennsylvania? Here you go: