Ever wonder how your friends took that great aerial shot of them surrounded by pristine white sand and turquoise blue water? They probably used a drone.
Drones have become popular over the last several years – whether for recreation, hobby, or work. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recorded nearly 900,000 registered drones in the United States. Whether you are an amateur enthusiast or a budding photographer, it is your responsibility to know Michigan drone laws and the FAA regulations to ensure smooth drone operations in this state.
Understanding Drone Laws in Michigan
Michigan drone laws essentially uphold the FAA regulations on Unmanned Aircraft Systems or UAS. They follow the rules on the registration and operation of drones. Here are some frequently asked questions about Michigan laws on drones.
- Should I register my drone in Michigan?
Under Michigan law, all drones have to be registered under Part 107 rules or Certificated Remote Pilots, including Commercial Operators with the FAA. However, drones that weigh less than 55 and are flown exclusively under the Exception for Recreational Flyers may not be registered.
Drones registered under Part 107 can also be used for recreational purposes. On the other hand, drones registered under the Exception for Recreational Flyers are not allowed to be used for Part 107 or commercial purposes.
- How much is the registration fee?
If you want to register under Part 107, it will cost you $15 per drone. This is valid for three years. The Exception for Recreational Flyers registration costs $5, with a validity of three years. Transferring registration from Part 107 to Exception for Recreational Flyers is and additional $5 or the other way around is allowed and will cost you another $10. You must be at least 13 years old and a citizen of the United States or a legal permanent resident to be able to register a drone.
- Will I receive a registration certificate?
You will receive an FAA registration certificate once you register your drone. You must have a printed or digital copy of your registration certificate with you when you fly your drone. That’s because, under Federal law, you are required to show your registration certificate to any local, Federal, or State law enforcer if asked.
If you fail to register your drone, you may have to pay regulatory and criminal penalties. You can be fined up to $27,500 in civil penalties and up to $250,000 in criminal penalties, which may also include imprisonment for not more than three years. So, make sure that you register your drone as soon as you get one.
- When is it illegal to use a drone?
Michigan law bans the use of drones if it interferes with law enforcement operations. It also does not allow using drones to harass people or invade their privacy.
As a general rule, if something you intend to do without a drone is illegal, it is illegal to do it with a drone as well. Michigan law applies the same principle to drones as it does to people. For example, if your neighbors are not breaking the law by looking at you while you are in your backyard, it is also considered acceptable for a drone to look at you.
Can I Fly My Drone Anywhere?
Owning a drone comes with some responsibilities, including knowing where you are allowed to fly it. And it’s not anywhere. Recreational users can only fly a drone below 400 feet. Also, certain air spaces are off-limits for security reasons.
Restricted areas for flying drones include:
- Airport vicinity
- Stadiums and sports events
- Military bases designated as Department of Defense facilities
- National landmarks, such as Mt. Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, and Lincoln Memorial
- Nuclear power plants
- Emergency response areas such as wildfires and hurricanes
- Washington, D.C.
Consult with Michigan Law Experts Today
If you need to know anything about drone laws in Michigan, come to the experts. The Clark Law Office has been in business for more than 30 years, and David and Matthew Clark will work on your case directly from start to finish. If you don’t want the hassle of working with a lesser experienced attorney or legal assistant, get in touch with our personal injury attorneys in Lansing. Call us today to book a free initial consultation.
- Certificated Remote Pilots including Commercial Operators
- Recreational Flyers & Modeler Community-Based Organizations
- FAA Recreational Drone Registration