Drone Laws in Rhode Island (2020)
A list of drone regulations and links for people flying drones in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Drone Regulations
Federal Drone Laws in Rhode Island
These are drone laws that apply to every state in the U.S., including Rhode Island, and were created by the federal government.
To fly a drone as a commercial pilot in the state of Rhode Island (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 Rhode Island (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 Rhode Island (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 Rhode Island
These are drone laws that apply to the entire state of Rhode Island, and were created by the Rhode Island General Assembly.
This law gives exclusive regulatory authority over UAS to the state of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, subject to federal law, and pre-empts local governments from creating their own UAS laws.
This law prohibits the operation of drones within any Rhode Island state park without a special use permit. It is important to note, that the Parks and Recreation Department is currently only issuing special use permits for professional film companies and news organizations. This law also states that drone operations cannot harass or disturb users, wildlife, or any natural resource with a state park.
All drone pilots operating commercially in the state of Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island? 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island? To get great shots like these!
Local Drone Laws in Rhode Island
These are drone laws that apply only to certain regions, cities, or counties within the state of Rhode Island, and were created by various authorities within the state.
Despite HB 7511 // 2016, which pre-empts local governments from creating their own UAS laws, on June 6, 2016 the Narragansett Town Council adopted an ordinance that prohibits UASs from being deployed, launched or flown in any airspace within 500 feet or over the Town Beach during beach season, any large venue special event in the Town of Narragansett, and over public parks, roads and public facilities during large venue special events.
Take a Drone Flight Training Class in Rhode Island
UAV Coach offers in-person training in select cities in Rhode Island. 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 Providence.
Want to get a feel for the kind of footage you could get flying a drone in Rhode Island? Here you go: