Drone Laws in Texas (2021)
A list of drone regulations and links for people flying drones in Texas.
Texas Drone Regulations
Federal Drone Laws in Texas
These are drone laws that apply to every state in the U.S., including Texas, and were created by the federal government.
To fly a drone as a commercial pilot in the state of Texas (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 Texas (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 Texas (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 Texas
These are drone laws that apply to the entire state of Texas, and were created by the Texas Legislature.
This law permits telecommunications providers to use UAS to capture images. It also specifies that only law enforcement may use UAS to captures images of real property that is within 25 miles of the U.S. border for border security purposes. The law also allows a UAS to be used to capture images by an insurance company for certain insurance purposes, as long as the operator is authorized by the FAA.
This law prohibits UAS operation over correctional and detention facilities. This law also prohibits operation over a sports venue except in certain instances.
This law prohibits local governments from regulating UAS except during special events and when the UAS is used by the locality.
This law permits individuals in certain professions to capture images used in those professions using UAS as long as no individual is identifiable in the image.
This law makes it a Class B misdemeanor to operate UAS over a critical infrastructure facility if the UAS is not more than 400 feet off the ground.
This law enumerates 19 lawful uses for unmanned aircraft, including their use in airspace designated as an FAA test site, their use in connection with a valid search warrant, and their use in oil pipeline safety and rig protection. This law also creates two new crimes: 1) the illegal use of an unmanned aircraft to capture images, and 2) the offense of possessing or distributing the image.
The use of drones to hunt, drive, capture, take, count or photograph any wildlife is unlawful except with an Aerial Management Permit (AMP) and a Land Owner Authorization (LOA).
Drones are not allowed in Texas State Parks without a permit except for in two parks with specified zones for flying remote-controlled aircraft (including drones): Lake Whitney and San Angelo. You can request a filming permit for your craft at any park by contacting that park. Allow several weeks for the park to review your request.
All drone pilots operating commercially in the state of Texas 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 Texas? 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 Texas 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 Texas? To get great shots like these!
Local Drone Laws in Texas
These are drone laws that apply only to certain regions, cities, or counties within the state of Texas, and were created by various authorities within the state.
A person may not operate a drone or model aircraft in a precinct park except in a specifically designated area, and the drone or model aircraft must remain in the operator’s line of sight, unless otherwise authorized in writing by the Park Superintendent.
Take a Drone Flight Training Class in Texas
UAV Coach offers in-person training in select cities in Texas. 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 guides to the Best Places to Fly a Drone in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.
Want to get a feel for the kind of footage you could get flying a drone in Texas? Here you go: