Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the State of Colorado
FAA Drone Website: https://www.faa.gov/uas/
Updated February 19, 2022
UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Colorado
Drone operation in the State of Colorado is broadly governed by The Federal USA agency responsible for drone safety, the FAA. Click here for details on FAA USA Drone Laws.
In addition, the Colorado legislature has enacted several supplemental rules specific to Colorado drone operations. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details go to the links above and search for unmanned aircraft
Are drones allowed in Colorado?
Drones are allowed in Colorado for recreational and commercial use, subject to FAA regulations and flight controls put in place by local governments. Read on for details.
Specific additional drone use laws by Colorado State legislature
HB 1070 – Study Drone Use By Public Safety Agencies
Requires the center of excellence within the department of public safety to perform a study. The study must identify ways to integrate UAS within local and state government functions relating to firefighting, search and rescue, accident reconstruction, crime scene documentation, emergency management, and emergencies involving significant property loss, injury, or death. The study must also consider privacy concerns, costs, and timeliness of deployment for each of these uses. The legislation also creates a pilot program, requiring the deployment of at least one team of UAS operators to a region of the state that has been designated as a fire hazard where they will be trained on the use of UAS for the above specifies functions.
406-0 #004 – AIDS IN TAKING WILDLIFE
It shall be unlawful to use a drone to look for, scout, or detect wildlife as an aid in the hunting or taking of wildlife.
For the purposes of this regulation, drones shall be defined as including, without limitation, any contrivance invented, used, or designed for navigation of, or flight in the air that is unmanned or guided remotely. A drone may also be referred to as “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle” (UAV) or “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System” (UAVs).
Specific additional UAV laws by local governments within Colorado State
The City of Boulder prohibits recreational drone operations in its Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) or city-managed property outside of designated areas. Exceptions are special permit holders who fly drones for research or other authorized purposes. Some of those may include search and rescue, wildlife management, and the management of public land.
More information here on Application for Boulder Special Use Drone Permits
All drones operating in the Village of Cherry Hills must be FAA registered and adhere to FAA guidelines at all times. It prohibits the flying of UAVs over all city property. That typically includes public buildings, parks, trails, and streets.
Prohibits all flying objects (including drones) from Denver park facilities outside of designated areas. Drones may be flown in park facility areas designated by the DPR Executive Director for such flying objects, such as a designated model airplane or helicopter flying area, subject to compliance with rules and regulations that may be posted in or near the designated area. There may be exceptions for drones flown at special events or other activities with authorized permits.
Drone operators must NOT fly over the town or privately-owned properties without prior approval. Also, drone pilots must not fly their craft recklessly or in a way potentially dangerous to people and wildlife. The ordinance bans users from operating UAVs while under the influence of mind-altering substances, such as alcohol and marijuana, etc.
UAS operation rules in Parks, Recreation and Cultural Preserves
The regulation makes it illegal to fly drones and other UAS in all Colorado State parks. The only exceptions are those parks that have designated areas for drone operations.
State Parks that currently have designated areas for drone operations include:
Some state parks may offer Special Use Permits, though this is typically for commercial users only. Interested parties should contact Colorado State for updated information.
Specific additional laws in Jurisdictions within Colorado
Many cities or towns within the state of Colorado may have specific restrictions within their jurisdictions. We recommend checking the local jurisdiction for the latest regulations.
Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Colorado
If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly recreationally by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.
Recreational UAS operations (i.e., flying for recreational purposes) in Colorado are approved under FAA law, specifically Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.
Following these rules will keep you and your drone safe and will help keep the airspace available to everyone.
- Fly only for recreational purposes (enjoyment).
- Follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO). Note: We have not yet begun officially recognizing CBOs. Recreational flyers should follow the safety guidelines of existing aeromodelling organizations or use the FAA-provided safety guidelines per Advisory Circular 91-57B.
- Keep your drone within the visual line of sight or use a co-located visual observer (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
- Give way to and do not interfere with crewed aircraft.
- Fly at or below 400′ in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E) with prior authorization by using LAANC or DroneZone.
- Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace. Note: Drone flights may be prohibited in certain airspace or may require FAA authorization. A drone pilot can find navigable airspace, other Classes of airspace, and flying restrictions on our B4UFLY app or the UAS Facility Maps webpage.
- Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage.
- Have a current registration, mark (PDF) your drones on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration with you. For recreational flyers, the FAA does not require you to register or mark a drone which weighs less than 0.55 lbs (250 grams).
- Do not dangerously operate your drone. For example:
- Do not interfere with emergency response or law enforcement activities.
- Do not fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Avoid flying near or over critical infrastructure.
Recreational drone pilots should know that if they intentionally violate any of these safety requirements and/or operate their drone flight carelessly or recklessly, they could be liable for criminal and/or civil penalties.
It is recommended that recreational drone operators consult the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations on the proper use of recreational drones and use common sense when operating these devices around crowded public areas, wildlife, or historic resources.
Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in Colorado
If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.
Commercial drone operations in Colorado State are approved under the FAA Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.
There are three main steps drone owners must follow To fly under Part 107 rules:
Step 1: Learn the Rules
- Make sure you understand what is and is not allowed under Part 107 rules. Review a summary of the Part 107 rules (PDF). Still unsure if Part 107 rules work for you and your intended UAS operation? Check the FAA user identification tool.
- Some operations are not covered by Part 107 and will require a waiver. Here are some common examples of Part 107 sections that are subject to waiver:
- Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft (§ 107.25) *
- Daylight operation (§ 107.29)
- Visual line of sight aircraft operation (§ 107.31) *
- Visual observer (§ 107.33)
- Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems (§ 107.35)
- Yielding the right of way (§ 107.37(a))
- Operation over people (§ 107.39)
- Operation in certain airspace (§ 107.41)
- Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft (§ 107.51)
- *The FAA will not waive this section to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire.
- If your operation will require a waiver, read about the Part 107 Waiver application process.
- Commercial Drone Pilots should avoid flying near airports because it is difficult for manned aircraft to see and avoid a drone while flying. Remember that the UAS operator must avoid crewed aircraft and are responsible for any safety hazard their drone creates in an airport environment. Read more about flying near airports.
Step 2: Become an FAA-Certified Drone Pilot by Passing the Knowledge Test
- To be eligible to get your Drone License (Remote Pilot Certificate), you must be:
- At least 16 years old
- Able to read, write, speak, and understand English
- Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a UAS
- Review the entire process to get your Drone License or Remote Pilot Certificate.
- Study for the Knowledge Test by reviewing the Test Prep materials provided by the FAA.
- Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) by creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile before registering for a knowledge test.
- Schedule an appointment to take the Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center.
- Once you’ve passed your test, complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA)*
- You are now eligible to operate as a commercial drone pilot
Step 3: Register your drone with the FAA
- Registration costs $5 and is valid for three years. You’ll need a credit or debit card and the make and model of your drone handy to register.
- Visit dronezone.faa.gov and select “Fly sUAS under Part 107” to create an account and register your drone.
- Once you’ve registered, mark your drone (PDF) with your registration number if it gets lost or stolen.
Useful published information on flying drones in Colorado
We have partnered with the FAA and other drone enthusiasts in supporting an internet educational campaign called Know Before You Fly. The tips, pointers, and resources apply to Colorado Drone Users also. Please visit the site for additional information: Know Before You Fly
Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International – Mostly for commercial drone service providers and users.
Academy of Model Aeronautics – Mostly for hobbyists
NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.
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